Gold Jewelry Buying Guide

This brief review of gold jewelry will assist you with making your first gold jewelry purchase. Even if you are an avid collector and investor in gold jewelry, this may provide a nice refresher on the topic. And congratulations on your new gold jewelry purchase. We at Jewelry Outlet are here to assist you in any way that we can.

What is Gold Plating?

There are several types of gold plating options available when buying gold jewelry. They are generally evidenced by a quality stamp on the jewelry. Following are some of the options of gold plating:

Gold Layered – jewelry with a thin gold layer. This jewelry is not preferable and thus is not sold by Jewelry Outlet.

Gold Leaf – gold that has been hammered by hand into extremely thin layers and then is wrapped (glided) around some other metal. Usually 24K gold is used as thin gold layers/sheets to decorate art work and jewelry. You can recognize gold leaf jewelry by the irregularities of the foil surrounding the jewelry or item.

Gold Plated – done using a process known as electroplating that gives the jewel a gold-like appearance. Usually with 10K gold quality. The gold layer can wear off over time, since it is quite thin. Markings are usually evidenced by: “GP”, “G.P.”, “GEP” or “G.E.P.” An example of the marking would be: “10K GP” or “10K GEP”

Gold Overlay – is gold jewelry with a thicker gold coating, which is more durable over time. It must be 10K or more of gold quality, but can be less than 1/20th of the total jewelry weight. The base metal can be brass, copper or stainless steel. The process uses heat and pressure to mix and bond the metals. Markings are evidenced by: “GO”, “G.O”, “RGP” or “R.G.P.” An example of the marking would be: “1/40 10K GO”

Gold Filled – is not actually filled with gold, but usually has a base metal of brass or copper, and is covered with gold. It is similar to gold overlay, but the gold content must be at least 1/20th of the total jewelry weight (at least 5%). The gold layer will not peel or flake with reasonable care. This plating is also safe for people with sensitive skin. Markings are evidenced by: “GF” or “G.F.”. An example of the marking would be: “1/20 10K GF”

Vermeil – (pronounced ver-may) means gold plated sterling silver. The difference between “vermeil” and “gold plated/filled”, is that gold vermeil jewelry has a thicker gold layer and uses sterling silver as its base metal. This is why vermeil is a better choice (compared to other gold plated jewelry items) for those with skin allergy. Vermeil is usually not marked, but if a gold jewelry is marked with a “925” stamp, it probably means that it is a gold vermeil. (The stamp for sterling silver is 925, .925, or the modern stamp S925. It stands for 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloyed metals.)

Editor’s Note:

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