The Ultimate Guide to Solid Gold, Gold Vermeil, and Silver
What is Solid Gold?
In jewelry, “solid gold” refers to pieces that are made entirely of gold, with no other metals mixed in. It indicates that the item is composed of gold throughout its entirety, or at least a significant proportion so, depending on the karatage. This term distinguishes solid gold jewelry from gold-plated, gold-filled, or gold vermeil pieces, which have a base metal core coated with a thin layer of gold.
Solid gold jewellery is highly valued due to its purity, and durability. Solid gold pieces can be crafted into various styles and designs, making them popular choices for engagement rings, wedding bands, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, and other accessories.
What is Silver Jewelry?
Silver jewelry is jewelry made primarily of silver, a precious metal known for its lustrous appearance and versatility in jewelry crafting. Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is relatively soft and malleable, making it susceptible to damage and scratches from everyday wear and tear. Therefore, silver jewelry is usually alloyed with other metals such as copper to increase its strength and durability. The most common type of silver used in jewelry is Sterling Silver, which consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals and is identified by Hallmark 925.
What is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil is a type of jewelry that features a layer of gold plating over a base metal, typically sterling silver. To be considered gold vermeil the base metal must be sterling silver, which consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Sterling silver provides a durable and high-quality foundation for the gold plating.
The gold layer in gold vermeil jewelry must be thicker than traditional gold plating. It typically needs to be at least 2.5 microns thick to meet industry standards.
The gold used for vermeil jewelry must be of high purity, typically 18 karats or higher. This ensures that the gold layer maintains its color and shine over time.
Gold vermeil offers the luxurious look of gold at a more affordable price point compared to solid gold jewelry. However, it’s essential to note that the gold plating on vermeil jewelry may wear off over time with regular wear and tear, revealing the underlying silver base. With proper care, gold vermeil jewelry can retain its beauty for an extended period.
Is solid gold better than silver for jewelry?
Choosing between gold and silver for jewelry comes down to personal preference, budget, and lifestyle factors. Some people prefer the look and feel of solid gold, while others appreciate the affordability and versatility of silver. It is important to consider these factors and choose the option that best suits your needs and preferences.
What are the differences between solid gold and silver jewelry?
Solid gold generally lasts longer than silver. Gold is a noble metal that is resistant to tarnishing and corrosion and is suitable for everyday use. Silver, on the other hand, is softer and more susceptible to scratching and tarnishing over time.
Gold usually keeps its value over time better than silver because of its rarity and intrinsic value. Solid gold jewelry may act as an investment piece and can potentially hold or increase in value. Silver jewelry is more affordable but may not offer the same level of investment potential.
Is gold vermeil real gold?
No, gold vermeil is not considered real gold. Gold vermeil jewelry features a thin layer of gold plating over a sterling silver base. In fact, the weight of gold used in gold vermeil is negligible compared to the total weight of the jewelry. Therefore, gold vermeil jewelry has no investment value because there is no considerable gold amount in it.
How does the price of solid gold compare to silver jewelry?
The price of gold is typically much higher per ounce compared to silver, for example, today, on February 11, 2024, the price of one ounce of gold is $2028 while the price of one ounce of silver is just $22, so jewelry made from solid gold will generally be more expensive.
Regardless of the metal value, the craftsmanship involved in creating solid gold jewelry, especially designs or custom pieces, can contribute to its higher price compared to silver jewelry.
Does solid gold tarnish like silver?
Solid gold jewelry does not tarnish like silver jewelry. Gold is highly resistant to tarnishing and corrosion due to its neutral nature. Therefore, solid gold jewelry retains its shine and luster over time without tarnishing.
But silver tarnishes. Tarnishing is a natural chemical reaction that occurs when silver comes into contact with sulfur-containing materials in the air, water, or on the skin. This reaction forms a layer of silver sulfide on the surface of the metal, which appears as a dark discoloration.
Is gold vermeil durable compared to solid gold?
Not at all, no jewel is more durable than solid gold. Some gold vermeil producers try to introduce
gold vermeil jewelry very durable and anti-tarnish by advertising. The reason for this is that the production cost of gold vermeil is very low, but it is sold with a high-profit margin and this belief helps them to have more sales.
