Gold plated jewelry uses copper, brass or steel as the base metal. Gold coating is applied to the base metal through a flash process resulting in a thin layer of gold that can rub off with everyday wear. There are no industry standards for gold thickness or gold karat weight for gold plated jewelry.
Gold vermeil jewelry must have a base of at least 92.5% sterling silver. The industry requires the coating of gold over the silver must be at least 10k and 2.5 microns (that's industry speak for 1/1000th of a millimenter) thick. All our gold vermeil jewelry is 14k because we love it's soft, sunny hue.