If you have been shopping for gold jewelery recently, you may have noticed some gold pieces being advertised as vermeil. If you love gold jewelry as much as we do, there is no doubt that these pieces have caught your eye.
However, you may be wondering what exactly is gold vermeil? If you are looking to learn more about what it is, you are definitely in the right place! Let’s discuss everything that you need to know about gold vermeil.
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What is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil is a category of gold jewelry, just like solid gold, gold plated, or gold filled jewelry. Jewelry that has gold vermeil is similar to gold plated jewelry, but the difference is the gold used in gold vermeil is thicker than gold plate.
The layer of gold on gold plated jewelry can be as thin as 0.5 microns, which for context is around the size of staphylococcus bacteria, while gold vermeil is at least 2.5 microns thick. Since the gold vermeil is considerably thicker than gold plate, it is much more durable and is much more resistant to tarnishing.
Another huge difference between gold vermeil and gold plated jewelry is what base metal the gold is layered on top of. Usually, cheaper metals such as brass or copper are used as the base metal for most gold-plated jewelry. This means that when the thin layer of gold rubs off, the cheaper metals can cause allergic reactions when exposed to the skin.
However, with gold vermeil jewelry the base metal used is typically sterling silver, which means that gold vermeil is made entirely of precious metals. Sterling silver is also hypoallergenic, so even if the gold wears off, it will not cause an allergic reaction. Also, since the gold layer is much thicker on gold vermeil, the chances of it rubbing off are much lower than it is with gold plated jewelry.
Much like gold plated jewelry, gold vermeil is made using electroplating, which is a technique that binds metals together. Electroplating uses an electric current to cause a chemical reaction that binds a thin and uniform coating of a metal onto another metal. The thickness of the gold on the surface can be adjusted by changing the intensity of the electric current that is applied.
What to Look For When Shopping for Gold Vermeil
When you are shopping for gold vermeil, there are a few key things that you will want to look out for. In order for jewelry to be considered gold vermeil, there are a few criteria that it must meet. The gold layering must be at least 2.5 microns thick and must be made of 10 karat gold or higher and the base metal must be made of sterling silver or better.
Thickness of the Gold Layer
One of the first questions you should ask the jeweler when inspecting gold vermeil is how thick the gold layer is. The thickness of gold vermeil will determine how durable it is and can greatly affect the price since the gold is usually the most expensive component of gold vermeil.
Another reason to ask about the thickness of the gold is that in countries outside of the United States, gold vermeil can be thinner than 2.5 microns. In Canada, 1 microns of gold layer can be called gold vermeil. Make sure you ask so you know exactly what you are paying for.
Purity of the Gold
Before you decide on purchasing, make sure you inquire about the karat weight of the gold used. The karat weight of the gold used to layer the gold vermeil must be at least 10k gold, which is gold that is made of 41.7% solid gold, and can go up to 24k gold, which is pure gold that does not contain any other metals or alloys.
Make sure that you also inspect the gold vermeil jewelry carefully for any flaws. With the jeweler’s permission, hold the jewelry in your hand and run your fingers along the metal while you inspect it visually. If you feel any scratches, chips, or other damage, you may want to pass on that particular item.
Make sure to check the clasp or any other moving parts to check if they are in good condition. These should open easily and be able to close securely without any issue.
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Taking Care of Gold Vermeil Jewelry
Gold vermeil jewelry can last for years if given the proper love and care. It is important to make sure you clean your gold vermeil jewelry on a regular basis. Sweat, oil, and dirt can build up on your jewelry and slowly erode the gold layer away. Prevent this from happening by using a soft cloth and warm, soapy water to gently and carefully clean it.
Remove your gold vermeil jewelry before you jump into a pool or hot tub. The water and chlorine that is used to maintain the water can be extremely damaging to your jewelry over time so make sure to store them in a safe place before you jump in for a few laps in the pool.Store your gold vermeil jewelry properly to avoid scratching or tarnishing it. Keep it locked away in a jewelry box and make sure it stays in a cool and dark place.