Vermeil, pronounced "vehr-MAY," simply put is a metal product created by coating sterling silver with gold. In the US, to be designated as vermeil an item must be:
- Made using sterling silver as the base metal
- The gold portion must be of reasonable durability and a minimum of 2.5 microns thick
- The gold must be 10 karats or higher in fineness.
Most high-quality vermeil is made with a 14, 18, 22 or 24 karat gold coating. Many people associate vermeil with gold plating. Even though gold plate and vermeil do share certain characteristics, there are a big differences in quality, durability, and desirability between the two. Key factors which sets vermeil jewelry apart from gold plated pieces are gold thickness and base metal. Gold plate has a very thin layer of gold, the minimum being 0.5 microns as opposed to vermeil’s 2.5 micron minimum. With gold plate, any metal can be used as the base. Brass, copper, steel and nickel are the most common, whereas sterling silver must be the base metal for vermeil. In general, gold plated pieces are less costly than vermeil jewelry.
What are the drawbacks of vermeil jewelry?
With vermeil, the exposed sterling silver portion of the piece can tarnish, as described in our sterling silver write-up. Also, over time, the gold coating can show signs of wear, exposing the jewelry’s silver base color. The durability of the gold covering is dependent on two factors, the thickness of the gold and the purity of the gold (expressed in karats). The thicker the gold coating, the longer it will take for the gold to wear off. Since pure gold is a soft metal, the higher the content of pure gold, the easier it will scratch and wear. Despite these drawbacks, with proper care and attention, vermeil jewelry pieces can be a valuable addition to your jewelry collection.
Why does 100 East Fine Jewelry offer vermeil jewelry?
We find vermeil jewelry an attractive way to provide color accents to some of our jewelry pieces by creating a two-toned white and yellow effect. This allows them to be worn with other white or yellow gold jewelry pieces. Vermeil is a 100% precious metal alloy, but is a more cost effective alternative to mixing white and yellow gold in a single piece.
Pure silver possesses a unique, lustrous white color, which makes it very desirable for use in jewelry. The alloy known as sterling silver originated in continental Europe around the 12th century, well before white gold was created in the 19th century and before platinum could be produced in commercial quantities. You can check out how silver is combined with gold [...]
Platinum’s natural greyish-white color is similar to white gold, but not as silvery-white. Platinum is among the rarest and most expensive metals in the world. It is also one of the strongest and most durable metals known to man.Platinum’s popularity for use in jewelry comes from its beautiful luster, resistance to tarnishing and its ability to move with force rather [...]
Gold has been used since antiquity for jewelry, coinage, sculpture, vessels and as a decoration for buildings, monuments and statues. As early as 3000 BC, gold jewelry was worn by both men and women in Mesopotamia (today mostly Iraq, but also parts of Syria, Iran and Turkey). Gold purity or fineness (the amount of pure gold contained in the product) [...]
Metals are either elements (shown in the Periodic Table) or alloys. The major precious metal elements are gold (Au), silver (Ag) and platinum (Pt). While jewelry can be made from each of these elements in its pure form, jewelry makers found they are not ideal choices for jewelry. Pure gold and pure silver are quite soft and malleable which causes [...]
The primary precious metal alloys comprising our current jewelry inventory are gold, and silver vermeil. A microscopic layer of another precious metal, rhodium, is plated onto many of our white gold jewelry pieces. Rhodium is used to cover any tinge of yellow which remains from the natural gold color and gives the item an ultra-white appearance. Platinum alloys are also used in our jewelry, [...]
Precious metals are those metals in the Periodic Table which are rare and possess high economic value. Eight Periodic Table elements are considered precious metals: gold, silver and the six metals comprising the platinum group of metals (platinum, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium and iridium). The six platinum group metals have similar chemical and physical characteristics, are neighbors on the [...]
Inspiration for each of my fine gemstone jewelry designs usually occurs one of three ways. Something I encountered in everyday life triggers a design idea, I see that rare gemstone which captures my imagination, or a brainstorming session with a family member gets the creative juices flowing. Here's a little behind the scenes look at the process I went [...]
You’re going to learn in this blog that the best way to start is by measuring your ring size using ring gauges, as pictured towards the middle of the blog. If you’re located in the US, we are happy to provide you with a complimentary set of these ring gauges. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-202-2143. We’re happy to send [...]
For the month of June, three lovely gemstones were selected as the birthstone, Moonstone, Pearl and Alexandrite.Photographed by David Weinberg for Alexandrite.net and released to the public domainAlexandrite: “Emerald by day, ruby by night,” is a phrase frequently used to describe alexandrite’s most famous magic trick; color-change. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish [...]