General Jewellery Learning Metals

What is gold vermeil? 

What is gold vermeil? 

Gold vermeil is a term you may have encountered before if you know your stuff about jewellery – but do you know precisely what it means, and how it compares to gold plating? Read on, for our guide to gold vermeil. 

What makes gold vermeil different?

Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-MAY) is the process of applying a substantial layer of gold onto a base metal, typically sterling silver. This gives it a lustrous gold and highly durable finish – without being a solid gold piece. 

To qualify as vermeil, the gold layer on top of the base metal must be at least 2.5 microns thick, which significantly surpasses the thickness of standard gold plating. Additionally, gold vermeil must be on a base of 925 sterling silver, whereas gold plating can be plated onto any metal base. 

It effectively combines the durability of sterling silver with the sumptuous aesthetic of gold, rendering it a popular selection for fine jewellery. 

Gold plating vs. gold vermeil: 

Gold Plating: 

  • Features a thin layer of gold (less than 0.5 microns) 
  • It can wear down, wear off or tarnish over time 
  • Quite affordable, is used on cheaper jewellery 
  • Frequently used for fashion or costume jewellery 

Gold Vermeil: 

  • Has a thick gold layer (2.5 microns or more) 
  • The thickness ensures superior longevity and durability 
  • Provides a genuine ‘gold’ appearance and is very lustruous 
  • Suitable for crafting high-quality jewellery and fine jewellery pieces 

The benefits of using 18k gold for vermeil: 

18k gold is a favoured choice for vermeil due to its high gold content. It’s the perfect mix between having a very high quantity of gold, while also being ‘hard’ enough for daily wear (pure gold in itself, when not mixed with other elements, is too soft a material to be made into wearable jewellery). 

  • A rich, warm colour: 18k gold boasts a deeper, more vibrant ‘true gold’ hue than lower karat gold 
  • Enhanced value: The heightened gold content makes 18k gold vermeil more valuable and luxurious 
  • Hypoallergenic properties: 18k gold is less prone to causing skin irritation or allergic reactions 

How to care for gold vermeil: 

  • Steer clear of exposing vermeil jewellery to harsh chemicals, such as chlorine and cleaning agents (take it off before cleaning the bathroom!) 
  • Prior to swimming, showering, or partaking in vigorous activities such as sports, remove vermeil jewellery 
  • Gently cleanse with a soft, damp cloth to eliminate dirt and oils, followed by thorough drying 
  • When storing vermeil jewellery, employ a soft pouch or jewellery box to avert scratches and oxidation 

Looking for your perfect gold vermeil piece?

Check out our selection of gold vermeil pieces here, or take a look at our full selection of beautiful jewellery in all different metal tones, here.