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What is Gold Vermeil?

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

You’ll no doubt have seen some of our product descriptions mention the words Gold Vermeil and wondered what it actually is. I’ve had quite a few emails and DM’s asking me to explain the different terms, so I thought I’d put it all together in a series of blog posts so I can share the knowledge and hopefully help you in the process!

So what is Gold Vermeil?

Pronounced “Ver-May”, Gold Vermeil is the happy medium between Gold Filled and Gold Plated. The main differences between Vermeil and Gold Filled is the bonding method and the thickness of the gold layer, so without spinning a yawnsome yarn about something or another, let’s just get right into it!

The process…

Vermeil is a layer of gold that has been electroplated to Sterling Silver. This is a chemical process where the base metal is dipped into a chemical solution called electrolyte. An electrical current is then passed through the chemical bath, which causes the atoms in the electrolyte to split. Some of the metal atoms it contains are then attracted to, and deposited onto the base metal, creating a new metal layer. The longer it is left in the electric chemical bath, the thicker the metal plating will be. I’ll do a whole in-depth post on electroplating in the near future, as it is such a cool process that deserves its own space!

A bit thick…

Generally the gold layer on vermeil isn’t as thick as Gold Filled, but is a hell of a lot thicker than gold plated. For reference, regular gold plating is around 0.25 microns, Gold Vermeil is about 2.5 microns and Gold Filled is anywhere between 5 and 100 microns thick.

There are also subtle differences in the shade of gold for each type of piece. Gold plated will be a brassier, more yellow colour due to the base metal being copper or brass and such a thin gold coating. Gold Vermeil will be a champagne gold shade, as the base metal is silver. Gold Filled will be a more traditional gold colour, as it’s a thicker layer and therefore more opaque.

The subtle gold shade differences. L-R: Gold Vermeil Hamsa, Gold Filled Etched Circle and Gold Vermeil Horn necklaces.

Don’t get ripped off!

If you’ve read the previous blog post in this series about Gold Filled, you’ll probably know by now that regular plated jewellery is ok for a quick fix, but is pretty much a waste of money as you won’t get the quality or longevity of Vermeil and Gold Filled… But you’ll often pay the same price for plated stuff 😒 This stresses me out – I hate people being ripped off! Don’t fall into the trap babes, I’m out here trying to help you avoid wasting your money on sub-par sparklies because you deserve better! 👑

The not-quite-so-downside…

Now we know Gold Vermeil is a better option than regular plated jewellery as it will last longer, but be warned that it will tarnish with long term continuous wear or scratching. As the gold flakes and fades, it will expose the base metal of sterling silver. Vermeil rings in particular fall victim to the lack of lustre that comes with wear, and you’ll eventually see your favourite shiny gold ring fading to a dull silver.

Not all hope is lost though! Because the base metal is silver, you can do some hard polishing of your former Vermeil piece and end up with a piece of Sterling Silver jewellery instead! Most reputable independent jewellery shops offer a polishing service. Alternatively, if you want the gold to be restored, you can ask your local jewellery shop to see if they can send it away to be re-plated.

The takeaway…

Gold Vermeil and Gold Filled are the ones you want to go for if you want value for money. These two are also best if you have metal allergies, as they are classed as hypo-allergenic due to their thick gold coating and the base metals used, so you're very unlikely to experience any skin reactions. Happy days!

So if you’re new to Gold Filled or Gold Vermeil jewellery, give it a try with 10% off your first order using code BINI10 at the checkout. You won’t be disappointed

Until next time...


Bini xx

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