What is the Difference Between Gold Vermeil, Gold Plate, Gold PVD, and E-Coat gold?

When working with a jewelry manufacturer, it's important to understand all the different options for gold finishes. Choosing the right finish for you depends on many factors. Let's start by understanding the difference between the finish options:

What is the difference between gold vermeil vs. gold plate jewelry?

  • As gold vermeil is made with both real silver and gold, it is considered part of fine jewelry or “demi-fine”. With a higher karat weight and thicker layer of gold, vermeil has more value and is priced more expensive. Because gold plate can vary in its base metal and thickness, it is less valuable and less durable than gold vermeil.

What is the difference between gold plate and gold PVD?

  • Gold plating and Gold PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) are two different methods used to apply a gold-colored or gold-toned coating to the surface of jewelry or other items. They differ in terms of the process used, durability, and appearance. 

  • Gold PVD is generally considered a more advanced and durable option for achieving a gold finish, while gold plating is a more affordable but less durable method. Your choice between the two depends on your budget, preferences, and how you plan to use and care for the item.

What is the best gold finish option for me?

  • Most Valuable: Gold vermeil offers a good choice as it is much more affordable than solid gold jewelry. It offers the highest-quality and is still considered fine jewelry with its 925 sterling silver base.

  • Best Value: Gold plate and Gold PVD can both be good options as they are more affordable while also providing a durable gold finish that will last a long time.

Take a look at how gold finishes differ compared to one another in the chart below:

Gold Vermeil vs Gold Fill vs Gold Plate vs Gold PVD

Once you begin working with a jewelry manufacturer, you may have more detailed questions to ask about your gold finishes and the techniques used. An experienced manufacturer will be able to share with you information on verifiable certification of the source of the gold used. If you want to know the gold content, you can request a SGS report or a report that certifies the materials by a third-party.

If you are concerned about the safety and quality of the gold used, you can request a SDS or safety data sheet for more information. Keep in mind that not every manufacturer will share this information with you. If transparency and traceability is an essential part of your company and products, make sure that your jewelry manufacturer knows that you require detailed information on all materials used and sourced in the making of your jewelry.

Read our posts on gold vermeil and gold sourcing.


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