If you're in the market for gold-tone jewelry, you probably have seen jewelry listed as "gold vermeil", "vermeil", "14k vermeil", "18k vermeil", etc.
A little perplexed? Here's a little more information on the fabulousness that is vermeil.
Is Vermeil Pure 24k Gold?
No, vermeil gold contains more gold than gold-plated pieces, but vermeil is still not solid gold a.k.a. pure 24k gold. Vermeil gold is sterling silver with a gold coating.
Is Gold Gilt & Vermeil the Same?
Gilding is a decorative technique for attaching a very thin coating of gold to solid surfaces such as metal (most common), wood, porcelain or stone. A gilded object is also described as "gilt".
FGold gilt classified as vermeil has to adhere by certain requirements. Not all gilded items meet these requirements:
1) The gold used is 10 karats pure or higher.
2) In addition, the thickness of the gold layer is at least 2.5 microns.
3) Further, the seller must disclose any other metals besides silver contained in the item's core.
What is Vermeil Jewelry?
Vermeil is a specific type of metal plated jewelry that must adhere by certain quality requirements. Vermeil's base metal is sterling silver or 92.5% silver content. The plating contains 2.5 microns of gold that is 10 karats pure or higher. Compared to other plated pieces, gold vermeil is a high-quality metal due to its thick gold coating and precious metal base.
What Does 10k Vermeil, 14k Vermeil, 18k Vermeil and 24k Vermeil Mean? Which is best?
Vermeil is a popular option among many jewelry afficianados. Dazzling vermeil jewelry is usually labeled with a mark such as 10k vermeil, 14k vermeil, 18k vermeil, 24k vermeil or another karat weight. This simply refers to how much pure gold content there is: 24k is 99.9% gold content, 18k is 75% gold content, 14k is 58.3% and 10k is 41.7%.
Higher karat weight is not always better; pure gold is very soft and intense in its yellow color, so mixing it with other materials strengthens the gold, increasing its attractiveness for use in jewelry pieces. Injecting pure gold with other metals also changes the hue of the gold so the yellow tone is not so overly saturated and harsh.
Is Vermeil Considered "Precious Jewelry" ?
Yes, the National Jewelers Association of America recognizes vermeil as a precious metal used in the production of precious jewelry.
How Long Does Vermeil Jewelry Last?
Vermeil is a much more resilient metal when compared to other gold plated options and can last for years. However, if worn continually (particularly rings) its glinty gold plate will need sprucing up after 6 months.
Does Vermeil Jewelry Tarnish?
Although gold vermeil will not tarnish like silver, it may become dirty and its luster may diminish slightly with wear. Like all other metals, vermeil will eventually need sprucing up via a replating process to restore the dull metal's attractiveness.
Is Gold Vermeil Waterproof?
Can you swim with vermeil jewelry? Can you wear gold vermeil in the shower? Can you wash your hands or wash dishes while wearing gold vermeil? As a general rule, it’s better to remove your jewelry before coming in contact with water whenever possible.
Water is detrimental to gold. Keep your gold as dry as possible to boost its life and longevity. Getting it wet once or twice probably won’t be catastrophic, but repeated exposure could start to fizzle out your jewelry's luster.
Can Vermeil be Replated?
Yes, upgrading the plating on vermeil pieces is as simple as any other metal plating process. As a general rule, the replating must adhere to vermeil’s standard thickness of 2.5 microns to be reclassified as vermeil.
Can Vermeil Rings be Resized?
Yes, vermeil rings are often sized up or down. Resizing a vermeil ring is a simple process for most metal smiths and relatively inexpensive.
Although, some dainty vermeil rings are worth the expensive of resizing and replating depending on the stone. Some jewelry afficianados opt to upgrade with a brand new, dainty vermeil ring instead unless the previous ring holds sentimental value to them.
Is Vermeil Jewelry Hypoallergenic?
As a base metal, gold vermeil uses fine silver or sterling silver. This indicates that gold vermeil is most likely a safe metal choice for super delicate skin.
That said, sometimes the base metal can contain an alloy or filler metals. If you have super sensitive skin then It’s always prudent to consult with a jeweler to affirm that the gold vermeil you’re buying does not contain any base or mixed metals that can cause an allergic reaction.
Generally speaking, gold vermeil is hypoallergenic. However, it is safest to ask questions before buying.
How to Clean Vermeil Jewelry?
To prevent tarnishing, wipe gold vermeil jewelry after each use. The buildup of body oils, cosmetics and smudges can cause jewelry's luster to fizzle out. Avoid wiping gold vermeil items with gritty fabrics that may scratch the surface of the jewelry or harsh chemicals that can strip the gold coating. Only use a soft cotton cloth or microfiber fabric to gently wipe down the pieces with warm soapy water.
How to Care for Vermeil Jewelry?
With careful care and upkeep, glinty vermeil jewelry can keep shining throughout the years. Here are our top suggestions for cleaning and preserving the fabulousness of your vermeil jewelry.
When you aren’t wearing your vermeil jewelry, store it in a lined box or an airtight poly bag that is then placed in soft cloth pouch far away from smoke and dust. An airtight box is best as it can reduce the oxidation of the silver base.