Gold Plated Vs Gold Filled
Gold plated pieces have a thin layer of gold on the outside with a base layer of a metal alloy. The metal base layer of gold vermeil pieces is always Sterling silver while gold plated pieces can have any type of base metal. The same goes for gold filled. Gold plated pieces may have a higher quality base metal than gold filled pieces which often have a low quality base metal. Many companies use gold plating or gold filled jewelry to hide a cheaper or low-end material underneath. Vermeil pieces hold their value because the base metal is Sterling Silver.
Figuring out what type of gold jewlery is the best option for you is a personal choice. You must take into account your personal style, your budget, and your allergies or sensitivities. Do you prefer low maintenance jewelry or are you okay with a little extra TLC? Answering all these questions can help you figure out what type of gold jewelry works best for you.
What’s The Difference Between Gold Vermeil And Other Gold Plated Jewelry
Great question. There is no shortage of gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry out there. But there are big differences – mainly in the quality and long-term value as you consider what to include in your jewelry collection.
Poor Quality – Gold Plated:
- A base of either steel or brass ,
- The piece is VERY quickly dipped in gold
- The thin gold finish can wear off easily
- Exposes the wearer to base metal allergies
Medium Quality – Gold Filled:
- A base of either brass or copper
- Outside made of sheets of 10+ karat gold
- Doesn’t wear off quite as easily as gold plated
- Still potential for metal allergy with inferior base metal
Highest Quality – Gold Vermeil:
- A base of high-quality sterling silver
- A thick gold layer of at least 10k
- Most of the time 14k-24k gold is used
- Industry regulated gold thickness of no less than 2.5 microns .
How Do I Care For My Gold Vermeil Jewellery
Looking after your gold vermeil jewellery will prolong its life and keep it looking as good as new. Use a gold polishing cloth regularly . You can also use a microfibre cloth to clean your gold vermeil. These are what you would use to clean your glasses.
We know that you want to show off your jewellery, but when it is not in use, keep it in a box or soft bag out of direct sunlight, polish it with a cloth regularly and try not to get lotions or chemicals onto your favourite pieces.
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How Is Gold Vermeil Made
To create gold vermeil, the item is first crafted in fine or sterling silver and is then covered in gold using the process known as electrolysis. In the past, vermeil was crafted using the process of fire-gilding, but this was later banned due to the dangers inherent in this process, especially the issue of mercury causing blindness. Electrolysis, if done correctly, results in a consistent thickness and quality that is capable of lasting for a very long time, and can last for many years.
What Does 14k Vermeil Or 18k Vermeil Mean
With Gold Vermeil, jewellers will use either 14k or 18k gold. It is not as simple as choosing 18k and assuming it will be more valuable. The thickness of the gold vermeil added to the type of silver will also affect its value. Look for the thickness of the layer of gold applied and the quality of the gold and silver.
For example, a thick layer of 18k gold added to pure silver will create a much more valuable and expensive piece.
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Possibility #: Electrochemically Gold Plated Rings
Lets start with electroplating, which is actually a pretty cool process. The electroplating method involves submerging a metal ring into a chemical solution that contains gold particles.
Once positive and negative electrical currents are applied to the solution and the ring itself, the gold particles in the solution will bond to the ring. The metals are attracted to each other like magnets, but the gold plating will stay on permanently. This leaves the ring with a glossy gold outer layer.
Heres the first part of the FTCs definition of gold plated jewelry created through this plating method:
An industry product on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces by an electrolytic process an electroplating of gold, or of a gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness, which is of reasonable durability and has a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to 0.175 microns of fine gold, may be marked or described as Gold Plate, Gold Plated, Gold Electroplate or Gold Electroplated if the term is immediately preceded by a designation of the karat fineness of the plating.
Since the layer of gold on a vermeil ring must be 2.5 microns thick, and the gold layer on gold electroplated jewelry must only be 0.175 microns thick, gold plated rings contain less gold than vermeil rings.
Gold plated brass rings by , used with permission.
What Does Gold Vermeil Mean
Its important to understand that the term vermeil is legally regulated. To qualify as vermeil, a piece of jewelry must meet certain criteria. Specifically, its base must consist of sterling silver, it must be plated in gold of at least 10 karats, and its gold plating must have a thickness of at least 2.5 microns.
The FTC actually legally prohibits jewelry sellers from marketing an item as gold vermeil if it doesnt meet these requirements.
That highlights an important point. The FTC establishes the criteria for a piece of jewelry to qualify as gold vermeil in the United States. Sometimes the criteria may be different in other countries. For example, in Canada, a piece of jewelrys plating only needs to be 1.0 microns thick to be marketed as vermeil. If this factor is important to you, and youre buying a piece of jewelry outside the US, you should specifically ask about the platings thickness before making a purchase.
