Gold Plated Jewelry:
Gold plated jewelry is NOT gold jewelry. Gold plated jewelry is jewelry made of a base metal (e.g. copper or silver) that has a very thin layer of gold applied to the top. The layer is so thin, that it can usually be rubbed off with a coarse pencil eraser in a few strokes. Some plated jewelry has a “thicker” layer of gold than other plated jewelry, but the difference is insignificant on the grand scale of things. When buying gold plated jewelry, you should consider the gold plating as nothing more than a coloring; a momentary aesthetic attribute. There is almost no inherent value to the gold applied. It doesn’t matter if it’s 24K, 14K or 18K.
Vermeil is under the category of “gold plated”. Vermeil is gold over a sterling base metal.
Gold Filled Jewelry:
Unlike gold plated jewelry, gold filled jewelry has a measurable amount of actual gold in it. Like gold plated jewelry, some gold filled jewelry has a thicker layer of gold than other gold filled jewelry. In some instances, the weight of the gold is actually marked on the gold filled jewelry.