When looking to invest in your next golden jewellery piece, understanding the differences between the types of gold jewellery is essential. Each type varies in quality, durability and price point, and although it may seem like a minefield, we guarantee that you don’t have to be a jewellery connoisseur to figure out which is the right option for you. So if you’re wondering about carats, plating and if a piece will last forever, keep reading - we’ve got you covered.
What to Look for When Choosing Gold Jewellery
There are various types of gold jewellery available, all of which will have different qualities, properties and values. First of all, you will want to check the quality mark on the piece, also known as the hallmark, which reveals the quality of the piece and ensures the piece has been independently tested and conforms with the legal standards of purity.
If the amount of gold within a piece is important to you, you may also want to look for the number of carats within the gold bracelet, necklace or set of earrings you are looking to invest in. The number of carats indicates how much gold is within the piece of jewellery.
Put simply, there are a maximum of 24 carats when it comes to gold, which would be classed as pure gold. Any fewer carats can reveal what percentage of gold is within the piece. This is calculated by dividing the number of carats by 24.
The Different Types of Gold Jewellery
Discover the different types of gold jewellery below. All have their place and how you intend to wear them and your budget will determine which is the best type for you.
What is Solid Gold?
Solid gold holds 24 carats which means it is 100% pure gold. However, 24ct solid gold is rarely used for jewellery due to its soft properties which means it cannot hold a shape over time. It is also usually a very yellowy hue, which isn’t for everyone’s taste and is not durable enough to be worn.
When investing in solid gold jewellery made from pure gold, what you are likely to be receiving is an alloy, which is a combination of two or more metals that allows a piece to be more durable. In fact, the lower the number of carats, the easier a gold piece will be to look after and maintain for years to come.
What is 18ct Solid Gold?
18ct solid gold works great for the creation of jewellery. It is an alloy, but still contains a high level of gold, at 75%. This means that 18ct solid gold pieces are likely to hold, and even increase, their value over time, making them great investment pieces. Designed to last a lifetime, 18ct solid gold jewellery doesn’t need to be saved just for special occasions. Tarnishing is rare and it is much more durable than gold-plated items.
If you’re looking for some showstopping 18ct solid gold jewellery, check out our Dio Recycled 18ct Gold Earrings and our Euly Recycled 18ct Gold Ring, perfect for some everyday luxury or a special occasion.
What is Gold Filled?
Nope, it’s not a piece of jewellery filled with gold, but whereby a thick layer of gold is mechanically bonded using heat onto a cheaper base metal such as copper or brass. The gold used is usually 14ct and for it to be classed as gold filled, 5% of its total weight needs to be made from real gold.
What is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil is similar to gold plating, except it must use at least 2.5 microns or higher of gold. Using sterling silver as the base metal, a process called electroplating is used to apply a layer of gold onto the surface of the base metal. This creates a piece that is designed to last and has longevity, whilst creating a glistening gold finish at a more affordable price tag than solid gold.
What is Gold Plated?
Gold-plated jewellery can be a great option if you want the glitz and glam of a golden piece but are perhaps on a smaller budget than for solid gold pieces. Gold plating involves using a base metal and covering it with a thin layer of gold through a chemical process. This achieves a luxury finish with all the shine but without the luxury price.
However, it’s important to know that gold-plating can vary with every jeweller, specifically in what base metal they use, which can impact the overall quality and longevity of a piece. The term gold-plating can be used for jewellery that uses cheaper metals such as brass and nickel as their base metal, as well as those with precious metals such as sterling silver. Therefore, it’s always worth looking to see which base metal is used when choosing a gold-plated piece.
18ct gold-plated sterling silver would be the highest quality option and is what we use with many of our collections at Loveness Lee.
What is Recycled Solid Gold?
Recycled solid gold is just that, recycled. It is created from unwanted items like broken jewellery, coins, old car parts and old electrical items. Due to being a precious metal, gold holds all its original properties and doesn’t degrade when melted down and reformed, making it a great metal to recycle and breathe new life into. Some may think that recycled gold may not be as high quality as pure gold, but in fact, it can be continually recycled without losing its value, integrity or shine!
Mining for precious metals has many associated environmental and ethical issues and is not considered a truly sustainable option for the jewellery industry. Using recycled solid gold uses the resources that are already available, prevents them from going to landfill and creates something beautiful out of something pre-loved whilst all helping protect the planet. At Loveness Lee, we only use recycled 18ct gold in our collections.
Gold Jewellery at Loveness Lee
We love gold jewellery at Loveness Lee and believe it’s a jewellery box essential. Dressed up or down, there’s always an occasion for a bit of gold. We use several types of gold within our jewellery, including 18ct recycled solid gold and 18ct gold-plated recycled sterling silver. With something for every style and price point, our sustainable gold jewellery is the perfect accessory, whether it’s for a birthday bash, a summer wedding or just day-to-day.
How to Clean Your Gold Jewellery?
With proper care, your gold jewellery can last a lifetime. Read our top tips on how to clean your solid gold and gold-plated jewellery, and if it needs a little more TLC, check out our Aftercare Program which is available to all our Loveness Lee customers.