What is gold vermeil?

Gold vermeil is a good choice for those who are allergic to metals

Gold vermeil is a good choice for those who are allergic to metals

If you are serious about jewelry, your jewelry, then you need to know what you are spending your money on. You may run across the term ?gold vermeil.? What is gold vermeil? It is a French word that means silver-gilt or silver that is gilded with gold.

Gold vermeil is a combination of silver, sterling, gold and various other precious metals. To fall into the vermeil category, the gold must be at a minimum 10 karats or 42 percent, and be at least 2.5 micrometers thick.

Vermeil, which is pronounced vehr-MAY, is essentially sterling silver that is plated with gold. The process for creating vermeil started in France during 18th century. Originally, fire-gilding was the technique used. Gold and mercury were applied to the silver at extreme heats, which caused the mercury to become vapor, which resulted in the gold layer sticking to the silver. Fire gilding is no longer used because the process caused blindness in the artisans that were engaging in this process.  

Gold vermeil jewelry is now produced via electrolysis, which is a technique where direct electrical currents are used to create a spontaneous chemical reaction.

To qualify as vermeil, the item must consist of a sterling silver plated or coated base on all the important surfaces with gold alloy or gold of at least 10 karat fineness as well as a considerable thickness and a minimal thickness throughout the object that is equal to 1/1000ths of an inch of fine gold.  

True gold vermeil does not have any other kind of metal in it other than sterling silver before the gold layer is applied. If you are allergic to nickel or other metals, gold vermeil is a good choice for you because none of these metals are in it, and sterling silver does not cause allergic reactions.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, representing something as gold vermeil that is not is a deceptive and unfair practice and can get a jeweler in hot water. If sterling silver is covered with a base metal such as nickel that is plated the jeweler must specify that the sterling silver is covered with a base metal (nickel), which has been plated with gold. Furthermore, sterling silver must be at least 9250/1000ths pure silver. If it is less than that, it is not sterling silver.  

Different karats ? 10, 14-, 18, -24, -32 ? are used to create gold vermeil, which can be white, pink, tri-colored or yellow.  

Gold vermeil is very much like gold in the way it looks, but it is more affordable than gold because its primary component is sterling silver.  

One of the advantages of gold vermeil is that is doesn?t tarnish easily, and the gold plating doesn?t wear away if you take care of the item.  Gold vermeil jewelry should be cleaned using a lint-free cloth that is soft and clean. It will remove oils, dirt and any other materials that have become attached to the item. You can also use glass cleaner on gold vermeil to bolster the luster. Do not have your gold vermeil machine-polished because this can damage the gold layers. Do not use abrasive cleaners on vermeil.  

Do not wear your gold vermeil jewelry when you are swimming or bathing because vermeil jewelry can get scratched, erode and corrode. When not wearing the item, put it in a container that is airtight. Do not store it with other jewelry that could scratch its coating. It is recommended that gold vermeil not be worn on a daily basis.