A Gold Standard: Our Guide to Gold Jewellery

Gold jewellery has made a big comeback and with its luxurious appeal and warming tones, we can see why. The many myths and legends that surround the allure of gold throughout history demonstrate a united truth – a continued collective fascination with this precious metal.

The colour and value of gold is largely determined by the proportion of pure gold to other metal alloys – commonly described as the carat. For example, there is a marked difference between pure 24 carat gold with its strong yellow colour and higher price tag, and 9 carat gold which only contains 37.5% pure gold. The proportion of alloy versus pure gold also determines the durability of the gold. So, the lower the carat, the more durable the piece. 24 carat gold is considered too soft for use as jewellery, particularly everyday items such as wedding bands, as it scratches and bends easliy.

Gold Purity Chart. Source: Malabar Diamonds & Gold

However, with the increase in popularity of gold filled and gold vermeil jewellery as an alternative to solid gold over recent years, we recognise that this can be a little confusing. What’s the difference between solid gold, gold filled and gold vermeil jewellery? Which metal should you choose for your wedding ring or engagement ring?

In this post, we provide a summary of the properties of each of these metals and their suitability for different types of jewellery to help you choose the best option for you.

SOLID GOLD Jewellery

Solid gold is the perfect material for almost any design with its natural brilliance, beautiful lustre and resistance to tarnish. For truly effortless upkeep, our solid 18ct and 9ct gold jewellery will last a lifetime (and then some!) – even with daily wear.

Also, our Fine Collection pieces are made from 100% recycled gold which has none of the associated human or environmental problems that can sometimes be associated with mining.


9ct gold is made from 9 parts gold and 15 parts other alloys. Various alloys can be used, however silver is used for white gold and copper is used for red gold. 9ct gold is 37.5% of gold and will be hallmarked with the stamp 375. This means that 9ct gold has a paler yellow gold colour, which may vary a little depending on what the other alloys are mixed with it. White gold has a natural silver colour to it, and is often plated with rhodium giving it a bright white colour, which most people think is white gold’s natural colour. Rose gold will have more copper in it to make its rosy red colour.


18ct gold is made from 18 parts gold and 6 parts other alloy. Again, copper is used for red golds and 18ct white gold is commonly mixed with palladium not silver. 18ct gold is 75% gold and will have a hallmark assay stamp of 750. As 18ct gold has twice the amount of gold in it than 9ct gold, which is seen in the price, but it is well worth the investment.

18ct gold is brighter yellow colour than 9ct gold, as it has double the gold content in it. 18ct white gold is usually made with palladium as one of its alloys, making 18ct white gold more durable than the 18 yellow gold (as palladium is a harder metal than gold). 18ct white gold can be a darker grey than 9ct white gold (or silver). White gold’s natural colour is beautiful but it can be rhodium plated if you want a bright white finish.


White gold is made from a combination of yellow gold alloyed with other metals, usually some mix of silver, nickel, platinum or palladium, for durability and strength. The more gold in the alloy, the more yellow the ‘white’ gold will appear in colour, meaning that 18ct white gold is naturally more yellow than 9ct.

Read this post for more information about white gold.

Gold Filled Jewellery

At Becky’s Boutique, some of our gold jewellery collections are made from 14 carat gold filled. An excellent alternative to solid gold, gold filled offers the characteristic warm yellow or blushing rose tones of solid gold at a fraction of the price.

Gold filled jewellery, also known as bonded or rolled gold, is more durable and retains more value than gold plated pieces. This is because it has an actual layer of carat gold (heat and pressure bonded to a base metal), rather than a microscopic film as is the case with cheap gold plated pieces.

If you have a metal allergy and don’t want to invest in solid gold, gold filled is the gold for you. The thick bonded layer of gold means that it won’t react with the skin. 

These properties make gold filled jewellery the perfect choice for jewellery that is meant to last and be worn on a daily basis – and especially rings – with minimal upkeep.

Gold Vermeil Jewellery

Pronounced “ver – may” and not to be confused with regular gold plating, gold vermeil is a much thicker layer of gold over a solid sterling silver base which gives the pieces their long-lasting colour.

The thickness of the gold (a minimum of 2.5 microns) is what really sets gold vermeil jewellery apart from other gold plated pieces and makes it last longer and more hard wearing. You’ll want to look after gold vermeil jewellery more than you would gold filled pieces as this layer of gold isn’t pressure-bonded. 

Also, gold vermeil and gold plated rings, if worn daily, will wear off pretty quickly. We really don’t advise gold plating for rings but if you choose this option, be prepared to replate them regularly (e.g. yearly) to keep the original brightness of the gold.

At Becky’s Boutique, we bring you high quality 18ct and 24ct gold vermeil jewellery without the high price tag of solid gold.

Feeling Inspired?

Whether you prefer gold over silver or are looking for the perfect accessory for an evening dress, take a look at our gold jewellery and rose gold jewellery pieces. 


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