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How to Shop for Quality Vermeil Gold Jewelry

How to Shop for Quality Vermeil Gold Jewelry

Key Insights
  • A Deep Dive on Vermeil
  • Is Vermeil Better Than Gold-Plated? 
  • What to Look for When Shopping Gold Vermeil Jewelry 
  • Transparency from the Brand 
  • Quality of the Base Metal 
  • Gold Karat 
  • Gold Thickness 
  • Craftsmanship 
  • Keeping Your Vermeil Looking Its Best
  • Proper Storage is Key 
  • Use a Legit Travel Kit when Away From Home 
  • Use Only Gentle, Gold-Safe Cleaners
  • Take it Off or Cover it When Performing Labor-Intensive Tasks
  • Get the Finest Vermeil for Your Fit 

If you’ve been building a jewelry collection for a minute, you might see the word “vermeil” used to describe a piece you’ve had your eye on. What does that word mean, though? 

Essentially, vermeil refers to a specialized type of gold plating process with strict standards for craftsmanship quality. If your piece doesn’t check all the right boxes, it cannot be sold as legit vermeil. 

With so many brands out there trying to catch your attention with vermeil pieces, how do you know you’re shopping in the right places for a true quality piece? We got you. Today, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about spotting a dope vermeil piece that will hold up and keep you shining in any situation. 

A Deep Dive on Vermeil

Vermeil, which is pronounced “ver-may,” refers to a type of jewelry that has a base layer of sterling silver overlaid with an outer layer of at least 2.5 microns of gold. Modern vermeil jewelry has been used for centuries as a premium alternative to solid gold for those that want to still look fresh without spending as much on a solid piece. 

When making vermeil jewelry, the end result is a piece that combines silver’s durability with gold’s luster and sleek finish. Unlike gold-plated pieces, which may be made with a base like 316L surgical-grade stainless steel, vermeil is composed entirely of precious metals. 

Crafting vermeil is serious, and if not done correctly, can actually violate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. The FTC requires all vermeil jewelry to have a .925 sterling silver base metal, at least 2.5 microns of gold, and the gold must be 10 karats or more. If any of these marks aren’t hit, the piece cannot be marketed and sold as vermeil. 

Due to the regulations and the combination of metals, crafting a vermeil piece can sometimes be more intense and detailed than creating a piece from solid gold. This is why you should avoid purchasing vermeil from unproven or unknown brands with no reputation for quality craftsmanship. 

Is Vermeil Better Than Gold-Plated? 

Answering this question depends entirely on the brand making the jewelry. Some brands may use a cheap base metal for their gold-plated pieces that is weak and will not hold the gold finish for long. 

The key difference between vermeil and gold-plated is cost of materials. With a vermeil piece, you’re buying something made completely from precious metals, while a gold-plated piece will have a more common base metal, and it’s normally one that is less expensive than silver. When deciding, ask yourself if you want only precious metals in your jewelry or if you want a more affordable option. 

Beyond cost, though, the brand producing the jewelry also comes into play. Does the brand treat their gold-plated pieces as a quick hustle or do they hold them to a high quality standard? 

At GLD, we hold all of our gold-plated pieces to the same standards that we do for vermeil. We only use 316L surgical-grade stainless steel for its hypoallergenic and highly durable properties so that you can feel confident in buying a plated chain, bracelet, ring, or pendant and know it’s going to last you. 

There’s really no wrong answer to whether you should choose vermeil or gold-plated other than what you want to spend on jewelry and whether or not you want a piece composed of all precious metals. Whatever pieces you think will be the best value for your investment in upgrading your fit is the right choice. 

What to Look for When Shopping Gold Vermeil Jewelry 

Transparency from the Brand 

A reliable jewelry brand will be transparent with the materials that they use to craft their vermeil pieces. Check their product descriptions for information like the type of base metal used, the thickness of the gold layer in microns, and the karat of the gold. 

A brand that stands behind its work will also offer a guarantee for its quality. For example, at GLD, we offer a lifetime guarantee for all of your purchases, which can cover repairs for a piece if there are any breakage or defects.