You should also research a sellers background and reputation if youre not entirely sure you can trust them. Some basic research can help you avoid being scammed. Unfortunately, although its illegal to market a piece of jewelry as being gold vermeil in the US when it actually only qualifies as gold vermeil in Canada or another market, this sometimes happens.
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Are Gold Plated Filled And Vermeil Rings The Same Color As Solid Gold Rings
From what Ive seen, gold vermeil, gold plated, and gold filled rings have a different color to solid gold rings that arent plated in any way. They tend to have a cooler gold tone than solid gold jewelry, which offers a richer, warmer hue.
In this photo from GLDN, you can see how a 14k gold filled piece has more of a cooler yellow appearance compared to the warm, honey-hued 14k solid gold piece next to it.
And heres my own snapshot of a few gold pieces: an 18k solid gold ring, a 14k solid gold ring, a 14k gold plated ring, a 14k gold filled hoop earring, and an 18k gold vermeil ear cuff.
Even despite the same karat fineness, the plated and solid gold versions differ in color. The plated, filled, and vermeil pieces have a cooler, harsher, almost brassier yellow color, while the solid gold pieces have a nice warm tone.
You can see the difference even more clearly in the comparison of two of the rings I shared toward the beginning of this post. The ring on the left is an 18k gold plated piece and on the right is a 14k solid gold signet ring. Once again, the solid gold has a warmer, richer color.
Gorgeous Gold Vermeil Jewellery With Monica Vinader
Gold vermeil is a stunning metal that allows us to create piecesthat combine fashion and fine jewellery at an affordable price. Therange of pieces gold vermeil can crafted is endless, from beautifulhoopearrings, to everyday stackingrings. As the technique can be used to create both gold androse gold jewellery, this option is available no matter yourfavourite metal. Paired alongside precious gemstones, such asdiamonds, vermeil makes a stunning finishing touch to any outfit.
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How Is Vermeil Jewelry Different From Gold Plated Jewelry
Vermeil actually is a special kind of gold plating with very high-quality requirements. Standard gold plating only needs to be 0.5micron. And there are no regulations regarding the base material. That means that the base often is of lesser quality. It might even contain nickel to which a lot of people are allergic.
Also, the very thin layer of gold used for simple gold plating can wear off quickly. When not done well, the gold finish even can chip off altogether.
To sum it up: Vermeil is gold plating, but gold plating is not always Vermeil. Pretty rarely, actually. Buying Gold Vermeil means you will get an affordable alternative to solid gold with the highest standard of gold plating.
How Long Does Gold Vermeil Jewelry Last
Because the gold is on top, the gold coating will determine how long the vermeil lasts. How long gold vermeil jewelry lasts will depend on the thickness of the gold plating on top of the sterling silver. Thicker plating will last longer.
Along with the thickness of the gold vermeil, you should also take the purity of the vermeil into account. The higher the purity of gold, the softer it is, which means that it is more susceptible to scratches and other damages.
To help ensure the gold vermeil lasts longer, look for 14k or 18k gold vermeil. If you choose gold plating higher than this, it will be soft and more susceptible to damage, and any lower and it will not have that golden color you are after.
Other than the purity of the gold, the sterling silver also plays a small role in the longevity of the jewelry. Silver is known to oxidize over time, so the gold vermeil might start to tarnish eventually. This is not so much of an issue if you take care of the jewelry with regular cleaning and maintenance.
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Which Is More Durable Vermeil Or Gold
The durability of vermeil and gold-plated jewelry depends mainly on the karat of the gold plating, its thickness, and the composition of the alloy used to make the core.
Silver is a soft metal, and this is why you can expect a vermeil piece to be relatively easy to bend unless its core contains other metals that improve its hardness.
Whether a gold-plated piece would be harder depends on the metals it is made up of some items may not be much harder than vermeil.
The karat of the gold plating will determine whether its surface will be easy to scratch higher-karat gold is softer and less durable, whereas lower-karat alloys do not scratch and wear out as easily.
In this respect, a vermeil piece can be more or less durable compared with a gold-plated item depending on the gold used to plate each piece.
As for the thickness of the plating, you can have a vermeil piece whose gold layer is thicker than that of a gold-plated piece, or the situation could be reversed.
Whichever the case, the thicker plating is likely to last longer .
As you can see, neither vermeil nor gold-plated jewelry is undisputedly better when it comes to durability you just have to judge it on a case-by-case basis considering the karat of the plating, its thickness, and the composition of the core.
