About Metals - Suzanne DeBow's Gemstone Gallery

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About Metals in Jewelry Making

As gold and silver prices continue to soar, other metals that have the look and feel of precious metals become good alternatives in jewelry making. Although this is good news, navigating the differences between these metals can be challenging or even confusing. Gemstone Gallery uses metals with stones in jewelry making.

The following simplifies metal differences used in jewelry making and provides insight into their viability as alternatives to precious metals.

Gold Filled:

This is likely the best alternative to gold. This is due to the thick layer of gold used to overlay a base metal. When compared to Vermeil it can have as much as 100 times more gold layering. This makes it harder to detect the difference between gold-filled and gold. The thickness of gold also makes it sturdy and therefore more resistant to wear and tear.

Gold Plated:

Several metals such as brass and copper is electroplated or gold plated with a layer or more of gold. This extra layering of gold can make a piece of jewelry more valuable than a Vermeil one especially if it is plated with a generous layer of 20k or 22kgold


Vermeil is silver overlayed with gold. The value of Vermeil depends a great deal on how much gold is layered on the silver. A thin layer of gold on Vermeil will wear quickly. It should be re-plated with a much thicker layer of gold. The advantage of well plated Vermeil is silver as the base metal. Unlike copper or brass, which is often used in gold plated jewelry, silver makes Vermeil a viable metal.

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