What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry? What You Need to Know...

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry? What You Need to Know...

Learn What Gold Vermeil Jewelry Is & Why You Need It in Your Collection.

So, what is Gold Vermeil Anyway?

Gold Vermeil (pronounced vur-MAY) is genuine .925 sterling silver that has been expertly plated with a thick layer of 14k-24k gold. 

Quick Gold Vermeil Facts:

  • Gold jewelry is hotter than ever, and gold vermeil is a great option for price-conscious consumers.
  • Gold vermeil is a great alternative to solid gold (price), flash gold plate (junk), and gold filled (contains cheap brass).
  • Gold Vermeil is the perfect option for those with metal allergies due to the durable thickness of the gold combined with the base of precious sterling silver. 
  • Gold vermeil is an "insider's secret" of discerning jewelry buyers as premium materials (silver and gold) are used, but allows for more affordable designer jewelry than solid gold.
  • With high-end jewelry designers embracing the trend, now is the perfect time to add some to your collection.
Keyword(s): vermeil

 

Is it time for a new piece of jewelry

A recent promotion? A special occasion? Or just because?  

If you're wanting to commemorate or celebrate (and still have some $$$ left for retirement)  you need to consider adding a gold vermeil piece (or two) to your jewelry collection!

Premium quality with sensible pricing

Gold vermeil is quickly becoming a favorite of the top jewelry designers around the world.

It allows them to use a combination of pure metals to deliver high-quality jewelry pieces that look like they might cost a small fortune but are actually fairly priced for both the consumers and the designers. Win-win.  

Here's a great example: This Italian-made adjustable chain is available in silver for $29.99 (discounted, but still). The same adjustable-length chain in solid gold would be nearly $350 but is only a FRACTION of that price in gold vermeil ($39.99).

 It's a premium-quality piece of jewelry, but without the premium price tag of solid gold jewelry. 

Wait, what is gold vermeil again?

Vermeil (pronounced vur-MAY) is a very specific type of premium gold finish.

Simply put, it is a combination of a very thick layer of gold over high-quality sterling silver.

Vermeil is making big waves in designer jewelry. 

It really is the best of both worlds - all of the exclusivity, beauty, and quality of designer jewelry, but at prices that won't break the bank. 

Many fashion-savvy women are now using vermeil jewelry to build their personal jewelry collections. The cost/quality balance allows them to be confident in the material and workmanship while still having the look and feel of collections costing many times more than what they actually do. In fact, because of its popularity in designer circles, gold vermeil jewelry has become one of the top "insider secrets" of the designer jewelry world. 

What's The Difference Between Gold Vermeil and Other Gold Plated Jewelry? 

Great question. There is no shortage of gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry out there. But there are big differences - mainly in the quality and long-term value as you consider what to include in your jewelry collection. 

Poor Quality - Gold Plated:

  • A base of either steel or brass (inferior base metals),
  • The piece is VERY quickly dipped in gold
  • The thin gold finish can wear off easily
  • Exposes the wearer to base metal allergies

Medium Quality - Gold Filled:

  • A base of either brass or copper
  • Outside made of 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:

  • A 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).

What Does Vermeil Look Like?

Great question!

We have assembled some of our favorites into a vermeil collection that we constantly update with the latest designs from the runways of Milan and the shows of Vicenza.

Note: Many designer jewelry pieces retain the "silver look" by using platinum vermeil or rhodium (platinum family) vermeil.  

 

Where Did It Come From?

 

The finest vermeil finishes for jewelry come from Italy. Families of artisans have perfected this craft and passed it down from one generation to another. In addition, there is strict quality oversight to protect Italy's reputation as a world-class jewelry production center. 

Vermeil jewelry imported from Italy must also meet the U.S. regulation standards, so there are layers of quality control built into every genuine piece of gold vermeil jewelry. 

What About Durability? 

Durability is all about the karat and the coverage.  

The greater the karat the more durable the piece. 24 karat gold is "pure" gold. But pure here doesn't mean it's only gold when turned into a piece of jewelry.

Solid gold is a soft metal.

So, in jewelry, which requires a certain amount of durability, alloys are often used. An alloy is a metal that is combined with gold to increase durability. 

Like all gold jewelry, vermeil follows suit. If you are looking for the most durable kind of plated jewelry, you'll look for 18k gold or 24 karat gold plating on the piece.

Thickness is also important. The thicker the plating, the longer it will last.

You will want to look for the quality of the core alloy. Vermeil makes this easy for you.  As genuine vermeil will always have a core alloy of sterling silver.  

Micron plating is what it is all about.  

This is the thickness of the gold. Micron plating at minimum is 1 micron, where it becomes measurable. But for this type of jewelry, the required minimum is 2.5.  

