Gold vermeil (or simply vermeil or silver-gilt) is among the popular jewelry items in the market. And this is the case for many apparent reasons. For one thing, they’re economical but bear the same lustrous appeal as pure gold. You may not even tell the difference when you put them side by side unless the cost of the items was relayed to you right off the bat. If you’re new to gold vermeil, you may have some concerns about its quality and value since it is only gold coated. What is vermeil? Is it the same as gold plated? How long does gold vermeil last? Does gold vermeil tarnish? In today’s topic, we will ponder upon these questions and help you decide whether you should buy one and invest in them or not. So without further delays, let’s begin…
- What is Gold Vermeil?
- Difference between Gold Plated Jewelry (Gold Vermeil vs. Gold Plated vs. Gold Filled)
- Does Gold Vermeil Tarnish?
- How to Keep Gold Vermeil from Tarnishing?
- Should I Buy Vermeil?
- Will Gold Vermeil Turn Your Finger Green?
- Can You Wear Gold Vermeil in the Shower?
What is Gold Vermeil?
The gold vermeil meaning refers to silver jewelry or accessories that are coated with thick layers of gold. And because they’re essentially gold plated, such jewelry pieces are less expensive than solid gold. This may be the case—it still emits a luxurious vibe, and they’re an excellent choice for individuals who are budget-conscious. The main gold vermeil process undergoes electroplating, which can be conducted in two separate methods—
- Flash plating: this is the most common coating process, which involves dipping the accessory into the electroplating solution
- Micron plating: the process involves carefully measuring the thickness of the plating before application
The aforementioned process is more desirable than flash plating since each country has its specific standards for an accessory to be considered as vermeil. For example, the industrial standard in the United States is at least 14K. In comparison, other regions have a general standard of 10K, 18K vermeil, or higher, depending on the thickness of the silver jewelry. Again, what makes vermeil unique from the rest of the prominent jewelry pieces is the thickness of the gold coating. The required density of the plating must be 2.5 microns.
Difference between Gold Plated Jewelry (Gold Vermeil vs. Gold Plated vs. Gold Filled)
A common question about gold vermeil is if it’s the same as gold plated accessories. Well, it is a valid concern since the process is somewhat similar. However, they’re different in regards to the coating applied to each of the jewelry and metal bases used. Also, vermeil tends to last longer and more durable, and highly resistant to depreciation. I will explain this more in detail in the next section, but for now, let’s explore gold vermeil vs. gold plated a little more. I’ll also add gold-filled into the discussion for a better understanding of their differences and specific advantages.
Gold Vermeil vs. Gold Plated
Aside from the density of the gold coating, an apparent difference between these two accessories is their base metal. As mentioned, gold vermeil’s core is silver, while gold-plated jewelry is made from various subpar metals like brass or copper. As a result, gold plated tends to tarnish or wear off easily once exposed to harsh elements. On the other hand, gold vermeil is highly durable that could last for many generations if proper care and handle were observed. It may also depend on the level of purity and layer of coating, which I’ll discuss later.
Gold Vermeil vs. Gold Filled
Unlike gold plates and gold vermeil, gold-filled items aren’t processed through electroplating. Rather, such jewelry pieces are manufactured through bonding under intense heat. Also, its gold plating is a lot denser, which is about two or three layers thicker. As a result, they’re extremely durable and able to protect the base metal from discoloration and depreciation. With this being said—gold filled is of higher quality compared to gold vermeil and gold plated.
Does Gold Vermeil Tarnish?
Like most jewelry aficionados, a prominent question that many enthusiasts ask is the quality of the jewelry piece. As less expensive as vermeil is compared to pure gold, a concern remains—does gold vermeil wear off? Does vermeil tarnish easily? Well, as pointed out earlier, there are variances in the gold coating of gold vermeil items. And the durability of the items is dictated by the density of the plating. As a rule of thumb, the denser the gold coating is, the more durable the jewelry piece is.
In addition, you may also want to consider the purity of the gold coating when buying gold vermeil. And the reason for this is that its durability is also dependent on such elements. You also have to bear in mind that high levels of purity don’t always indicate better features. For example, 20k to 24k gold offers higher value, but they’re more prone to scratches and wear and tear. 10K gold has better characteristics, but it doesn’t have the lustrous shine of high purity metals. If you’re looking for the best quality and features, choose items between the purity of 14k to 18k. They have a luxurious aesthetic and durability that could last for generations.
How to Keep Gold Vermeil from Tarnishing?
In dealing with gold vermeil tarnish, you have to exercise patience because some areas would darken. However, the good news is that you can restore its original shine by removing the tarnished area. Through proper care and maintenance, you can easily prevent further tarnishing of the jewelry piece and keep them for many years to come. Below are some of the best tips in maintaining your gold vermeil—
The first consideration you have to take note of is the storage area of your jewelry. The area must be dry and free from moisture. Frequent exposure to moisture may progressively depreciate the items. You can also put them in a Ziploc bag to reinforce their protection from wear and tear.
Clean the jewelry items carefully and never press the cloth too hard while polishing them or put cleaning agents excessively because the chemicals may react negatively to the gold coating.
In addition, avoid using detergents and brushes. Instead, use mild soaps and lukewarm water.
Keep the items dry
As much as possible, never wear them in humid environments. As mentioned earlier, the items could tarnish faster if exposed to frequent moisture.
Should I Buy Vermeil?
Availing gold vermeil has many advantages, and the most apparent benefit is its price. The jewelry item is very affordable yet has the lustrous aesthetics of gold. Also, you can’t tell the difference at first sight and when you put the two metal accessories side-by-side. Also, due to the chemical structure of its silver base, it allows the jewelry to hold the gold coating in place. Lastly, it is hypoallergenic, which makes them suitable for all skin types.
But one may ask—since it’s only gold coated, is it a good investment? Is gold vermeil pawnable? Yes, good vermeil is still a good addition to your collection. And you have to remember that both silver and gold are pawnable. Although gold vermeil is coated, its core metal is silver which is accepted in any pawnshop.
Will Gold Vermeil Turn Your Finger Green?
The gold vermeil chain could turn green and darken if the owner failed to practice proper care and maintenance of the jewelry. It may also leave a green residue on your skin over time. However, the residual compounds aren’t harmful and don’t pose any serious threat to health.
Can You Wear Gold Vermeil in the Shower?
No. It’s highly advisable to remove them if you’re about to take a shower or any activities that would require you to deal with water or moisture like swimming, dishwashing, hand washing, or physical exercise. As repeatedly emphasized, frequent exposure to humidity may corrode the items fast.
As described, vermeil is a silver accessory plated with gold, and they’re an excellent choice of jewelry for budget-conscious individuals. This may be the case—it has the same luxurious appeal as items that are made from pure gold. In addition, you have to put in extra effort in caring for and maintaining them if you decide to own one. This is because it could tarnish fast if exposed to environments with high levels of humidity. Due to its overall value and solid features, I believe that gold vermeil would be a good addition to your collection.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gold Vermeil
Below are some of the common questions about gold vermeil:
If you can’t afford to avail pure gold, then the next best option is to buy gold vermeil. Although they’re less valuable compared to pure gold, they’re still a good investment nonetheless because of their silver metal base.
You can easily remove spots when you accidentally stain your vermeil. Also, the resistance of vermeil to scratches may depend on the purity of the jewelry. 20k of gold coating tends to be more prone to scratches than those 14k to 18k of gold.
The most practical way to preserve the qualities of gold vermeil is to keep it dry.