We all love to layer up in something golden, but what exactly is gold vermeil? Get the lowdown on what it means, why we use it in our collections — and more importantly how to say it.
The Difference Between Gold Vermeil and Gold Plated Jewelry
Most of our jewelry is handcrafted in 18k gold vermeil (pronounced ‘ver-may’). In simplest terms, it has a thicker layer of gold added to the base of sterling silver. The thickness of the gold must be a minimum of 2.5 microns to be classed as gold vermeil.
All gold vermeil jewelry in the UK is stamped with the '925' mark to indicate the sterling silver purity. The plating process is different as well — gold vermeil is plated with a process known as ‘electrolysis’, making the jewellery very durable. All our pieces are tested by the Assay Office (which tests the purity of precious metals), as required by law.
Gold plated jewelry, on the other hand, involves a base metal, such as brass, which is coated with a thin layer of gold. The gold layer used in gold plated jewellery is typically less than 1 micron thick, making it more affordable but less durable compared to gold vermeil.
The thin gold layer makes gold plated jewelry more susceptible to wear and tear than gold vermeil. Factors such as frequent use, exposure to moisture, and contact with chemicals can cause the gold layer to fade or tarnish over time. Proper care, such as avoiding contact with harsh substances and storing your pieces in a dry place will keep them shining.
Looking After Gold Vermeil: How to Care for Your Pieces
We always recommend cleaning your jewelry carefully with a soft, non-abrasive and lint-free cloth. If necessary, you can use a mild washing up liquid with warm water and a soft toothbrush, then rinse with clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using ‘dip’ polish or abrasive jewelry cleaners as these contain harsh chemicals and can destroy your jewelry over time.
Always ensure your jewelry is completely dry before storing or wearing it. While your pieces may look incredible with your poolside outfits, you should remove them before activities such as swimming, showering, or exercising, as exposure to moisture and sweat can accelerate tarnishing. And no one wants that, do they?
To prevent scratching and tangling, store each piece of gold vermeil jewelry separately in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight.
Is Gold Vermeil Waterproof?
The short answer? It's a no from us. While gold vermeil jewelry is more resilient than gold plated pieces, and therefore more water repellant, we wouldn't advise exposing your pieces to water for prolonged periods. You heard it here first, no dunking. Why, you ask? Moisture, especially when combined with chemicals present in water, can accelerate tarnishing and affect the gold layer.
If you do happen to get your gold vermeil jewelry wet (it happens, we get it) gently dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth afterward. Avoid rubbing too vigorously, as this may contribute to wear and tear over time.
How to Style Gold Vermeil?
You can be as creative and playful as you want when layering your 18k gold vermeil jewelry. If you're more of a minimalist, choose a simple pendant necklace to add a touch of je ne sais quois. If you're a maximalist, we love a good neckmess with gems, beads, and pearls alongside your gold jewellery. There are three layering tips we swear by, and that’s starting with a base chain, adding length and then throwing a textured or statement piece into the mix to draw the eye. But there really are no rules.
Upgrade Your Ear Stack
Begin with studs and huggies, then throw in a statement hoop or a pair of gold vermeil drop earrings. Want the stacked look without the piercings? Wear different ear cuffs on different parts of your ear, from the cartilage to the conch.
For that more-is-more look, stack multiple gold vermeil bracelets of varying widths and designs on your wrist — from chains, to bangles and cuffs. For an unforgettable ring stack, make your power piece a gold vermeil statement ring.
Mix Your Metals
- Is gold vermeil real gold? -/- Gold vermeil pieces start out as a sterling silver base — this is what gives them their weightier feel and high-end finish — a high-quality alloy consisting of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper. A thick 2.5 microns of real gold is layered over the top of through electrolysis (essentially an electrical current), to give each piece extra durability. It's the design you love without the pure gold price tag.
- Is gold vermeil good quality? -/- With its recycled sterling silver base coated in solid gold, gold vermeil jewelry tends to be more resistant to tarnishing compared to gold plated options. The gold layer acts as a protective barrier against oxidation. It's the next best thing to solid gold fine jewelry.
- Does gold vermeil tarnish? -/- Tarnishing is a concern for many when it comes to jewellery; we all want our gold pieces to shine as bright as they can. The thickness of the gold layer in gold vermeil jewelry plays a crucial role in helping with tarnish resistance. As we've said previously, storing your gold vermeil jewelry in a dry, cool place, like a jewelry box, helps reduce exposure to moisture and atmospheric elements, prolonging its tarnish-free appearance. Regularly clean your gold vermeil jewelry using a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any dirt or oils that can accumulate over time.
- How long does gold vermeil last? -/- Gold vermeil jewelry's solid foundation contributes to its long lifespan. But like anything, the better you look after your pieces, the longer they will last. To maintain the longevity of gold vermeil, minimise its exposure to substances such as harsh chemicals, perfumes, lotions, and cleaning agents. Separating individual pieces with soft fabric or pouches can prevent them from rubbing against each other. Follow our advice and you'll be going for gold for a long time to come.