What is Gold Vermeil?
In short, gold vermeil is a thick layer of gold over a solid sterling silver base.
In the US, jewelry has to meet certain regulations to be considered vermeil. Items need to meet the required gold thickness of at least 2.5 microns, it must be 10k or higher, and it must be over sterling silver.
Vermeil is considered demi-fine jewelry because of the precious materials. It is a great option for an affordable gold piece to add to your collection.
What’s the Difference Between Vermeil, Gold-plated and Gold-filled?
Vermeil, gold-plated and gold-filled are all pieces that have a layer of gold in common which makes them easy to confuse.
Unlike vermeil, gold-plated jewelry has a thin layer of gold over a base metal. There are no regulations for gold-plated jewelry, no gold thickness requirements and the base metal is usually a lower-end metal such as brass or copper. The layer of gold on plated pieces are generally very thin and may not last very long. It’s not abnormal for a gold-plated piece to wear through the gold layer in the first few wears.
Gold-filled jewelry has a base metal core (similar to gold-plated) but has a much thicker layer of gold over top. The gold content must be at least 5% of the total weight of the piece. This thick layer of gold makes for great durability and good for wear and tear. The gold is adhered through bonding with heat rather than electroplating.
How do you take care of a vermeil piece?
If taken care of properly, vermeil can last years. It is worth noting with normal wear and tear, the gold layer may wear down or scratch and a vermeil piece may eventually need to be re-plated.
- Properly storing your vermeil piece is a great start to keeping it looking great for as long as possible. Storage such as a jewelry box, zip lock bag or the box it came in are great options to protect the jewelry when you are not wearing it. It’s recommended to store the piece separate from other pieces to protect it from scratches and contact wear.
- It’s recommended to to remove your vermeil jewelry before bathing and swimming to avoid contact with toiletries, chlorine, and salt water. These activities can also wear the gold layer away faster and make the jewelry susceptible to tarnishing.
- Avoid jewelry contact with any chemicals and cleaning supplies.
- Take off your jewelry before applying cosmetics such as perfumes, lotions, and hairsprays as the chemicals in these can have a negative effect on the piece.
- Do not wear your vermeil pieces to bed to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
How do I clean my vermeil piece?
It's normal for vermeil to get some spots of tarnish over time. Because it is gold over sterling silver, some of the alloys in the sterling silver may cause spots of discoloration. This is very normal with vermeil pieces and doesn't necessarily mean your piece needs to be re-plated.
- To clean tarnish from your vermeil piece, you can use a gentle polishing cloth (make sure it's a cloth free of chemicals). You can target the tarnished spot with this cloth and remove it from the gold's surface.
- For an occasional deeper clean, you can use mild dish soap, warm water and a soft bristled brush to clean the hard to reach grooves of the piece. Pat the piece with a soft cloth and make sure it’s fully dry before putting away.
- Do not use any other cleaning solutions on vermeil as it may cause it to tarnish more.