Jewelry Trends

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry?

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry? A Quick Guide to Everything You Need to Know

It’s no secret. If you’re shopping for gold jewelry on a budget, you’ll likely not want to spring for solid gold jewelry. Pure gold jewelry can be pricey.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for other, more affordable precious metals, like sterling silver. Instead, you can continue to rock your gold look by adding gol vermeil jewelry to your wardrobe.

What You Will Learn

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry?

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Gold vermeil jewelry is a type of jewelry that combines real gold with a cheap base metal to give wearers the gold look they want at a costume jewelry price.

So, what are vermeil pieces typically made from?

The vermeil jewelry-making process (which, by the way, isn’t pronounced “ver-meal” — it’s “vehr-may”) is held to strict standards.

For starters, if a piece of jewelry displays a gold vermeil mark, it must include a sterling silver base layer.

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This sterling silver core is crucial. If the outer layer of gold covers some other, different material, the piece cannot legally be called gold vermeil jewelry.

Additionally, the outer thin layer of gold must measure in at a minimum of 10 karats; the gold alloy used for that thin layer must meet specific criteria regarding just how much real gold makes up the gold layer.

(Yes, even though the thin layer on top of the sterling silver base is technically “real” gold, it’s still not 100% gold; 100% gold is notoriously soft and easy to damage, so most gold jewelry consists of gold alloy, no matter if you’re wearing rose gold, yellow gold, etc.)

Lastly, the gold must be applied as a minimum 2.5 microns-thick layer.

What’s the Difference Between Vermeil and Gold Plated Jewelry?

If you plan to buy gold vermeil jewelry, don’t confuse it with gold plated jewelry. The two are not the same.

Whereas both gold vermeil and gold plated jewelry feature a layer of gold over a base metal, gold vermeil jewelry always uses sterling silver for its base, and the gold is always applied in that 2.5 microns-thick layer.

In contrast, gold plated jewelry can include a range of base metals, and there are no complex rules for which base metals can be used. Sometimes, brass or copper might be used, making gold plated jewelry cheaper than gold vermeil jewelry.

Additionally, the gold plated layer on these pieces is usually thinner than the gold layer you’ll find on vermeil jewelry.

gold necklace

How Does Vermeil Gold Differ From Gold Filled Jewelry?

Gold filled jewelry primarily differs from vermeil gold due to its manufacturing process.

While both a gold vermeil piece and gold plated jewelry will consist of a gold layer applied to a base metal, sterling silver or otherwise, gold filled jewelry is created when a manufacturer uses high heat and pressure to bond gold to a base metal. Due to this process, gold filled jewelry is the most durable of the three options.

How Do You Care for Vermeil Gold Jewelry?

Now that you know what is vermeil gold jewelry, have you decided that this type of jewelry is right for you and your budget? If so, keep these care tips in mind.

  • Avoid excessive temperature changes.
    Excessive temperature changes can negatively impact many types of jewelry. Before you plunge your hands into a hot bath or jump into an icy pool, think about your jewelry and remove it. Your jewelry will last longer as a result.
  • Try to keep your jewelry out of the water.
    In general, it’s best to keep your jewelry out of all water. While water exposure will not damage certain types of gold jewelry, often, you’re not exposing your jewelry to just water when you get it wet. In the shower, you’re likely using shampoos and other products. Your pool is filled with chemicals. Even natural bodies of water like the ocean or lakes can hide substances that could damage your jewelry.
  • Don’t expose your jewelry to chemicals.
    Along these lines, avoid exposing your jewelry to any chemicals you might encounter throughout the day. As you prepare, put your jewelry on last to avoid accidentally spritzing it with perfume or hair products. Remove your jewelry before applying lotion or sunscreen or before cleaning.

Care for Vermeil Gold Jewelry

Gold Vermeil Jewelry FAQs

Do you have more questions about gold vermeil jewelry? We’ve got more answers.

Does gold vermeil tarnish?

Not usually. Even though sterling silver tarnishes, the outer gold layer protects the sterling silver in gold vermeil from exposure and elements that might tarnish it. If your gold vermeil does tarnish, it’s a sign of damage and lack of care.

Is gold vermeil good quality?

What vermeil gold provides is a budget-friendly gold jewelry option that is definitely of a higher quality than what you’ll get with gold plated pieces, thanks to the thicker layer of vermeil real gold that’s used in each piece (compared to the thin gold layer used in each gold plated piece). So, while gold vermeil may not be considered fine jewelry, it’s definitely a better option than gold plating jewelry and is more comparable to gold filled pieces.

Are gold plated jewelry and gold vermeil jewelry the same thing?

No, gold plated refers to pieces incorporating a range of base metals and a thinner layer of gold. In contrast, vermeil gold, meaning gold made using the vermeil technique, only uses a sterling silver base and a thicker layer of real gold.

Just Because It’s Budget-Friendly, That Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Worth Protecting

No matter if your favorite piece of jewelry is gold vermeil or pure gold, if it’s your favorite, it’s worth protecting. Beyond taking proper care of every piece in your jewelry collection, consider also investing in jewelry insurance to ensure you can always repair or replace your treasured jewelry in the event of an accident, theft, or loss.

BriteCo offers specialized jewelry insurance for a range of jewelry, always at an affordable price. With worldwide coverage, coverage that applies to 125% of your piece’s appraisal value, zero deductibles, and a free automated annual insurance value update, you can rest easy knowing that BriteCo always has your back.

Check out BriteCo’s comprehensive coverage options today to learn more and get your free quote.

Like what you see? You can choose to pay for your coverage all at once, in one annual sum, or monthly — whatever fits your budget best.

Also Check:

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Is Gold Jewelry a Good Investment? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.