What is Gold Vermeil?

23/12/2016 1106 0 0


What is Gold Vermeil?

We use a lot of gold vermeil in our jewellery collections as it allows up to provide precious gemstone earrings, necklaces and bracelets with a quality finish at affordable prices. But what is gold vermeil? 

Above : Gold vermeil and aquamarine Necklace
from Modern Vintage Style gemstone necklaces collection

Vermeil is an alternative for the common term silver-gilt, or silver plated with gold. Vermeil pieces have the apperance of  gold but are cheaper and lighter than solid gold. To date vemeil has generally been  used as a luxury material for table ware, jewellery, and grand decorative pieces. The White House has a fabulous  collection of vermeil tableware on display in the "Vermeil Room".

The word "Vermeil" (pronounced ver-may) is a French term which came into use in the English language, in the 19th century. In terms of jewellery "vermeil" jewellery  is a combination of sterling silver plated with  gold. To qualify the gold portion should be about ten karats, however, different karats such as 14, 18, or 24 karat gold can be used depending on the desired finish for the jewellery piece. It is a popular finish as it has the apperance of  pure gold but is not as expensive . The vermeil finish can be shined up to give a gloss finish, or left to tarnish to give a more vintage look.

Vermeil can be produced by either  electrolysis or fire gilding The original process of fire-gilding  was created in France in the mid-18th century; however, later on France banned the production of vermeil because  of cases of blindness in the artisans caused by the mercury involved in the process. Today, vermeil is produced in a safe manner by electrolysis.

What is the Difference between Gold Plated , Gold Filled, and Gold Vermeil Jewellery?

Gold Plated 

Gold plated jewellery invovles jewellery that has a base metal such as brass or copper, which is then dipped in gold to form a thin layer of gold.. As the coating is not thick it can generally wear off over time. In addition people who are allergic to the base metal below can experience a skin reaction, such as a rash if they are allergic to the base metal below.  

Gold Filled

Gold-filled is a better quality finish than gold-plated however the base metal is still copper or brass. Gold filled jewellery has the base metal bonded to sheets of gold that are usuallly 14 karat.The gold finish sheets will not peel off and are know to offer a less expensive option than solid 14 karat gold.

Gold Vermeil

With vermeil jewelry, the base metal used must be sterling silver,. This is much better for those people who have skin allergies as opposed to  other base metals. The sterling silver is then gold-plated, however with a thicker coating. This coating is often as much as 50% thicker than a standard gold-plated piece. This jewellery is  less expensive than solid gold jewellery, howver  using this production technique to make gold vermeil is still more expensive than either gold-filled or gold- plated jewellery, as the price of sterling silver  and gold brings the cost up a little.

Caring for Vermeil Jewellery

It is quite usual for gold vermeil jewellery to become a slightly duller with time. Part of the attraction is the “silver gilt” look.To care for vermeil jewellery  use a soft silver polish cloth and the correct polish. It should polish up nicely. Abrasive  creams or a bath should not be used as this could damage the vermeil surface.