What is Gold Vermeil?
What is Gold Vermeil?
Vermeil (pronounced vehr-may; it's French!) is a legally regulated term that refers to a certain kind of quality jewelry. To be legally called "vermeil" in the United States, the jewelry piece must meet ALL of these conditions:
1. Have sterling silver as its base material. Sterling silver is an alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other materials, and is a standard material used in high quality jewelry (versus, e.g., brass or copper).
2. Be plated in gold that is at least 10k (10 karats). That means the gold is at least 41.7% gold content.
3. Have gold plating that is at least 2.5 microns thick. A micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
*Note that in Canada, the requirements for labelling an item 'gold vermeil' are much lower; the plating thickness needs only to be 1.0 micron thick. If you are purchasing from a Canadian brand, you should ask for the plating thickness. Plating that is 2.5 microns thick will last many years longer than 1.0 micron, so you should be sure of the quality that you are paying for.
Put another way, vermeil pieces are made with precious materials with heavy plating to ensure long-lasting wear.
Due to these regulations is why you might see some brands material descriptions say gold plated sterling silver instead of vermeil - because they do not meet these regulations. Most gold plated sterling silver only has 0.5 micron thick gold layer.
Gold Vermeil vs. Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold-plated jewelry refers to jewelry that has gold plating of approximately 0.5 microns thick. It does not require sterling silver to be used as the base material, and usually uses brass as a base metal. Since the plating is so thin, the gold color will wear very quickly compared to gold vermeil. Gold plated usually has brass, nickel, and/or copper as its base metal it also tarnishes. Gold vermeil is superior to gold-plated jewelry.
Why we use 18k Gold Vermeil
Since the beginning, quality has been at our foundation. As someone who has always had very sensitive skin and would turn any jewelry I'd wear, I needed to find a solution. When I started Nikki E. Designs I wanted to make sure I created jewelry that would be 100% hypoallergenic and wouldn't tarnish.
I wanted to go beyond gold plated sterling silver, so I went with a higher range 18k gold and I wanted something that would last for years to come, so I made sure our jewelry would fit the requirements of vermeil.
In the world of jewelry, gold vermeil is the best quality jewelry you can get short of buying solid gold.