Vermeil or gold vermeil is among the hottest trends in the jewelry market right now. This strikes the perfect balance between accessibility and quality, not to mention that it also looks stunning. If you have plans to purchase some pieces of fine jewelry metals, gold vermeil deserves as a spot on your shopping list thanks to all its exciting qualities.
But, what is gold vermeil in the first place? Does it last? And if yes, how long does it last in the first place?
Gold Vermeil – A Short Definition
Gold vermeil, in the most basic sense, is a form of simple base metal with a gold coating layer on the top. When you speak traditional gold vermeil, it means that the coating is typically 24K or 18K thick gold on top of sterling silver.
To the naked eye, gold vermeil may look like real gold. However, it is not. This is also the most affordable way for you to get a piece of gold jewelry that seems expensive but is not.
Does Gold Vermeil Last?
Yes, it is typical for gold vermeil to last. It is because the gold vermeil’s coating is often added on in thick layering that can make it last for some time. After some time, however, you will notice that there are a few scuffs and some tarnishing that occurred. But these are also common concerns on other kinds of jewelry.
How Long Does Gold Vermeil Last?
Gold vermeil’s durability is actually dependent on how thick the gold plating is. Simply put, gold is the main factor if you want to know how long gold vermeil is going to last. The general rule of thumb here is that the piece will have a longer life if the gold plating is also thicker.
The purity of gold vermeil is yet another factor that should be considered. You probably know that gold tends to be softer when it has higher purity that also makes it more prone to damage and scratches. If you like to have a gold vermeil that can last for a long time, it is recommended to buy 18K or 14K gold vermeil. Anything that it higher than this is going to be too soft while something lower might not have the gold color that you like.
Another common concern about when it comes to gold vermeil is tarnish. Since a silver base is used for making gold vermeil and with silver known to oxidize, it will just be a matter of time before your gold vermeil begins showing signs of tarnishes. But, this issue doesn’t have to be permanent. Through regular maintenance and cleaning, you can remove the tarnish and restore the original sparkle of gold vermeil.
Is Gold Vermeil Durable?
Gold vermeil jewelry pieces are typically durable and are perfect to wear on a daily basis. As mentioned earlier, the durability of gold vermeil pieces depend on the karat of the gold and the layer’s thickness. A gold vermeil piece with gold layer of 5 microns is much more durable compared to one that is only 2.5 microns thick.
But, as far as the karat type is concerned, some things will probably surprise you. Since gold is a type of soft metal that can scratch easily, a piece will be less durable if the karat is higher. A gold vermeil piece with 14K will have better durability than a 22K piece.
How Gold Vermeil is Made
To make a gold vermeil piece, the item will first be crafted in sterling or fine silver before it is covered in gold with the use of the process called electrolysis. Back in the days, gold vermeil was made through the fire-gliding process. However, this procedure was banned later on because of its inherent dangers, especially the problem with mercury causing blindness. When done properly, electrolysis can result in consistent quality and thickness that can last for several years.
Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil Jewelry
A lot of people are unaware of the differences between gold plated and gold vermeil jewelry. However, it is essential that you know what makes one different from the other.
For starters, gold vermeil is precious silver topped with a gold layer. Its core metal should be silver or else, the store won’t be able to sell the pieces as vermeil. On the other hand, gold plated jewelry’s core metal could be anything, including stainless steel, copper, and brass.
When it comes to gold vermeil pieces, there is also the requirement for the gold layer’s thickness. A piece of gold vermeil must have a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. Meanwhile, gold plated jewelry doesn’t have this requirement, with the jeweler being the one who deices the gold layer’s thickness.
Of course, the last difference is in the price. Gold vermeil is often more expensive compared to gold plated jewelry mainly because silver is the core metal used and the layer of gold may also be thicker.
How to Care for Gold Vermeil
Now that you know how long gold vermeil can last, it is important that you also understand how you can care for gold vermeil pieces.
Cosmetics, perfumes, pollution, and dust can all have an effect on the surface of gold vermeil pieces. All of these can affect the gloss of gold vermeil, something you surely don’t wish to happen.
Make sure that you apply perfume first before you wear your gold vermeil pieces. You should also remember to remove them before you take a shower.
If possible, try not to expose your jewelry pieces to hot water, harsh chemicals, and cleaners. It is ideal that you remove them first before you handle such solutions.
Other substances like chlorine can cause permanent damage on the surface of gold vermeil pieces. This is important to keep in mind before you dive in the pool or use chlorine bleach.
If you are not using your gold vermeil pieces, store them in airtight containers to avoid oxidation.
There are many factors that can affect how long gold vermeil can last. Don’t worry if you notice tarnish on the gold layer. This is a natural and common property that can add a unique character to your piece.