Gold Vermeil

Gold Vermeil: 13 Tips To Understanding Gold and Vermeil Jewellery

Jewellery is a timeless form of expression, and the materials used significantly contribute to its value and allure. Two such materials are gold and vermeil, each holding a unique place in the world of jewellery.

Understanding the difference between this gold vermeil jewelry is key to making informed decisions when buying or maintaining your pieces.

Gold Vermeil: An Overview

Gold vermeil refers to sterling silver that has been coated with a thick layer of gold. Vermeil pieces are an excellent alternative to solid gold, offering similar aesthetic appeal at a more affordable price.

The process involves plating a sterling silver base with gold using electrolysis, with the gold layer being at least 2.5 microns thick.

Gold vermeil jewellery has become popular due to its affordability, durability, and hypoallergenic properties.

It’s important to note, however, that vermeil’s longevity relies heavily on the thickness of the gold and the proper care taken.

Understanding Gold Plated Jewellery

Gold plated jewellery, similar to gold vermeil, involves a base metal being covered by a thin layer of gold.

However, the metal used can be less valuable, like brass or copper, and the gold layer is usually less than 0.5 microns thick.

Gold VermeilGold Plated
Sterling silver baseBase metal can be brass or copper
Layer of gold is at least 2.5 microns thickGold layer is typically less than 0.5 microns thick
More durableLess durable
More expensiveMore affordable

The gold plated and gold vermeil processes are similar, but the differences in base material and gold layer thickness significantly impact the finished jewellery piece‘s durability and value.

Gold Filled vs Gold Plated Jewellery

On the other hand, gold filled jewellery involves a base material bonded with a thick layer of gold. It’s more durable than gold plated pieces and doesn’t tarnish easily.

But, the process of creating gold filled jewellery is more complex, making it more expensive than gold plated pieces.

Gold FilledGold Plated
DurableLess durable
Does not tarnish easilyCan tarnish with time
More expensiveLess expensive

18k Gold and 14k Gold in Jewellery

18k gold and 14k gold are two popular choices in jewellery. 18k gold contains 75% pure gold and 25% alloyed metals, while 14k gold contains 58.3% pure gold.

These gold types offer different levels of purity, durability, and price.

18k Gold14k Gold
75% pure gold58.3% pure gold
More expensiveMore affordable
Softer, less durableHarder, more durable

When it comes to gold vermeil jewellery, you’ll often see 18k gold vermeil pieces, which means the thick gold layer is made of 18k gold.

The Tarnish Factor: Vermeil and Gold

Tarnish is a natural process that occurs when metal reacts with elements in the air or skin. Vermeil tarnish can occur, but it’s less common because of the thick gold layer.

However, with time and without proper care, tarnish can appear, reducing the shine and appeal of the piece.

Gold plated jewellery tends to tarnish easily due to the thin gold layer. This is why such pieces are often considered for one-time wear or costume jewellery.

Rose Gold: A Different Shade of Gold

Rose gold is a blend of gold and copper, resulting in a pinkish hue. This unique color adds a romantic touch to jewellery pieces and is a fashionable alternative to traditional yellow or white gold.

Rose gold vermeil pieces carry the same properties as other gold vermeil jewellery, providing a durable, hypoallergenic, and less expensive option.

The Role of Real Gold in Jewellery

Real gold, or solid gold, is the highest quality of gold you can get. It’s important to note that “real” gold can still have alloys mixed in.

Pure gold, or 24k gold, is too soft for everyday wear, so it’s mixed with other metals to improve its strength.

Solid gold jewellery is the most expensive, but it’s also the most durable. Unlike gold plated and gold filled pieces, solid gold won’t rub off or change color over time.

Vermeil Jewelry: Pros and Cons

Vermeil jewelry has become a popular choice because it offers the look of gold at a more affordable price. It’s hypoallergenic, making it a great option for those with metal sensitivities.

However, it requires more care to prevent tarnish and is not as durable as solid gold.

Pros of VermeilCons of Vermeil
AffordableRequires more care
HypoallergenicNot as durable as solid gold
Gold lookMay tarnish over time

Hypoallergenic Properties of Jewellery

Hypoallergenic jewellery is designed to cause fewer allergic reactions. Most gold vermeil and gold filled pieces are hypoallergenic, as they use precious metals like gold and silver, which are less likely to cause reactions.

However, it’s crucial to check the base metal used, as some, like nickel, can cause allergic reactions.

Gold vermeil jewellery with a sterling silver base is typically the best choice for those with sensitivities.

Vermeil vs Other Types of Gold Jewellery

When comparing vermeil vs gold plated and gold filled jewellery, the differences lie in the gold layer’s thickness, the base metal used, and the overall durability and cost.

VermeilGold PlatedGold Filled
Thick gold layerThin gold layerThick gold layer
Sterling silver baseAny base metalAny base metal
Durable, hypoallergenicLess durable, may tarnishDurable, hypoallergenic
Mid-range costLess expensiveMore expensive

Understanding the difference between gold types can help you make the best choice for your needs and budget. If you’re looking for affordable pieces for occasional wear, gold plated might be your best bet.

For everyday wear, gold vermeil or gold filled pieces offer durability and hypoallergenic properties. And if cost is not an issue, solid gold jewellery is the most durable and valuable.

How to Shop Gold Vermeil

When you shop gold vermeil, it’s important to consider the thickness of the gold, the base material, and the seller’s reputation. Look for pieces with a gold layer of at least 2.5 microns and a sterling silver base for the best quality.

Additionally, check for any allergic reaction potentials, such as nickel, if you have sensitivities.

How to Care for Your Vermeil and Gold Plated Jewelry

Proper care for your gold and vermeil pieces can significantly extend their lifespan. It’s best to avoid harsh chemicals, lotion, and perfume, which can tarnish the gold layer.

Polishing your pieces with a soft cloth can also help maintain their shine. For storage, use a pouch or a separate compartment in your jewelry box to prevent scratches.


Gold and vermeil jewellery offer a range of options to suit various tastes and budgets. Whether you’re choosing between vermeil vs gold plated, or contemplating gold filled jewelry, understanding the differences can help you make informed decisions.

Regardless of the type you choose, remember that each piece requires proper care to maintain its beauty.

By appreciating the craftsmanship involved in creating these pieces, we can truly value the art of jewellery making and enjoy our pieces for years to come.

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