What is Gold Vermeil?

Everything You Need to Know

Anyone with even a casual interest in fashion and jewelry may be aware that gold vermeil jewelry has become increasingly popular in recent years. This has caused many to assume that gold vermeil is a “new” material.

That’s not actually so. Gold vermeil has existed for centuries. Regardless, it’s become more commonplace recently for several reasons.

Cost is one factor influencing gold vermeil’s rise in popularity. Although gold vermeil can be relatively valuable, a piece of gold vermeil jewelry isn’t the same as a piece of solid gold jewelry. It does, however, look remarkably similar. Many have thus chosen to save money by opting for gold vermeil instead of solid gold.

Gold Vermeil Demand Increase Gold Vermeil Demand Increase (source - Google Trends)

You might have some questions about this subject. Does gold vermeil wear off or tarnish? Is gold vermeil worth my money? This guide will cover the basics, helping you better understand what gold vermeil is and why you might choose to purchase it.

What Does Gold Vermeil Mean?

It’s important to understand that the term “vermeil” is legally regulated. To qualify as vermeil, a piece of jewelry must meet certain criteria. Specifically, its base must consist of sterling silver, it must be plated in gold of at least 10 karats, and its gold plating must have a thickness of at least 2.5 microns.

The FTC actually legally prohibits jewelry sellers from marketing an item as gold vermeil if it doesn’t meet these requirements.

That highlights an important point. The FTC establishes the criteria for a piece of jewelry to qualify as gold vermeil in the United States. Sometimes the criteria may be different in other countries. For example, in Canada, a piece of jewelry’s plating only needs to be 1.0 microns thick to be marketed as vermeil. If this factor is important to you, and you’re buying a piece of jewelry outside the US, you should specifically ask about the plating’s thickness before making a purchase.

You should also research a seller’s background and reputation if you’re not entirely sure you can trust them. Some basic research can help you avoid being scammed. Unfortunately, although it’s illegal to market a piece of jewelry as being gold vermeil in the US when it actually only qualifies as gold vermeil in Canada or another market, this sometimes happens.

Does Gold Vermeil Tarnish?

The thickness of gold vermeil plating is important primarily because the thicker the plating, the longer gold vermeil will retain its original appearance. A piece of genuine gold vermeil jewelry can continue looking as brilliant as it did when you first purchased it for years.

Just be aware that gold vermeil can tarnish over time due to the effects of oxidation on its sterling silver base. Luckily, if you clean and maintain a piece of gold vermeil jewelry regularly, those signs of age can typically be removed.

If you want your gold vermeil jewelry to last as long as possible, consider buying 14k gold vermeil to 18k gold vermeil jewelry. The higher the purity of gold, the softer it is, allowing it to be scratched and damaged more easily. Buying gold vermeil jewelry in the 14k to 18k range is the ideal way to strike a balance between purchasing something that looks beautiful and possesses genuine value without sacrificing quality.

Is Gold Vermeil the same as Gold-Plated Jewelry?

Gold Vermeil Necklace Gold Vermeil Necklace

Jewelry that qualifies as gold-plated may not meet the criteria to be referred to as gold vermeil. Gold-plated jewelry’s plating only needs to be 0.5 microns thick. Its base also doesn’t need to be sterling silver. As such, gold vermeil jewelry tends to be more valuable than simple gold-plated jewelry.

Keep this in mind when making a purchase. It’s worth remembering that a piece of jewelry can be an investment. While you could save money now by choosing gold-plated jewelry instead of gold vermeil, gold vermeil will likely be more valuable in the future should you ever choose to sell it.

You should also consider the possibility that gold-plated jewelry’s base can be a material like brass, copper, or nickel. Some people have allergic reactions when their skin comes into contact with these materials. If you’re such a person, protect yourself by avoiding gold-plated jewelry. Gold vermeil is the superior choice for you in the long run.

Is Gold Vermeil Worth My Money?

You always need to consider your budget when buying a piece of jewelry. You want to purchase a quality item, but you also don’t want to spend more than you can honestly afford.

That said, if you’re interested in buying gold jewelry, but you can’t justify purchasing something as expensive as 10k-18k gold, gold vermeil is definitely an option worth considering. Most experts would consider it to be among the best substitutes for solid gold jewelry. You can also expect it to stay in good condition for a relatively long time with basic care.

Gold-filled jewelry is another option to keep in mind, although it may be more expensive. This is because the process of creating gold vermeil involves using electroplating to bond the gold with the sterling silver beneath it. Gold-filled jewelry, on the other hand, is created by bonding the metals with heat, and the gold layer atop the base is fairly thick.

The base of gold-filled jewelry doesn’t have to be as high-quality as sterling silver. However, the way it’s created results in a lower chance of the jewelry tarnishing over time. Additionally, the thickness of the gold coating over the base limits the chances that someone wearing the jewelry will be directly exposed to the base material, making it somewhat safer to wear when compared to gold-plated jewelry if you’re allergic to certain materials.

Just remember that one of your main goals when buying any piece of jewelry is to be certain you’re working with a reputable seller. Once more, legitimate laws and regulations apply to gold vermeil. When you buy from a seller with a positive reputation, you can be confident you’re buying authentic vermeil, rather than gold-plated jewelry being passed off as vermeil.