Metal and materials are extremely important when you’re looking for the next piece in your jewellery collection. It gives you an idea about the quality of the jewellery you’re purchasing, how it was made, how long it will last and most importantly, what it’s going to look like. When you’re shopping for gold jewellery, you’ll find the term ‘gold vermeil’ coming up a lot. Here’s everything you need to know about gold vermeil jewellery.
What is gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is a variety of gold coated metal. To classify as vermeil, the jewellery piece must meet three important conditions. First, the base of the metal must be sterling silver or fine silver. Second, the purity of the gold that covers the base must be at least 10 carats, so the gold is at least 40% gold. Lastly, the thickness of the gold plating needs to be at least 2.5 microns thick or 0.0025 millimetres.
Gold vermeil has become increasingly popular as the love for gold jewellery has gotten stronger. In addition to the classic gold colour, gold vermeil also comes in rose gold and white gold hues. While the standard requirement for gold vermeil is 10ct, gold vermeil pieces also go up to 24ct
Let’s quickly explain what carats are. A ‘carat’t is the unit used to measure how much gold is in a piece of jewellery in comparison to the other metals present. So, if you have a ring made up of 10ct gold vermeil, the content is 41.7%. But if you have a piece that’s made up of 24ct gold vermeil, the content is 99.9% pure gold. The thicker the gold plating and the higher the carat, the better the quality.
How is gold vermeil made?
Gold vermeil is crafted in fine or sterling silver and then covered in gold by electrolysis. Electrolysis is the process of an electric current passing through a substance to effect a chemical change. This change makes the substance oxidise or reduce. When gold undergoes electrolysis, it becomes a thick consistent coating that covers the base material.
When a piece of jewellery is made this way, it becomes a high quality piece that lasts for many years. The durability of gold vermeil depends on the gold plating’s thickness and purity. The higher purity and thickness give the jewellery a longer life and makes it less likely to get damaged or scratched.
What’s the difference between gold vermeil, plated and filled?
When you’re looking to buy gold jewellery, there are many options for you to pick from, including solid gold, gold vermeil, gold plating and gold filled. But what are the differences?
Let’s start with gold vermeil. Like we said above, gold vermeil is a thick layer of gold plating that covers a sterling or fine silver base. It’s an affordable option when you’re looking for gold jewellery and ranges from 10ct up to 24ct. The next gold types are ranked in order from cheapest to the more expensive.
Gold plating is a thin layer of gold plating over a brass or copper base metal. In comparison to the other gold types, gold plating is the cheaper option and can tarnish more easily.
Gold filled is often confused with solid gold, however it’s a fraction of the cost and is made differently. Gold filled is a thick layer of gold bonded on to a base metal using a high amount of heat and pressure. This process makes the jewellery piece more durable and the most realistic appearance of gold. Like gold vermeil, it’s affordable and lasts for a long time – given you take care of it properly.
Solid gold is gold alloyed to a mixture of metals, like silver, copper and zinc. Solid gold jewellery isn’t 100% gold, mainly because pure gold is too soft to create jewellery. However, it’s the closest to pure gold in terms of the purity and colour. Solid gold jewellery is the most expensive, durable and valuable, plus it’s least likely to wear away and lose its colour.
While gold vermeil is high quality, it can become damaged. Sterling silver – which makes up the base of gold vermeil jewellery – is known to oxidise which causes the jewellery to tarnish. This doesn’t mean that your gold vermeil collection is destined to ruin – it just means you have to take care of your pieces.
If gold vermeil jewellery is exposed to water or perfume, it’s more likely to scratch or lose it’s colour. To prevent this, make sure you remove your jewellery when you swim or wash and avoid your jewellery when you spray perfume. Taking off your jewellery while you sleep is also helpful to avoid any damage – plus this means you can choose new jewellery combinations each morning when you wake up!
To ensure your jewellery will stay full of life, sparkle and colour, you need to regularly clean and maintain it in order to remove any marks and prevent any damage. There are many cleaning myths floating around about how to clean your jewellery, specifically to toothpaste or not to toothpaste? For gold vermeil jewellery, put the Colgate down and turn to dish soap. With soap and warm water, you can brighten up your jewellery and rid it of any scratches and dull marks. Do get in touch with Auree if you need a cleaning cloth for one of our pieces.
The benefits to buying and wearing gold vermeil
Investing in gold vermeil jewellery has many benefits and makes a beautiful addition to any jewellery collection. Firstly, gold vermeil is a cheaper, more affordable alternative to gold. Gold can be very expensive and its value increases year to year, making it even more pricey. Gold vermeil is affordable, high quality and not too far off pure solid gold. Gold vermeil has also become increasingly popular over the years mainly due to this reason.
Gold vermeil can last for many years. It won’t turn your fingers, ears or neck green and will keep for a long time without fading – granted you look after your jewellery (which we covered above).
Sustainability is also a great benefit to buying and wearing gold vermeil jewellery. The sterling silver base can be made from recycled or reusable metal before it’s covered by gold, making your pieces more environmentally friendly. The social and economic costs of gold mining is hugely damaging to the planet and isn’t ethical for the environment or the gold miners. Choosing a quality piece of gold vermeil jewellery avoids these unsustainable practices and creates less waste as you’re less likely to throw your beautiful pieces away.
Last but not least… it looks amazing! We all want our jewellery to look good and gold vermeil jewellery is beautiful and classic. Whether it’s in a simple chain necklace or jazzed up with some colourful gemstones, gold vermeil completes any look and is particularly popular today. Our gold vermeil jewellery collection is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re at a casual family event or on a glamorous night out. Take a look and find the next piece for your collection.