August 04, 2023 4 min read

Without an understanding of jewelry, you might end up making costly mistakes. Whether you’re choosing what to wear or shopping for a gift, it's important to know about the kinds of jewelry and the materials involved to help you make the best decisions. 

Kinds of Jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, there are countless options available, from nose rings to brooches to crowns. Here are some of the more common types of jewelry.


There are wide varieties of earrings, from the daintiest of studs to the most dramatic dangling designs. One popular trend in 2023 is illusion earrings. These designs give off the illusion of wearing more than one earring, making it possible for those with only a single piercing to feign having multiple piercings.

gold illusion earrings


Arguably the most widely worn type of jewelry, rings nowadays range from simple wedding bands to adjustable open rings to elaborate cocktail designs. Usually made with metals like gold or silver, they can be adorned with gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds.

gold adjustable open front ring


These are an incredibly versatile type of jewelry. Made with any combination of materials, including beads and cords, some examples include chain necklaces, pearl necklaces, shorter chokers for casual wear, and layered necklaces for a bold look.

layered gold necklace with round pendant


Similar to necklaces, bracelets are popular with different genders and age groups, often worn by men, women, and children. Recent findings suggest bracelets were worn even 40,000 years ago. Some current bracelet trends include bangles, arm or bicep cuffs, statement bracelets, and tennis bracelets.

gold figaro chain bracelet

Jewelry Materials


With its high value and ability to not tarnish, gold has become the metal of choice for many jewelry designers and makers. Gold is resilient against oxidation or corrosion as well; only extreme acids or certain solutions have been known to damage it. If maintained properly, gold jewelry can last a lifetime. 

gold jewelry on a reflective background

Pure Gold

Pure gold or 24-karat gold contains no other metals. While it is possible to find pure gold jewelry, pure gold is soft and, therefore, not ideal for everyday use since it easily dents and shows signs of wear. This type of jewelry commands a premium price. 

Solid Gold

Like pure gold jewelry, solid gold jewelry is known for being expensive. While pure gold is unadulterated 24K gold, solid gold can be an alloy or a blend of materials.

What is considered solid gold jewelry? According to the laws in the United States, if the purity is 10K or higher, it can be legally termed solid gold. That includes 12K, 14K, and 18K gold. 


When a 10K, 12K, 14K, or 18K gold plate is bonded to a base metal like brass, gold-filled jewelry is made. According to the US Code of Federal Regulations, "When such plating constitutes at least 1/20th of the weight of the metal in the entire article, the term “Gold Filled” may be used."

Gold Vermeil

Based on the US Federal Trade Commission, a vermeil piece "consists of a base of sterling silver coated or plated on all significant surfaces with gold, or gold alloy of not less than 10-karat fineness." In addition, the coating must also be 2.5 microns thick at a minimum.


This is composed of a layer of gold and base metal. Not all gold-plated jewelry is equal; variations in thickness and base material can significantly impact quality.


Silver's brilliance and lustrousness make it ideal for jewelry. However, silver jewelry requires more attention than jewelry made with other metals like gold, as it oxidizes more easily

silver jewelry on a gray jewelry organizer

Pure Silver

Pure silver is 99.9% silver. Like pure gold, this can be quite soft. Thus, it is not often used in everyday jewelry.

Sterling Silver or 925 Silver

As the most popular variant of silver, this is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals. Copper is often used in this composition as it helps to improve the alloy's hardness.

Interestingly, this purity standard for sterling or 925 silver originated hundreds of years ago in the 13th century when England's King Edward I created a law to guarantee the quality of silver products.

FAQ About Jewelry

Is gold-plated jewelry hypoallergenic? 

Not all gold-plated jewelry is hypoallergenic. Some made with metals like nickel or copper can cause allergic reactions. However, the gold-plated jewelry at Penny Pairs is made with eco brass and is therefore hypoallergenic.

How can I stop silver jewelry from tarnishing?

To stop silver jewelry from tarnishing, keep it dry. You can also use a soft cleaning cloth to wipe it down. In addition, it’s best to store it in a jewelry box, container, or pouch instead of out in the open.

blue jewelry case

How does gold-filled jewelry compare to gold vermeil and gold-plated jewelry? 

When comparing gold-filled vs. gold vermeil vs. gold-plated jewelry, the gold in gold-filled jewelry is thickest. Therefore, gold-filled jewelry is the most durable and long-lasting of the three.

gold-filled vs. gold vermeil vs. gold-plated jewelry infographic


How does Penny Pairs gold-filled jewelry compare to other gold-filled jewelry? 

The gold in our gold-plated jewelry is 10x thicker than the industry average: a thickness of 1 to 2.5 microns. We also use an eco brass base, which is hypoallergenic and highly resistant to corrosion. This is what makes our pieces more sustainable, durable, and tarnish-resistant, allowing them to last longer than the gold-plated jewelry offered by other affordable brands.

penny pairs gold filled vs other gold filled


Final Thoughts

Investing in high-quality jewelry ensures that your pieces make a great impression and stand the test of time. If you're looking for long-lasting yet affordable pieces crafted with hypoallergenic and non-tarnishing materials, look no further than Penny Pairs.

Penny Pairs pieces are sustainable, ethically produced, and conflict-free. Plus, in addition to offering a 180-day guarantee against any manufacturing defects, we also provide nationwide free shipping at no minimum spend and a freebie for qualifying orders. Shop now at