Gold Plated Vs Vermeil Vs Gold Filled
Don’t worry if you find the terminology confusing. That’s because there are actually only 4 different types to remember, in descending order of price: pure gold, gold vermeil, gold filled and gold plated. When comparing gold vermeil vs gold plated, simply note that vermeil uses pure silver for the core. On the flip side, gold plated uses copper or bronze. Also, the thickness of the gold is smaller at 3 microns versus at least 5 microns for vermeil.On the other hand, gold vermeil vs gold filled has a similar gold thickness. Although, gold filled usually has 14 carat gold to cover the copper or bronze. Vermeil gold though, uses 18 carat gold which also means it doesnt tarnish. The less pure gold is, the more likely it will tarnish.Last but not least, of course you can always buy pure gold jewelry which is as durable as gold vermeil jewelry. Nevertheless, the price isnt quite the same. Moreover, if history and human workmanship is your thing then perhaps gold vermeil offsets itself as slightly more unique.
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How Gold Vermeil Is Made
Vermeil jewelry is made by first creating the base of the item out of silver and then plating it with a thin layer of gold.
The method used to cover the surface of the piece with gold is called electrolysis.
Gold vermeil can be made with gold of varying purity, but in the U.S., there is a minimum requirement: To be considered vermeil, a piece needs to be plated with gold that is at least 10 karats .
Further, U.S. regulations state that an item cannot be sold as vermeil unless its gold plating is at least 2.5 microns thick .
Also, if the core of the piece contains another metal besides silver, this should be disclosed by the seller.
How To Care For Vermeil
This is an important part when answering the question: what is vermeil?
Now that you have some clarity on the question “what is vermeil?” it helps to understand how to care for your vermeil pieces.
Dust, pollution, perfumes, and cosmetics can affect the surface of your pieces. This might affect the gloss, something that you certainly don’t want to happen.
First, you should always apply perfume before wearing your pieces. Also, remember to remove them before taking a shower.
Try as much as possible to avoid exposing your jewelry to cleaners, hot water, and harsh chemicals. Ideally, you want to remove them before handling such solutions.
Substances, such as chlorine, can permanently damage the surface of your piece. Bear this in mind when using chlorine bleach or before diving in the pool.
When not using your vermeil pieces, remember to store them in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.
To clean your jewelry, use a clean cotton or microfiber cloth to buff it gently. Don’t be tempted to use chemical cleaners as they can easily strip the gold finish.
Over time, the gold layer is likely to tarnish. This is a common and natural property that adds a unique sense of character to the piece. Don’t fret when that happens.
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Gold Vermeil Vs Gold Filled
Our customers often ask what the differences between different types of gold jewellery. We covered the differences between gold filled and gold plated in this blog post already, but thought it would also be interesting to drill down on another type of gold jewellery that has surfaced more recently – gold vermeil.
Examples Of Vermeil In A Sentence
vermeilVoguevermeil Harper’s BAZAARvermeiloregonlivevermeil PEOPLE.comvermeil Forbesvermeil Forbesvermeil Forbesvermeil Forbes
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘vermeil.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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Gold Vermeil Vs Gold Plated
When comparing gold vermeil to gold plated, there are manydifferences that make the two gold types stand apart.
- Base metal – whilst gold plating can takeplace on any metal, from copper to brass, gold vermeil has to be onsterling silver. For a sustainable option, recycledsilver makes an excellent base.
- Gold thickness – the second key difference isin the thickness of the metal layer, whilst gold plated has aminimum thickness of 0.5 microns, vermeil has to be a thickness ofat least 2.5 microns. When it comes to gold vermeil vs gold plated,gold vermeil is at a minimum 5 times thicker than goldplating.
- Durability – due to its added thickness goldvermeil is far more durable than gold plating. Combining bothaffordability and quality.
Both gold vermeil and gold plated jewellery have their ownunique advantages. For those wanting a higher quality, but stillaffordable piece that will endure frequent wear for years to come,gold vermeil is the ideal choice. Whether you’re looking forearringsor anklets,gold vermeil is a wonderful option. Whereas, those who switch uptheir style more often, may wish to experiment with gold platedjewellery due to its slightly lower price point.
Contrasting gold vermeil vs gold plated displays how goldvermeil is a higher quality material to use in jewellery.
Possibility #: Mechanically Gold Plated Rings
But the definition doesnt stop there. The FTC also states that mechanical plating processes may be used in gold plated pieces:
An industry product on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces by soldering, brazing, welding, or other mechanical means a plating of gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness and of reasonable durability may be marked or described as Gold Plate, Gold Plated, Gold Overlay, Rolled Gold Plate, Rolled Gold Plated when such plating constitutes at least 1/40th of the weight of the metal in the entire article and when the term is immediately preceded by a designation of the karat fineness of the plating.
These mechanical means typically involve heat and pressure to bond the two metals together.
In this second category, a weight ratio, rather than coating thickness, is specified. Thats apparently because this is a more useful marker in ensuring durability for a mechanically plated piece. If the plating is added by mechanical means, the finished piece will have to be 2.5% gold by weight.
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