Quality of the Base Metal 

Vermeil uses sterling silver as its base, which is a silver alloy composed of at least 92.5% pure silver. You can tell if it is a sterling piece by looking for a “925 stamp” on the metal, which means that it contains the right silver content. 

Gold Karat 

Karat is the unit used to measure gold’s purity. At a minimum, 10k gold must be used in creating vermeil jewelry. We finish ours with 18k gold so that you’ll have something that retains a deep, rich luster that always keeps it fresh, whether plain or iced-out. 

Gold Thickness 

Because vermeil is required to have a gold layer of at least 2.5 microns thick, any piece that you buy should at least have this measurement. Even 2.49 microns will keep the jewelry from being considered actual vermeil. 


Most importantly, how well is the jewelry made? Does it look quickly and cheaply put together or like time was taken to make something you’d be proud to rock with your fit? 

Here’s a quick quality checklist to keep in mind while you’re looking for vermeil: 

  • Look for the Stamps: Vermeil should have a 925 stamp for sterling silver and a stamp with its karat (i.e., 18K). 
  • Keep an Eye Out for Discoloration: Quality vermeil will have a consistent, lustrous finish all throughout the piece. If there are any spots with discoloration, keep searching. 
  • Inconsistencies in Plating: If a gold layer is applied quickly and cheaply, you might see some red flags like uneven surfaces, bubbles, or bare patches. 
  • Welding Marks: Look where links and clasps meet on your jewelry. Notice any uneven or lumpy metal in these areas? That’s a sign that parts of the piece were quickly and unprofessionally welded together, a common sign of cheaply made jewelry. Look for pieces that are linked together the right way without any cheap welding work done to them. 
  • Keeping Your Vermeil Looking Its Best

    Once you’ve found quality vermeil and it arrives at your door, how do you keep it looking its best? We got you. Here’s a quick rundown of what to do: 

    Proper Storage is Key 

    Whether hanging your pieces from a jewelry stand or keeping them in a jewelry box, keep your vermeil items in a place where they will not fall, get scratched, or lost. This will eliminate chances of accidental damage to the piece so you can keep its finish and function both at their best. 

    In addition to protecting against physical damage be sure to stash your pieces away from any extreme temperatures or moisture. Don’t keep them near your bathroom, or any heating and cooling vents. 

    Use a Legit Travel Kit when Away From Home 

    Traveling with jewelry might seem like a chore at first, but packing your chains is actually pretty simple process if you have the right gear. 

    Use a case designed specifically for jewelry and place each chain, unclasped, into one of the sections. Do not pack the case too tightly, so that you can avoid tangling the pieces while in transit.

    How does anything get damaged while in the air or on the road? Movement. A well-made jewelry travel kit will keep your pieces from moving and shaking while you’re on the go so that they’re ready to wear as soon as you hit your destination. 

    Use Only Gentle, Gold-Safe Cleaners

    Quality vermeil typically won’t tarnish, but you may want to polish it up from time to time to keep it looking like new. If that’s your preference, use only gentle cleaners that are safe for gold. Follow the instructions for using the cleanser carefully, and do not keep the piece in water for a long period of time. 

    Take it Off or Cover it When Performing Labor-Intensive Tasks

    If you’re involved in a labor-intensive activity like moving large furniture or operating heavy machinery, take your jewelry off or cover it with your shirt collar or sleeve. This will prevent the jewelry from getting caught on anything, scratched, or broken. 

    Additionally, if you work a job with safety guidelines requiring you to remove jewelry, follow the rules over anything else. Take your pieces off and place them in a secure place like a travel kit or hanging hook so that they’ll stay safe while you’re on your grind. 

    Get the Finest Vermeil for Your Fit 

    At GLD, we’re all about perfecting the art of gold craftsmanship. From gold-plated to vermeil to solid pieces, we got you for whatever your preference is. Each piece is held to the same quality standards, no matter the price, so that you can always look your best with the confidence that it’ll outlast time and trends. On top of that, we got you with a lifetime guarantee, so you’ll always be taken care of if you need your jewelry repaired in the future. 

    Find that perfect new piece of vermeil for your fit today by shopping our full collection or hit us up anytime for more info.