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Gold Plated vs. Gold Filled: What's the Difference?

When it comes to jewelry, there are a few different types of gold you might come across: Gold Plated, Gold Vermeil, and Gold Filled. So what's the difference? And which one should you buy? We're here to explain everything so you can make the best decision for yourself!

Why this Matters

Gold is a beautiful, classic metal that never goes out of style. But it can be expensive! So when you're looking at gold jewelry, it's important to know what you're buying. Gold Plating is the process of adding a thin layer of gold to another metal. Gold Filled is when a thick layer of gold is bonded to a base metal. Gold Vermeil is similar to Gold Plated, but with a thicker layer of gold on a solid sterling silver base.

So which one should you choose? Here's some things to think through.


Gold plated jewelry is the most affordable option. Most brands sell these pieces for $50-100. Beware, some of our competitors will sell you a gold-plated piece for $350. We see this all the time and are shaking our heads at their nerve. Most of LLUME Jewelry's gold-plated pieces are $35 to $75.

Gold filled jewelry is more expensive, but will last much longer. Typical costs are $100-500. Most of LLUME's gold-filled pieces are $45 to $95.

Gold vermeil is somewhere in between, and a good choice if you're looking for something that's high quality but won't break the bank. Typical costs for vermeil pieces can range from $100-500. LLUME's vermeil pieces range from $45 to $95.

How Long it Will Last

Gold plating can last anywhere from a year to many years, depending on your TLC. But it's more susceptible to tarnishing, chipping, and peeling than the other types of gold jewelry.

Gold filled jewelry will last you much longer- think years or decades. It's also more resistant to tarnishing and wear and tear.

Gold vermeil is the most durable option and can last a lifetime with proper care.

Water Wear

Gold plating is not always water-friendly, so we recommend taking them off before showering or swimming. Gold filled jewelry and vermeil are much more water-resistant, so you don't have to take your jewelry off every time you get wet. Just avoid letting pieces sit in water for too long and avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners on them.


Most gold jewelry looks the same at first, or with proper care. The difference is how it will hold up over time.

Gold plated jewelry is the most affordable and will give you that classic gold look. Gold filled jewelry is a great middle ground- it's more expensive but will last much longer. Gold vermeil is the most durable but also typically the most expensive.

Caring for Your Gold Jewelry

Here are some tips to help your gold jewelry last longer:

  1. Store your pieces in a dry, cool place. A storage pouch is ideal.
  2. Keep them away from chemicals like perfume, lotion, and hairspray.
  3. Gold plating is more delicate, so avoid rubbing it against other surfaces.
  4. Gold filled and vermeil can be cleaned with a soft cloth or jewelry cleaner.

What Does LLUME Jewelry Sell?

LLUME sells all three styles of jewelry, and we will tell you what they're made of in their listings. We price fairly and guarantee your purchases with a no-nonsense free return policy. If you ever find an issue and reach out, we'll also do our best to make it right. We're a small team of nice people selling you beautiful jewelry. We hope you'll give us a try!