However, this does not mean that gold vermeil is a bad thing. The point here is that customers should buy Gold Vermeil or any kind of plated jewelry at a real price and with the purpose of short-term use not as a durable jewelry with intrinsic value.
Can I wear solid gold and silver jewelry together?
Definitely yes, there is no problem in wearing gold and silver jewelry together. None of these metals make any kind of chemical changes in contact with each other and do not cause each other to tarnish.
Does gold vermeil last as long as solid gold?
Not at all. Gold vermeil tarnishes over time even with normal wear. Depending on the thickness of the upper layer of the gold vermeil, and the times and type of use of the jewel, its lifetime can be from a few months to one or maybe two years. But jewelry made of solid gold can be used for hundreds of years without any change while preserving its intrinsic value.
What’s the difference in appearance between solid gold, silver, and gold vermeil?
The appearance of Solid gold and gold vermeil jewelry is similar in terms of color, luster, and shine. Both range from yellow to white, rose, or even green and can only be identified through distinct hallmarks. Solid gold jewelry is usually identified by 10K, 14K, 18K, and 21K, while the gold vermeil’s hallmark is 925.
Sterling silver, the most common type of silver used in jewelry, has a milky-white luster that can tarnish over time, developing a darker patina. Sterling Silver Jewelry is usually identified by Hallmarks 925.
Since gold vermeil and silver have the same hallmarks, they only can be distinguished by their color.
Is gold vermeil hypoallergenic like solid gold?
No, gold vermeil jewelry may not be hypoallergenic to the same extent as solid gold. Gold vermeil is a thin coating of gold on another metal. Generally, this metal is silver. Some sensitive skins are allergic to silver or silver alloys. Also, it depends on the thickness of the gold layer on gold vermeil jewelry, the thinner the layer, the faster the sensitive skin reacts to it.
Can I shower or swim with solid gold, silver, or gold vermeil jewelry?
Solid Gold jewelry is safe to wear while showering or swimming and is resistant to tarnishing and corrosion. They are built to last forever.
Gold Vermeil, which consists of a thin layer of gold over sterling silver, can also withstand occasional contact with water. However, it’s essential to note that long contact with water, especially in chlorinated pools or salt water, will cause wear and tear on the jewelry and affect the appearance of gold vermeil pieces in a short time.
Sterling Silver jewelry will tarnish when exposed to moisture and chemicals found in water, such as chlorine and salt. Showering or swimming with sterling silver jewelry may accelerate the tarnishing process and affect its appearance. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to remove sterling silver jewelry before showering or swimming to maintain its condition.
Do solid gold, silver, and gold vermeil jewelry have resale value?
Solid gold jewelry retains its value over time due to the intrinsic value of the metal. Gold jewelry can often be sold by weight and purity, making it a valuable resale asset.
Silver and gold vermeil jewelry has no resale value because the intrinsic value of the metal used in them is very low (less than $1 per gram). However, it is important to note that jewelry that has gemstones or is considered an antique can have resale value.
How do I authenticate solid gold jewelry compared to gold vermeil?
The best benchmark is Hallmarks or Stamps. Solid gold jewelry is always stamped with a hallmark indicating its purity, such as “10K, 14K, 18K, 21K, etc”. Gold vermeil jewelry also has stamps indicating the base metal used (e.g., “925” for sterling silver) and may include terms like “gold over sterling” or “gold vermeil.”
What’s the best option for everyday wear: solid gold, silver, or gold vermeil?
The best option for everyday wear depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and your budget. However, we review all three options separately.
Solid Gold: Solid gold jewelry is durable and resistant to tarnishing or corrosion. It’s a great choice for everyday wear as it can withstand repeated use without losing its luster or color. Solid gold jewelry is also hypoallergenic and suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Silver: Sterling silver jewelry is a popular choice for everyday wear because of its affordability and versatility. While silver may tarnish over time, regular cleaning and maintenance can help restore its luster. Some people may be allergic to certain metals used in silver alloys, so if you have sensitive skin, making sure your jewelry is hypoallergenic is essential.
Gold vermeil: Gold vermeil jewelry is suitable for occasional wear as it requires extra care to prevent the gold layer from wearing off over time. Avoiding exposure of gold vermeil jewelry to harsh chemicals is essential to increase lifetime.
As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the perfect jewelry for everyday wear. Your choice between solid gold, silver, or gold vermeil ultimately depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle.