GOLD VERMEIL JEWELLERY
What exactly is gold vermeil and how do you pronounce it?
Well, firstly it is pronounced ver-‘may’, not ver-‘meal’ and in essence it is a layer of gold over a sterling silver base. It has been around since the 19th century and has become very popular amongst modern jewellers as it makes gold jewellery more affordable.
What’s the difference between Gold Vermeil & Gold plating?
Gold plating is the process of fusing gold to another metal. So, in that sense, gold vermeil is a form of plating. However, a piece described as ‘gold plated’ tends to be a much thinner layer of gold on top of brass, nickel, copper or pewter. In order for a piece to be considered ‘gold vermeil’, it needs to meet certain criteria:
the base metal must be sterling silver
the gold layer must be 14ct or higher in purity
the thickness of the gold layer must be 2.5 microns (gold plated items can be less than 0.5 microns thick).
For this reason, gold vermeil pieces are more valuable than gold plated – because their base metal is sterling silver and the layer of gold is much thicker, therefore, the gold surface should last longer.
How long should I expect my gold vermeil piece to last and what happens when the colour fades?
It’s difficult to give an exact timeframe as it very much depends how you take care of your jewellery. If you follow the instructions below, we would hope it would last 12 months. I still have pieces that we made 2 years ago that are still a lovely gold colour.
What can I do to help keep my gold vermeil jewellery from fading?
Much of the advice is the same as we gave in our earlier post about preventing silver from tarnishing:
Try not to leave your jewellery lying around…
We recommend you always keep your jewellery covered either in a closed box.
Don’t leave your gold vermeil jewellery in the bathroom as the steam from the shower creates moisture which does not react well with the silver base metal.
Avoid those chemicals…
Make sure you take your jewellery off before you have a shower or bath and take your rings off before you wash your hands. Make sure your moisturiser and perfume has had time to dry before putting your jewellery on.