Pronounced “ver-may,” this material is a combination of silver and gold. The gold portion must be at least 10 carats, however, depending on the thickness of the piece for which it is being used, it can be as much as 14, 18 or 24 carats . To the naked eye, it looks just like pure gold but is less expensive and can be shined up to a gloss, or left to tarnish for a more vintage look. With vermeil jewellery, the base metal used has to be sterling silver, which is much better for those who have skin allergies to other base metals. The silver is then gold-plated, but with a thicker coating, often as much as 50% thicker than a traditional gold-plated piece.