What is Gold Vermeil?
Looking for your next piece of gold-toned jewellery? Why not try gold vermeil! Gold vermeil is a popular jewellery material that’s been in everyone’s jewellery collections over the past decade. It’s a glamorous and affordable way to buy and wear gold. Before you dive into the world of gold vermeil jewellery, here’s a little explanation on what it is, how it’s made and why it deserves a place in your collection.
What is gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is a variety of gold coated metal. You’re probably wondering why a lot of gold jewellery isn’t fully gold but instead is called ‘gold vermeil’ or ‘gold plated’. This is because although gold is extremely malleable and durable, gold is extremely soft. Gold’s softness means that it wears away easily, so the gold jewellery you’ll find on the market today is typically varieties of gold coated metals, like gold vermeil.
Gold vermeil is a technique of gold plating that was originally developed in France in the 18th century. Vermeil is where a thick layer of gold is coated upon a base metal but for a metal to legally classify as vermeil, it must meet three conditions. First, the base of the metal must be fine silver or sterling silver. Next, the thickness of the gold needs to be at least 2.5 microns thick. Finally, the purity of the gold that coats the base must be at least 10 carats, so that the gold is made up of at least 40% gold – we’ll take you through carats below.
What are carats?
Before we explain how gold vermeil is made, it’s important to understand what carats are. You’ll see the word ‘carat’ or ‘karat’ everywhere when you start to invest in jewellery. A carat or ‘ct’ is the unit used to measure how much gold is in a piece of jewellery. This is in comparison to the other metals that are present in the piece. The standard requirement for gold vermeil is 10ct but pieces can also go up to 24ct.
To help you understand this a bit more, here’s an example. If you have a piece that’s 10ct gold vermeil, the gold content is 41.7% and the rest of the percentage is the base metal. The next carat up will have more gold content and less other present materials and so on. So, if a piece is 24ct gold vermeil, its gold content is 99.9% pure gold. The thicker the gold plating equals the higher the carat. It also means the better the quality and typically the higher the price tag!
How is gold vermeil made?
Gold vermeil is made via electrolysis. Electrolysis is where an electric current is passed through a substance to effect a chemical change. This change makes the substance oxidise or reduce. To make a gold vermeil piece, you start with a sterling or fine silver base and then cover it in pure gold by electrolysis, which causes it to become a thick coating that completely and consistently covers the base.
Electrolysis is involved in the making of other gold coated metals, like gold plating. This process is also involved in the making of coloured gold vermeil pieces, like yellow, rose and white gold vermeil. Yellow gold is brighter and warmer than pure gold and the coating before it goes over the base is gold mixed with copper and zinc. Rose gold is a blend of gold, silver and copper that gives it its blush pink colour. The strength of the rose colour depends on the ratio of gold to copper. Finally, white gold is made by mixing gold with white metals like nickel, platinum, palladium or silver.
The way gold vermeil is made makes it extremely durable and high quality. It’s less likely to be damaged or scratched and generally has a longer life than other coated metals. So, why should you choose gold vermeil over other gold coated jewellery?
Why choose gold vermeil?
There are so many reasons to buy gold vermeil jewellery. First, gold vermeil is a stunning way to discover gold jewellery on a budget. This is what makes gold vermeil so popular – its great quality, looks like gold and is an affordable price. You won’t break the bank buying gold vermeil but it’s still something worthwhile to invest in and will last you a lifetime – which leads us on to our next reason to choose gold vermeil.
Second, is gold vermeil’s incredible quality. The way it’s made makes it less likely to tarnish or wear away, so you’re guaranteed a stunning piece that boasts dazzling hues of gold that will last a lifetime. Further to this point, gold vermeil is extremely durable and stays in perfect condition for a while, as long as you look after it properly and clean it regularly. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll be happy to know gold vermeil won’t turn your ears, fingers, wrists or neck green so you can wear it as often as you like without worrying about it fading.
Next, gold vermeil and its manufacturing process can be sustainable! Protecting the environment is so important and has become increasingly so over the past few decades. So, how is gold vermeil sustainable? Many designers may choose a recycled or reusable sterling or fine silver base before it’s covered in gold, cutting down on waste and making your pieces more environmentally friendly.
Finally, gold vermeil is stunningly beautiful and is a great way to look into gold jewellery! If you’ve been a silver fan all your life or you’re simply drawn to the warm tones of gold, gold vermeil is a great way to dive into it. Gold vermeil is extremely popular and works well with the new jewellery styles and designs we see today. Paired alongside sparkling colourful gemstones or kept simple with fun textures and laidback shapes, gold vermeil goes well with everything – outfits, seasons, you name it!
Discover our gorgeous collection of gold vermeil jewellery and start creating your own looks today.
Image credits: simpleanddainty.com