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What is Gold Vermeil? Is Vermeil Good Quality?

Key Insights
  • What is Gold Vermeil?
  • Is Vermeil Gold Real?
  • Is Gold Vermeil Better Than Gold Plated
  • Will Vermeil Tarnish?

The jewelry industry has come a long way from the assumption that “gold” and “silver” are the only materials to work with. One of the most exclusive materials to craft fine jewelry, and a sought after gold material today, is gold vermeil jewelry. This article will teach you everything you need to know about gold vermeil, and answer all your essential questions.


What is Gold Vermeil?

Gold vermeil is a unique type of gold material used in jewelry that has a .925 sterling silver base, and that base is expertly plated in gold. Even though gold vermeil jewelry contains sterling silver as its base, the color of gold vermeil will always be a beautiful yellow golden color. In the United States, vermeil jewelry is required to have at least 10 karats of gold in its plating. You can purchase gold vermeil in 10k gold, 14k gold, 18k gold, and 24k gold. Vermeil is also required to be at least 2.5 microns thick. This is a key trait that distinguishes vermeil from other materials, as the 2.5 minimum micron is a very thick gold portion. For those first coming across the term vermeil, you may be wondering how to properly pronounce this not so common word. The meaning of vermeil is French, and is pronounced “ver-may.” Another name for vermeil could be “gilded silver.” Vermeil in French means when something is heavily bonded together by gold. The technique of using vermeil gold was first developed in 18th century France, mostly for royalty and other crown jewels. Fast forward to present day, gold vermeil has become popularized as a material used in jewelry because of its beautiful appearance and high quality. Expert craftsmanship is required to make gold vermeil, typically done by micro plating. Micron plating measures the thickness of gold.


18k Vermeil Micro Cuban

18k Vermeil Micro Cuban


Is Vermeil Gold Real?

Vermeil gold is real gold because a minimum of 10k gold is required to be used in the gold plating. Just because .925 sterling silver is found in the base of gold vermeil, doesn’t mean it is “fake gold” or considered a silver material.  In the beginning of this article we let you know that gold vermeil is offered in the follow gold karats; 10k gold, 14k gold, 18k gold, and 24k gold. Gold vermeil is real gold, and you can purchase gold vermeil in any of these karat varieties. 10k gold will have the lowest percentage of pure gold, followed by 14k gold which will have 58.3% pure gold, and 18k gold which will have 75% pure gold. 24k gold is 99.95% pure gold, and will be the most expensive gold vermeil material. 


18k vermeil Diamond Cuban Link Necklace (10mm) in Yellow Gold

18k Vermeil Diamond Cuban Link Necklace (10mm) in Yellow Gold


Is Gold Vermeil Better Than Gold Plated

Since gold vermeil is required in the United States, and other countries, to meet certain qualifications for its production, gold vermeil in particular could be better than simple gold plated jewelry. At least 10 karats of gold are required for the gold plating over the .925 sterling silver base in Vermeil. For gold to be considered 10 karats means that 41.7% of pure gold is used in its mixture. In general, or unless specified otherwise, gold plating has no minimum requirement of pure gold, and could be plated in any mixture of materials; most commonly brass or copper. If you are concerned about the purity of gold in your jewelry, gold vermeil is guaranteed to have a percentage of pure gold in its mixture. If you are considering purchasing gold vermeil or gold plated jewelry, be sure to check how many karats of gold are in the gold plated jewelry. Some could consider gold vermeil better than gold plating because gold vermeil will always have a .925 sterling silver base. Gold plated jewelry, unless specified otherwise, does not have any sterling silver in its mixture. The great thing about gold vermeil is its durability. Some consider gold vermeil as “double plated” because not only does it have a strong .925 sterling silver base, it has an extra layer of thick gold surrounding it. Gold vermeil is better than gold plated jewelry if you are looking to purchase an item with more gold thickness.


18k Vermeil Rope Chain (4mm)

18k Vermeil Rope Chain (4mm)


Will Vermeil Tarnish?

Gold vermeil is not known to tarnish because of its thickness and the quality of materials used to make gold vermeil jewelry. This is why you can wear gold vermeil everyday. The durability of gold vermeil jewelry depends on the micron plating used, and the gold karat amount. Silver in general is known to tarnish more easily than gold. Since .925 sterling silver is in gold vermeil its common to consider if gold vermeil will tarnish. If the gold plating around the .925 sterling silver base is thick, it isn’t likely for gold vermeil to tarnish. 10k gold and 14k gold are both extremely durable because they have a mixture of alloys and metals as well as pure gold. 18k gold vermeil will be slightly more delicate, because the pure gold percentage in 18k gold is 75%. This makes the 18k gold softer, and more susceptible to scratching. 18k gold vermeil is still very durable, but to be on the safe side, it isn’t recommenced to be worn during physical activities or situations that could cause damage. If you’re wondering which type of gold vermeil material lasts the longest, 14k gold vermeil lasts long because it is the perfect karat mixture with alloys combined for sustainability. You can shower in gold vermeil occasionally to be on the safe side if tarnishing is a concern. Excessive showers in gold vermeil items aren’t often advised.


18k Vermeil Rope Chain 2mm

18k Vermeil Rope Chain (2mm)


Gold vermeil is one of the most unique gold materials found in jewelry because it combines both .925 sterling silver and real gold. This makes a high quality durable piece of jewelry at an affordable cost. For more information about The GLD Shop’s gold vermeil products, please visit the website and browse the collection.