What is gold vermeil?

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Learn what Gold Vermeil is and why it’s so amazing!
First up, let’s deal with how to pronounce it. Vermeil is a French word, so the end is pronounced ‘may’, rather than ‘meal’ – so we have ver-may.
Now that we know what we’re dealing with, let’s take a closer look.
You might not have heard much about gold vermeil, although it is becoming more common. Gold vermeil jewellery is one of the hottest trends right now as it strikes the perfect balance between quality and value.
Although vermeil might seem like a new craze, this type of metal has existed for centuries. Gold vermeil was a popular Victorian era feature and was used heavily in jewellery, tableware and other items.
The number one thing I get asked is: Isn’t gold vermeil just gold-plating?
Many people tend to confuse vermeil with gold plating, and even though they do share a few aspects, there is a big difference in quality, durability, and desirability. Gold vermeil is hallmark-standard 925 sterling silver that has been expertly plated with a thick layer of gold. 
So, technically, yes, it is… but it’s the most luxurious kind of gold plating. As well as being much thicker than normal gold plating, it’s what’s underneath the Gold that counts here!
Because gold vermeil is gold layered on top of 925 Sterling Silver, there are no based metals involved at all, so it really is the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to gold plating! Gold vermeil is excellent for people with sensitive skin and allergies, because the whole piece is made of precious metal – no base allowed!
Many sports trophies and all Olympic gold medals are made of gold vermeil!
So, what’s the different between gold vermeil and other gold plate?
I’m glad you asked, because there is no shortage of “gold” jewellery out there!
For a piece to be classed as gold vermeil, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • The base of the metal must be of sterling (92.5%) or fine (99.9%) silver. This is why vermeil is also known by its other names: Silver Gilt or Gilded Silver
  • The purity of the gold must be of at least 10 karats
  • The thickness of the gold coat should consist of a minimum of 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters)

There are huge differences in the quality of the pieces though.
Poor Quality – Gold Plated:

  • Base of either steel or brass (inferior base metals),
  • Piece is VERY quickly dipped in gold
  • Thin gold finish (around 0,5 microns) can wear off easily
  • Exposes the wearer to base metal allergies

Reasonable Quality – Gold Filled:

  • Base of either brass or copper
  • Outside is sheets of 10+ karat gold
  • Doesn't wear off quite as easily as gold plated
  • Still potential for metal allergy with inferior base metal

Highest Quality – Gold Vermeil:

  • Base of high-quality sterling silver 
  • A thick gold layer of at least 10k
  • Most of the time 14k-24k gold is used 
  • Industry regulated gold thickness of no less than 2.5 microns (very thick).

You’re still talking about microns – that doesn’t sound very durable!
The thing it’s easy to forget – especially with delicate pieces of jewellery – is that it’s still METAL. Sorry for the caps, but it’s true! Metal is usually pretty hardy, right?
Technically speaking, both silver and gold are ‘soft’ metals, but anyone who’s ever worn chunky jewellery know that in this case, ‘soft’ is relative.
To make sure that jewellery is durable, precious metals are mixed with alloys to ensure that they are strong enough to last a lifetime. Like all gold jewellery, vermeil follows suit. If you are looking for the most durable kind of jewellery, you'll look for 24 karat gold plating on the piece, but even 14 karat vermeil is better quality than other gold-plated alternatives because of the sterling silver base and the thickness of the gold.
So, now you know all about gold vermeil! Why not check out our gold vermeil pieces and give it a try today?


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