When you purchase a piece of gold jewelry, it could be overwhelming just reading the description,14k, 18k, or any k gold plated, gold filled or vermeil gold... what does all that mean?
Here is your basic gold knowledge brought to you by SunJewel...
Gold plated, the base metal could be any metal, brass, copper or steel and coated with a gold layer. Varying levels of purity (as in 10k, 14k, 18k) will result a variety of thicknesses for the gold coating. The plating method is called flash plating - the gold is dipped into the electroplating solution for a short time, and then the gold ends up coating the piece.
Gold filled, differ from flash plating, it is an actual layer of gold heat pressure (or just pressure) bonded to a core metal. The metal could be silver, brass or copper. Legally it needs to feature 5% of gold by weight, in terms of karat, the gold layer on the jewelry is above 10k.
Vermeil, the french word that is pronounced 'ver-may', means gilded silver, silver-gilt, or let's say its silver and coated with gold. The base metal is usually sterling silver (92.5%) or fine silver (99%). For the industry standards the US, the gold position must be 10 karats or above or a piece to be considered vermeil. It is usually micron plating for vermeil pieces, the plating method is comparatively more expensive than flash plating because you’re plating with more gold.
Solid gold, in terms of the gold purity, is the most wanted quality to invest in this pyramid,
Pure gold (24 karat) is a very soft metal. In order to make it into durable for everyday wear, it is mixed with other metals to add strength. The most popular alloy of gold is 14k gold, which is 58.5% pure gold and 41.5% other metals like copper and silver. A karat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy out of 24 parts. So 24 karat is pure gold, and 14 karat means 14 parts of gold and 10 parts of other metal. There are much more to consider when it comes to purpose, whether it's for investment or a piece of jewelry that would please you. Lower karat isn't for investment but often used to mount a precious stone.
Hope this would clear out some confusion... (will update more)