Solid gold is kind of a misnomer. And, in reality, you don’t actually want 100% “pure” gold.

Also known as 24-karat gold, pure gold is always in demand. But, you’ll discover that pure gold is not used in jewelry very often since it’s too soft to hold its shape over time. And, it’s too yellow-y, so it doesn’t really match up well with most skin tones.

So, then, how do they make gold jewelry from pure gold?

“Solid” gold really means you’re getting an alloy. An alloy is a combination of two or more metals that makes the final piece stronger and helps maintain the life of the piece. Anything below 24K gold will work for jewelry.

The lower the karats, the easier it will be to wear and maintain your special piece.

The great thing about solid gold jewelry is that you'll never have to worry about your pieces tarnishing, so you can shower, swim, and sweat in your solid gold jewelry and they will always stay the same.

Gold jewelry is believe it or not best when 18 karats. While it’s still an alloy, it has a high level of gold (75%), meaning it is worth more, even as it ages. 18-karat gold is designed to last a lifetime.

The most common jewelry alloy, 14K gold, is the best of both worlds: you’ll get your fill of gold (58.3%) without sacrificing the ability to wear it over and over. When you look closely, you’ll usually find a “14K” stamped into rings as a quality mark.

If you’re looking for a true middle-of-the-road between price and durability, look no further. 14-karat gold jewelry won’t tarnish, and you won’t break the bank getting staple pieces for you or your special someone. 

It’s also easy to take care of. You can combine lemon juice and baking soda to put the sparkle and shine back into your 14kt gold jewelry.

No matter your skin tone, 14K gold looks great on everyone. 

Gold vermeil jewelry  is made of either pure or sterling silver which is heavily plated with gold. You might also see it referred to as silver gilt or gilded silver.

Gold filled is made by applying a layer of gold over a base metal core, which is then rolled under very high pressure until bonded, which is why you might see it also referred to as rolled gold.

Gold plated jewelry (sometimes called ‘gold plaque’) contains the least amount of gold of all of these alternative gold finishes.

Gold plate is created by applying a thin layer of gold often over a base metal using electrical or chemical deposition.

Gilded jewelry are made by using an ancient technique called keum-boo The technique involves heating silver and applying 24ct gold foil to it, then using a tool to burnish the gold so that it bonds with the silver. This produces a beautifully rich gold colored finish over silver.

This jewelry generally wears quite well, but has similar pros and cons to that of gold plated jewelry and these pieces should be treated with extra care.

Overall, plated jewelry plated as gold wears over time, especially if the plating is over sterling silver. The only way to preserve plated jewelry is to store each piece in different jewelry bags and store them away from sunlight in a dark dry place.

Cleaning plated jewelry is easy. A few drop of dish washer soap in lukewarm water then shake the jewelry in it. Rinse pat dry and let dry over a clean dry towel then store away.


Rhodium is the whitest and most precious metal used for jewelry. It is rarer than gold or platinum and whiter than silver. The metal is found so infrequently by itself that it’s usually extracted as a byproduct from platinum mines. Rhodium comes from the same group of metals as platinum (known as the platinum group), which includes Platinum, Rhodium, Iridium, Ruthenium, Osmium, and Palladium. Rhodium’s extreme shine, reflectiveness, and strength make it desirable in industries that produce automobiles, lighting, and mirrors, as well as jewelry. 

Rhodium plated means jewelry made from a base metal of gold, silver, or other alloy that is coated in a thin layer of rhodium for extra strength and luster. Jewelry plated in rhodium is shinier and more durable than other metals. Rhodium plating does not scratch, dent, or corrode and retains its luster.

Rhodium plated jewelry adds an extra layer of protection to jewelry and produces a brighter white than sterling silver, white gold, or platinum. Realistically, jewelry cannot be crafted from solid rhodium because, despite its strength, rhodium is brittle. A layer of rhodium plating must be just the right thickness to keep it from cracking--.75-1.0 microns is perfect. Any thinner and the metal underneath would show; any thicker and the coating would crack. That perfect layer of rhodium can enhance the appearance, quality, and longevity of your jewelry. 

Rhodium is hypoallergenic because it does not contain nickel that can cause serious skin reactions. It actually guards against other metals alloyed with nickel to keep your skin safe. If you have a nickel allergy or just want to protect your skin, then rhodium is an excellent choice for you. Yet some people are allergic to it.

Absolutely. Rhodium is non-toxic and completely safe. It’s the recommended option for sensitive skin, babies, and new piercings. Because rhodium is nickel-free, it does not irritate ears or leave behind skin rashes.  

Rhodium is nickel-free, so it does not tarnish. Rhodium is also corrosion-resistant and does not rust. Because rhodium is strong, it does not need to be alloyed with other metals like nickel or copper that, over time, will corrode and leave behind dark green marks on your skin.

Rhodium plated silver is sterling silver coated in rhodium to make it whiter and brighter. Silver is a softer metal, so rhodium protects it from scratches or wear. Solid silver is too soft to be fashioned into jewelry, so it contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals like copper, nickel, or a combination of the two. The traces of copper and nickel in sterling silver cause tarnishing. Adding rhodium plating prevents this from happening. 

Silver is not as white or reflective as rhodium. It is softer and must be combined with other metals that make it susceptible to tarnishing. Sterling silver is often a base metal for rhodium since it is sturdy and high-quality. Rhodium adds some value and imperishability to silver.