11 Types of Gold Jewellery - The Gold Jewellery Spectrum

We love gold jewellery, and following from our previous blog post where we went through the differences between gold vermeil and gold filled jewellery, I thought it would be helpful to break down different types of gold jewellery from the least amount of gold to most amount of gold.

1. Gold leaf

As the name implies, gold leaf is a technique of hand gilding a piece of metal with extremely thin layers of gold. Usually used in architecture, decoration, and art work, you can easily recognize gold leaf jewellery by irregularities of the foil with bumps and roughness.

Gold leaf is seen a lot in architecture, homewares and objects.

2. Electroplating / Gold plated

Gold plated using an electroplating process are usually a base metal that gets submerged in water and gold ions are adhered onto the base metal for a prolonged time to achieve the desired plating effect. The thickness of plating can be controlled by adjusting the immersion time in the plating tank. The normal plating thickness is usually 0.5 micron of gold.

3. Heavy gold plating

Heavy gold plating is where the jewellery has undergone the electroplating process but the thickness of gold plating is above 1 micron. Heavy gold plating generally lasts longer than normal thickness gold plated.

4. Rose gold plating & white gold plating

The colour of gold plating is dependent on the base metal. Rose gold plating will require an alloy of higher percentage of copper to give a more 'reddish' look. White gold plating will require an alloy of higher percentage of zinc or silver to give a 'whitish' look. 

5. Gold vermeil

Gold plating adheres to different base materials differently. For example, gold 'clings' onto silver better than zinc, copper, or brass. As such gold vermeil, which is gold electroplating on top of sterling silver, usually lasts longer and has more value due to the silver component. The thickness of gold in gold vermeil usually falls between 0.5-1 micron.

6. Gold filled

Gold filled jewellery undergo a process of thick gold being bonded onto a base metal, using heat and pressure. This process allows the gold to be molecular bonded and tarnish is very difficult. The thickness of gold filled is generally very high, from at least 2 microns. Gold filled must be stamped and at least 1/20 (5%) in total weight of each jewellery piece must be solid gold in order to classify as gold filled.

7. 6 Karat Gold

6 Karat gold is solid gold that is blended with other alloys such as sterling silver and brass. 6 Karat gold has at least 1/4 of its weight being pure 24k gold. 6 Karat jewelry are an affordable way to venture into solid gold category of jewellery.

8. 9 Karat Gold

Similarly, 9 Karat Gold is made up of 37.5% pure 24k gold and 62.5% alloys. The higher the karatage, the higher the value of the solid gold piece of jewellery.

9. 14 Karat Gold

14 Karat Gold is made up of 50% pure 24k gold and 50% alloy.

10. 18 Karat Gold

18 Karat Gold is made up of 75% pure 24k gold and 25% alloy.

11. 24 Karat Gold

24 Karat Gold is pure gold, made up of 100% gold. 24K Gold is rarely seen in jewellery form, as pure gold is too soft and will be deformed easily if not mixed with an alloy to harden the jewellery piece.

What type of gold jewellery should you buy?

This depends entirely on your preference, your jewellery wearing habits, your sensitivity to certain metals, and your budget. As the level of gold concentration increases, the prices of jewellery are reflected as so. Sensitivity to certain metals such as zinc, nickel, etc. will also mean you may need to look for 'ingredients' on your jewellery piece. If you wear jewellery every day, and tend to forget to take them off in the shower or before sleep, aim for at least gold filled or more. If you like wearing lightweight & fine jewellery compared to fashion / costume jewellery, gold filled or solid gold jewellery is great for longevity and can wear beautifully.

S-kin Studio was created with the ethos of effortless, every day gold-filled jewellery, able to be worn in water, to sleep, etc. and are ethically made with Australian-inspired elements for your every day. Explore our range of gold-filled jewellery.

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