If you’ve ever wondered, “What is gold finish?” this article is for you. Gold finished jewelry is sold in a variety of shops, but people are often confused as to what it is and how it differs from solid gold jewelry, gold plated jewelry, gold vermeil jewelry, gold filled jewelry, and other jewelry types. In this post, we’ll delve a little deeper into this topic to uncover the meaning behind “gold finished” and how you can use this information to inform your next gold purchase.

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What Is a Gold Finish?

Gold finish metal doesn’t have a specific definition. In fact, much of gold finish metal is unregulated. This means that despite the fact that this type of jewelry is indeed overlain with gold, there is no industry standard as to how much actual gold is overlaying the piece.

Thus, the general definition for gold finish would be a thin coating of gold that is plated to the surface of a metal. However, specifications of how much gold is plated to the metal would be undisclosed.

What Is Gold Finish? Explained

Types of Gold Finish

It is important to understand that gold finish is technically a league of its own. But because there are no regulations to this term, the phrase “gold finish” is often used in various ways to refer to differing types of overlay. Technically, gold finish is simply jewelry that has a thin layer of gold on top. However, it isn’t clear how much gold that actually is. Other terms like gold plated vermeil or gold filled are regulated, and thus, have specific definitions and weight requirements attached to them.

Still, most types of gold plated jewelry have been mechanically bonded to other metals to give the appearance of solid gold for a more affordable price. Just remember that though gold finished jewelry isn’t technically fake, it also isn’t considered solid pure gold.

Does Gold Finish Mean Real Gold?

Yes, gold finish means “real” gold, but note that the gold is simply an overlay. This means that the layer of gold you see on gold finished jewelry is simply a coating, but that the majority of the metal is composed of something entirely different. Gold finished jewelry is likely to have significantly less gold than other types of jewelry which may be plated with thick gold. Because of this, gold finished jewelry may tarnish or rub off easily whereas solid gold jewelry or gold vermeil jewelry likely will not.

Is Gold Finish Same As Gold-Plated?

No. Remember that gold finish jewelry is generally undefined as it has no specified industry standard. Because of this, it cannot be compared to other types of jewelry, including those that are gold plated.

In order to be considered gold plated, jewelry plated with gold usually contains a thin layer of gold that is at least 0.15-0.25 mils. Still, this definition can sometimes vary. On occasion, you may see the terms “gold plated” and “gold finished ” used interchangeably, although they aren’t technically the same thing.

Also, you should note that there are other types of gold jewelry available on the market that contain more gold than gold finished jewelry. Gold vermeil, for example, must contain at least 2.5 micrometers of gold and is layed on top of sterling silver. Gold filled jewelry, on the other hand, must be at least 5% of the jewelry’s total weight. Finally, solid gold jewelry is entirely gold and contains no base metal. As you might imagine, it is solid gold jewelry that is the purest, and also most expensive, of all types of gold jewelry out there.

Is Gold Finish Metal Good?

That depends on what you mean by “good”. If you want jewelry that looks like real gold but that remains affordable, then yes, a gold plated jewelry piece will be a great fit for your needs. However, remember that purchasing jewelry that is simply gold finished may lead to tarnishing over time and may not last as long as other pieces containing a thick layer of gold.

Moreover, you may expect that gold finished jewelry gives those who are sensitive to certain metals an allergic reaction due to the thinness of the gold layer. These thin layers mean other metals have more exposure to the skin, which can spell trouble for those with metal allergies.

If you desire jewelry that is hypoallergenic that will last and won’t tarnish as easily, it is best to go for fine jewelry with a thicker layer of real gold than typical costume jewelry pieces have. The thickness of the gold makes it more suitable to wear daily than gold covered brass.

What Is Gold Finish Metal?

Remember that most gold finish metal is usually brass covered by a thin layer of gold. You can, in fact, replicate your own gold finish metal using gold leaf at home. There are steps on how to do this easily with just a few simple supplies on hand, so we encourage you to dig deeper if making simple and elegant jewelry with gold color is something you’d like to learn more about.

How to Remove Gold Finish on Metal

If you’d like to remove gold plating on metal, you can do so relatively easily. To make this happen, grab an abrasive scouring pad, Tripoli compound (AMALINK), and jewelers rouge.

  • To begin, use your abrasive cloth to buff away the gold plating on the metal. 
  • From there, follow up with the Tripoli compound to nix scratches on the newly revealed underlying metal. 
  • Use jeweler’s rouge to make the metal shiny again. 
  • Rub the rouge in with a soft cloth. 
  • Clean the rogue away with a separate soft cloth. 
  • If what is left is sterling silver beneath the gold overlay, consider polishing the finished piece with the highest quality silver polish.

What Is Gold Finished? The Answer Can Vary!

All in all, you can expect the definition of gold finished jewelry to fluctuate depending on who you are speaking to. Though gold finished jewelry could refer to a plethora of different gold overlay types, it can generically be used to describe jewelry that has a thin layer of gold covering another type of metal. How much gold that thin layer is composed of will vary as there is no true industry standard for this unregulated term.


What is polished gold finish?

Polished gold finish is a general term that refers to jewelry that contains metal that is plated with gold and then polished for the sake of appearance.

Is gold finish real gold?

Yes, gold finish is real gold. However, it shouldn’t be confused with solid gold jewelry. Gold finish jewelry has a thin gold overlay while solid gold pieces are made from gold entirely.

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