Vermeil, pronounced as vehr-may, is a legally regulated term that refers to quality jewelry. It is one of the hottest trends right now as it is known to strike the perfect balance between quality and value. A lot of people tend to confuse vermeil with gold plating, even though they do share certain aspects but there is a big difference in quality, durability and desirability.
When shopping for jewelry, one has to keep in mind the differences between these two. There are several factors which include composition, thickness and base metal that contributes in determining a piece of jewelry that is vermeil.
So, what is gold vermeil?
Vermeil is indeed a type of gold-plating that is typically composed of a thick layer of only done over solid sterling silver. Industry standards dictate that to be legally called “vermeil” in the United States the gold portion must be 10 karats or above, but most high quality pieces 14, 18 or 22 karats depending on the thickness of the jewelry. The thickness of the gold portion is what mostly sets vermeil jewelry apart from the simple gold plated pieces. The thickness required is 2.5 microns. Although in Canada the requirements for labelling an item as gold vermeil are lower and it needs to be only 1.0 microns thick. Another key factor is that it is necessary for a vermeil piece to have a sterling silver base instead of brass or any other cheaper metal.
On the other hand, in gold plating any metal can be used as the base and the gold portion of the layer can be of varying levels of purity. This results in a variety of thicknesses for the gold coating. Gold plated jewelry pieces are much cheaper than vermeil jewelry as they use any metal to create the core. It can be steel or brass which is dipped in gold to form a thin layer over them. However because of its thinness the coating wears out eventually, leaving your jewelry with the base only.
Hitherto, vermeil jewelry is simply sterling silver with a layer of gold. One needs to be careful while purchasing vermeil jewelry pieces as they almost look like gold. Vermeil jewelry is mostly found in yellow color, but you can find some in pink.
Vermeil jewelry pieces are made through the process of electroplating and can be done in two ways:
- Micron plating: This method involves measuring the thickness of the gold layer which is necessary when plating jewelry pieces and watches. (this is what La Kaiser uses for vermeil plating)
- Flash plating: Here, gold is dipped into the electroplating solution for a short time, and then the gold ends up coating the other metal piece.
Now that you have gotten a clarity regarding vermeil jewelry, here are some caring tips:
- Keep your vermeil jewelry pieces away from dust, pollution and perfumes. As these factors affect the gloss, making it dull
- Always remove your jewelry before taking a shower
- Avoid exposing your jewelry to harsh chemicals, hot water, cleaners
- Substances such as chlorine can damage the surface of your jewelry
- When not in use keep your jewelry in air tight containers to prevent oxidation
- To clean your jewelry, use a clean cotton or microfiber cloth to buff it gently
If you want to build a collection of high-quality jewelry without the pure gold price tag, gold vermeil is a fantastic option. Check out our gold vermeil jewelry.