If you’ve been shopping for high-end jewellery lately, then chances are you are familiar with the term gold vermeil. But are you truly familiar with what gold vermeil is? Most boutique jewellery stores are now offering gold vermeil designs and if you’re still on the fence about choosing vermeil over real gold, let us help you out. Here’s everything you need to know about what is gold vermeil and all the reasons to love it!
What Is Gold Vermeil?
To put it across simply, gold vermeil is sterling silver that has a thin layer of gold electroplated onto it. Vermeil is pronounced as ver-may, and not ver-meal as the spelling might suggest. To the naked eye, vermeil may look exactly like gold, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because real gold is actually used for the electroplating process. But there are three qualifying factors that sets vermeil apart from other gold plated jewellery:
- The strength of the gold used for the plating process must be at least 10 Karats with high quality vermeil usually being 14 Karats or more,
- The thickness of the plating has to be a minimum of 2.5 microns and
- The base metal has to be sterling silver.
The History and Process
It might seem like creation of gold vermeil is a relatively new technique, but in fact it was first experimented with in France around the mid-18th century! A lot of the large ornaments and embellishments produced by goldsmiths during this period feature gold vermeil.
However, back then the production of vermeil required the employment of a highly dangerous process called fire-gilding (that more often than not resulted in severe injuries) and was subsequently banned by the government. It was only a century later that the technique of electroplating was developed in England which was deemed to be a safer practice and has since been in use all over the world. Electroplating coats the base metal with another metal through the use of electro-deposition process.
Price, Design and Longevity: All the Reasons to Love Gold Vermeil
So why choose gold vermeil over real gold or regular gold plated jewellery? We have not one but three important reasons for you – price, design and longevity. Gold is a must have metal in your jewellery arsenal, but it is also an expensive purchase. If your budget is tight but you still want something of high quality, then gold vermeil is the way to go. You’re still getting real gold, even if it’s just the outermost layer. Thanks to the fact that the base metal is sterling silver, vermeil jewellery promises much higher longevity compared to regular gold plated jewellery. It’s much more resilient to scratches and breakage, making it ideal for daily wear even.
Given it’s sustainability and quality, most boutique jewellers are choosing to produce gold vermeil jewellery (including us at Jewel Tree London!) which ensures you will find the latest, most trendy designs at affordable prices.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gold Vermeil
How to tell apart gold vermeil from other gold plated jewellery?
Since gold vermeil is only created using sterling silver, the easiest way to tell apart vermeil from regular gold plated jewellery is to look out for the number 925 imprinted on the jewellery. This number is an indication of the use of 92.5% pure silver.
Does gold vermeil tarnish easily?
Any type of jewellery is likely to dull and tarnish over time, particularly if it’s in frequent contact with chemicals such as those found in cosmetic products. Gold vermeil is no different. Although the presence of sterling silver makes gold vermeil jewellery quite sturdy, you should take care of your vermeil ornaments the same way you would take care of your gold jewellery.
How to best take care of gold vermeil jewellery?
To ensure longevity of vermeil jewellery make sure you do not expose it to water, lotions, make up or perfumes. It should be stored away from direct sunlight in an appropriate casing and you can use microfibre cloths to keep it clean.