What Should I Look For in Purchasing? 

When buying anything, price matters - but quality should matter just as much.  

Take the time to find a reputable manufacturer and consider quality when comparing prices.  A good rule of thumb is, if the vermeil jewelry piece is priced similarly to a sterling silver piece or unplated gold piece of jewelry, then it's likely not really vermeil.  

This is often an issue of "getting what you pay for."

This type of jewelry is often more expensive than gold filled or gold plated jewelry, but obviously less expensive than solid gold jewelry, and:

  • there is no risk of an allergic reaction to an unknown core metal (because all core metals in vermeil are sterling or pure silver),
  • there is usually a higher grade of gold used,
  • is more durable since it's required to have a minimum of 2.5 microns, where a lot of gold plating is simply a thin layer that often wears off, and 
  • it is malleable for artists to create unique designs. 

In order to tell that you are purchasing the real thing and not gold plated pieces is to look at the coloration and the weight. 

This kind of gold jewelry is usually sold with 14 karats (minimum), 18 karats, or 24 karat yellow gold, or in a rose gold.

Less expensive gold plated pieces are usually 10 karats. 

While gold plated jewelry has a known marking system (GP, HGP, RGP, HGE, or GEP), vermeil does not. 

What you can look for is a stamp with a standard silver purity value. This will tell you that the core metal is silver. If you see 925 it would denote 92.5% silver...letting you know that the core metal is a 92.5% silver alloy. 

How Do I Care for Vermeil? 

Cleaning gold vermeil jewelry is simple. As with any piece of jewelry, you need to keep it free from dust, makeup, aerosols, and any pollution. So, as normal, apply any perfume and makeup prior to putting on this jewelry. 

When not being worn, keep your jewelry in the box or bag that it came in. Ensure it is not stored near a heat source and doesn't have weight on top of it. This type of jewelry needs to be stored in an airtight bag or box.

Also, if you plan on jumping in a pool or hot tub, remove your jewelry first. Not doing so can cause discoloration. 

To clean your gold vermeil jewelry, gently rinse in a bath of warm water and gentle dish soap (we recommend Dawn dish soap). Rinse and pat dry. 

Final Thoughts

Buying a piece of jewelry is a special occasion. Whether it is your birthday, you got a raise, or you just want something beautiful. 

Vermeil is a great option. It provides peace of mind for quality, as there are regulations and standards for its production.  The options are endless for design styles, colors, and finishes. 

To see a large collection of pieces of varying designs, colors, and prices, check out Roma's collection of vermeil jewelry.   

And when you show your new piece off to your friends, remember to pronounce it, "vur-MAY."

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q: Is Gold Vermeil Good Quality?

A: Gold vermeil is made using premium-quality metals (sterling silver and gold) which makes it very high quality in comparison to gold plated or gold filled because it doesn't contain any cheap base metals such as brass.

Q: How Long Will Gold Vermeil Last?

A: Using the highest quality noble metals and manufacturing processes, gold vermeil is far more durable than gold-filled jewelry, flash gold-plated jewelry, or regular gold plate. Gold vermeil can last for years if cared for properly and can even rival the longevity of solid gold pieces.

Q: Is Gold Vermeil Better than Gold Plated?

A: Gold vermeil is similar to gold-plated jewelry with the main difference being the thickness of the layer of gold. The other primary difference is that the metal underneath the layer of gold vermeil jewelry is solid sterling silver instead of the cheap brass or other base metal used for gold plated or even gold filled jewelry.

Q: Can Gold Vermeil Get Wet?

A: Yes, gold vermeil can get wet and is even fine for showering, however, we recommend that it not be exposed to harsh chemicals or certain types of chlorine that can discolor even solid gold jewelry (especially 14k gold).

Q: How do You Clean Gold Vermeil?

A: When your vermeil piece becomes dirty with oils from your skin or dirt and dust, you should wash it carefully with warm water and a soft liquid soap ( we recommend Dawn dish soap.) Lay the piece in the soapy water and use your fingers or a very light brush to remove dirt and debris. Rinse thoroughly with normal water and gently pat dry.

Q: Is Gold Vermeil the Same as Solid 14K Gold or 18K Gold?

A: No, vermeil consists of a thick gold layer over solid sterling silver.

Q: Are Gold Vermeil and Gold Filled the Same Thing?

A: No, they are similar except that gold vermeil has a solid sterling silver base whereas gold filled is a gold plate over a much less expensive base metal like brass.

Q: Can You Wear Gold Vermeil Every Day?

A: Simple answer: Yes. Although cheap plated jewelry and even flash plated gold jewelry can quickly lose its luster, gold vermeil is suitable for everyday wear due to the thick layer of gold and silver base.