Gold jewelry has become more popular and widespread in recent years. The market is saturated with so many options that it can be hard to figure out what’s worth purchasing. Well, we’re here with your full guide to gold vermeil. We’re laying out all the pros and cons for you below. There’s so much information out there about different types of gold jewelry and we’re here to make it crystal clear. 

What does vermeil mean?

It’s actually pretty straight forward! Gold vermeil’s meaning is very specific. Vermeil jewelry has a legal definition in the United States. It is any piece of jewelry that consists of a Sterling Silver base layer with solid gold electroplated on top. Any piece of jewelry marked as gold vermeil must meet these requirements below:

  1. Sterling silver must be the base material. Sterling silver is a metal alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals. What is Sterling Silver? This is a standard material and precious metal you may see this represented on jewelry as the stamp 925.
  2. The gold plated layer must be at least 10k gold but can be anything from 14k to 24k gold.
  3. Be plated in gold at least 2.5 microns thick. (micron = 1/1000th of a millimeter)

What is gold vermeil?

Gold vermeil is a type of gold jewelry made to last. The base metal is Sterling SIlver which means your piece is made from precious metals only. A thick layer of gold is then electroplated over the base metal. While it may sound similar to gold plated jewelry, gold vermeil jewelry has a much thicker layer of gold. This means it is less likely to fade, tarnish, or wear off like cheap gold plated jewelry. What’s vermeil really though? Well, quite simply, it’s the process used to make gold vermeil jewelry.

How to pronounce vermeil?

We know the pronunciation can be a little bit confusing. However, the truth is that the word vermeil has multiple pronunciations. It’s best to show instead of tell. We prefer the French pronunciation of vehr-may but there are a few ways to pronounce it! There are a couple ways that are considered correct.

Will vermeil tarnish?

Usually, no. With typical use and wear, gold vermeil is the highest quality, and longest lasting option aside from solid gold. While gold vermeil can tarnish because the base layer is Sterling silver and gold tarnishes over time so it can easily be polished away. Typically, gold vermeil will not tarnish much because it has such a thick layer of gold over it. It is the best option for those who don’t want to spend big money on solid gold. 

Is vermeil real Gold?

Yes! Vermeil is real gold (at least 10 karat gold) electroplated over a base layer of Sterling Silver. Real or solid gold can be 10k, 14k, 18k, or 24k gold but the karats typically used for jewelry are 10k, 14k, or 18k gold. Gold vermeil jewelry is most often made with 18k gold vermeil or 14k gold vermeil.

Is vermeil waterproof? Can vermeil get wet? Can I shower with vermeil?

In short, no. No metal is truly “waterproof” as the minerals and deposits in regular tap water can dull or damage your jewelry over time. While showering with vermeil is typically okay to do it can hasten the degradation of your jewelry. It’s best to refrain from showering with your vermeil jewelry daily because the soaps, shampoos, and conditioners you use can react with the metals. 

However, occasionally showering with your piece won’t ruin it forever. Just don’t wear your jewelry in the pool, hot tub, or ocean because it can permanently alter and damage your precious pieces.

Is vermeil hypoallergenic?

Yes, gold vermeil is hypoallergenic! One of the great features of vermeil jewelry is that it's hypoallergenic. As it is made up of only precious metals most people will have no reaction or issues with this type of jewelry.

Is vermeil gold good quality?

Gold vermeil is the highest quality jewelry you can buy that isn’t solid gold. It is an excellent affordable option for gold jewelry. In the rankings of demi-fine jewelry gold vermeil certainly ranks as the highest quality affordable option. 

Is vermeil better than plated?

Vermeil jewelry is definitely a better option than plated. Plated jewelry has no industry standard for how thick the gold is which means you could be getting an item that’s been flash plated and will wear off quickly. With gold vermeil jewelry you know you are getting a high quality item. 

Is vermeil the same as gold plated?

Gold vermeil undergoes a similar process to gold plated jewelry. However, they are not exactly the same. So what is gold plated? While gold vermeil has a legal definition under US law gold plated jewelry can be any type of jewelry that is plated in gold. Gold vermeil typically lasts longer and is less likely to fade or tarnish. Gold plated jewelry has no industry standard for thickness and therefore different companies can provide a wide range of quality. 

Can vermeil be resized?

Gold vermeil rings can easily be resized by a jeweler. However, after resizing the appearance may change and you may need to have the item replated with gold. Many jewelers are able to do this and it is a relatively simple process. 

What's the difference between gold vermeil, gold plated, solid gold, and gold filled?

Does gold tarnish? Does gold vermeil tarnish? Does gold vermeil turn green?

Yes, over time all gold pieces will begin to tarnish. Fortunately, tarnishing does not mean it's damaged or ruined! Tarnishing is a natural process that happens when metal alloys in gold pieces react with oxygen. The tarnishing can easily be polished off or shined away with a polishing cloth. A professional jeweler can also deep clean your gold jewelry safely. 

Gold vermeil does not turn your finger green. The green hue that cheap jewelry can leave on your finger is usually from an abundance of copper in a metal alloy. This means that many metals which are mixed with copper can create this hue. Gold vermeil jewelry does not typically create this reaction because solid gold does not cause a green hue. 

Gold vermeil vs solid gold

So is vermeil real gold? Simply put, yes. Vermeil is a method of creating high quality affordable gold jewelry. It refers to the process of electroplating solid gold over a base layer of Sterling Silver. Compared to solid gold it is the next best choice for high quality gold jewelry. 

Gold vermeil vs gold plated

As mentioned before, vermeil differs from plated jewelry in its thickness. What does gold plated mean? The industry standard for a gold layer on vermeil is much thicker than the standard thickness of a gold plated piece. Plated pieces are often plated over a cheap base metal as well. 

Gold vermeil vs Sterling Silver

All gold vermeil pieces require a base layer of Sterling Silver. This means underneath there is always the precious metal Sterling Silver. Sterling Silver pieces can easily be shined or polished back to their original luster. 

Gold vermeil vs gold filled jewelry

Gold filled pieces typically also have a thick layer of gold plated on top. What does gold filled mean? Gold filled pieces often have a cheaper or low-end base metal. Both gold filled and gold vermeil pieces are difficult to tell apart from solid gold. However, the name of gold filled can be confusing. The piece is not in fact “filled with gold” but instead has a base metal of cheaper alloys with solid gold plated on top. If its gold filled vs vermeil we definitely vote for vermeil.

Gold plated vs gold filled 

Gold plated pieces have a thin layer of gold on the outside with a base layer of a metal alloy. The metal base layer of gold vermeil pieces is always Sterling silver while gold plated pieces can have any type of base metal. The same goes for gold filled. Gold plated pieces may have a higher quality base metal than gold filled pieces which often have a low quality base metal. Many companies use gold plating or gold filled jewelry to hide a cheaper or low-end material underneath. Vermeil pieces hold their value because the base metal is Sterling Silver.

Figuring out what type of gold jewlery is the best option for you is a personal choice. You must take into account your personal style, your budget, and your allergies or sensitivities. Do you prefer low maintenance jewelry or are you okay with a little extra TLC? Answering all these questions can help you figure out what type of gold jewelry works best for you.