If you want to build a collection of fantastic high-quality jewellery without the gold price tag, goldvermeil is a fantastic option. Vermeil looks like gold to the naked eye, and it also enables you to find more unusual & avant-garde pieces that won’t break the bank. You can also shine it up to give it a beautiful gloss sheen or leave it to tarnish for a more vintage look.
Pronounced Vermay - Gold Vermeil jewellery is still one of the hottest trends right now as it strikes the perfect balance between quality and value. In the realm of gold-tone jewellery, gold vermeil is the best quality jewellery you can get, short of buying solid gold.
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.
There are several factors, including composition, thickness, and base metal, that contributes in determining if a piece of jewellery is vermeil.
So, what is vermeil?
To be called "vermeil" the jewellery piece must meet ALL of these conditions:
1. Have sterling silver as its base material. Sterling silver is an alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other materials, and is a standard material used in high quality jewellery (versus, e.g., brass or copper).
2. Be plated in gold that is at least 10k (10 karats). That means the gold is at least 41.7% gold content.
3. Have gold plating that is at least 2.5 microns thick. A micron is 1/1000th of a millimetre. (standard gold plate is normally 0.5 microns)
So why not buy gold plated?
Gold-plated jewellery refers to jewellery that has gold plating of at least 0.5 microns thick. It does not require sterling silver to be used as the base material, and usually uses a less valuable material at its core such as brass or copper. Since the plating is so thin, the gold colour will wear very quickly compared to gold vermeil. Gold vermeil is far superior to gold-plated jewellery. This is a good combination for those with allergy to normal, plated jewellery items.
Gold plated pieces are cheaper than vermeil jewellery as they use any base metal to create the core for the plating. However, the coating can and will wear out eventually, leaving your jewellery with the base metal only & a very patchy finish.
Even though vermeil has a lot more gold content than gold-plated pieces, it is important tounderstand that it is not gold..You need to careful when purchasing vermeil pieces as they almost look like gold. Some unscrupulous dealers can try to sell you Gold Vermeil jewellery as solid gold pieces. Vermeil jewellery will be hallmarked or stamped (depending on weight) with the 925 assay mark. Yellow gold is the most popular colour for these pieces, but you will also find vermeil available in rose gold and other tones.
How should I care for my gold vermeil jewellery?
Dust, pollution, perfumes, and cosmetics can affect the surface of your pieces. This might affect the gloss, something that you certainly don't want to happen.
First, you should always apply perfume before wearing your pieces. Also, remember to remove your jewellery before taking a shower. Try as much as possible to avoid exposing your jewellery to cleaners, hot water, and harsh chemicals, ideally you want to remove them before handling such solutions. Substances, such as chlorine, can permanently damage the surface of your piece. Bear this in mind when using chlorine bleach or before diving in the pool. When not using your vermeil pieces, remember to store them in an airtight container to prevent oxidation & tarnishing.
To clean your jewellery, use a clean cotton or microfibre cloth to buff it gently. Don't be tempted touse chemical cleaners as they can easily strip the gold finish. Over time, the gold layer is likely to tarnish. This is a common and natural property that adds a unique sense of character to the piece. Don't fret when that happens, a quick buff with a silver polishing cloth will bring your piece back to life. If cared for well, a good vermeil piece will last for decades.
Vermeil jewellery can be a great and durable alternative to solid gold pieces. It is also an excellent pick if you have allergies to metals because sterling silver is usually a pure metal.Ensure to take the time to find a trusted seller when looking to purchase a vermeil piece.
You will certainly love the look and feel of a vermeil jewellery if you invest time in finding the right option, It's one of those pieces you should never overlook when upgrading your jewellery box.
Why not take a look at our related post, What is Rhodium? & why is it used in jewellery
Updated December 2022