What is Gold Fill?
A great alternative to 'real' gold. You get a beautiful gold look with 'real' gold (usually 18k to 22k) on top of a base metal core. A great website describes it in much greater technical depth if you are interested:
I love using gold filled wire and findings in my work because it really does offer so many different alternatives and allows more people to wear the lovely look of gold.
What is Vermeil?
Another alternative to 'real' gold, to me this is slightly more precious than gold filled, but there are disagreements between artisans as to which is better. I like Vermeil (pronounced ver-meal) because it is gold over sterling silver.
So if the gold ever starts to wear, what you have underneath is another precious metal instead of a base metal. I also like the color of most vermeil pieces better ... it generally is a 'richer' looking gold color.
One reason other artists prefer gold filled metal is that gold filled does use a thicker layer of gold over the base metal compared to vermeil. Both are excellent alternatives to the expense of gold.
What is Fine Silver?
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. More precious than sterling silver (which is only 92.5% silver), fine silver won't tarnish. It's softer than sterling silver but can be "work hardened" for strength.