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Vermeil vs Gold Plate

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Forever an ongoing topic with our friends, wholesalers and customers, I love getting in depth and discussing the burry line that differentiates regular ‘gold plated’ jewellery to Vermeil jewellery.

I’ve touched on this topic many times before, some could say i’m at risk of repeating myself... But it’s all in the hopes of educating and creating clarity around the essential details that are often glazed over and missed when discussing this subject.

And so you can make better, more informed decisions when purchasing your next piece of jewellery.

To recap…

Not all gold plated jewellery is created equal; a piece could last two years, or two days and both be called 'gold plate'. There are many variables that contribute to this; base metal, method of plating, the thickness of gold and the karat… (To learn more on these variables head to our previous journal post - ‘Let’s Talk Metals’

But in this series we’re highlighting Vermeil; what it is, how it compares to regular gold plated jewellery and the reason we use it for our collections.

We like to think of Vermeil as the next best thing to solid gold jewellery (without the price tag of course!). For some insight - while a signet ring made in Vermeil RRP’s at $230, the same ring in solid 9k gold would estimate RRP at $990….

Essentially Vermeil is a type of gold plated jewellery - but with strict manufacturing guidelines. These guidelines ensure a premium, longer lasting piece that is a benchmark in quality.

'Vermeil is different from regular ‘gold plated jewellery’’ as to be legally called ‘vermeil’, or to be considered as ‘true vermeil’ it must comply with US standards.

These standards are:

  • The base metal must be pure silver or sterling silver
  • Gold plate needs to be 2.5 microns thick or higher
  • Gold Karat needs to be 10k or higher

It’s important to know that to label jewellery Vermeil you must follow these guidelines and that these standards are universal.

On the other hand - there are no guidelines when labeling ‘gold plated’ jewellery. This is why navigating the murky world of gold plated jewellery can be tough, especially when not equipped with the right knowledge.

Vermeil vs Gold Plate - a comparison

Variables 

Vermeil

Gold plated

Base metal 

Must be sterling silver or silver

Any (usually brass, zinc, tin or any combination of these)

Karat of gold

Must be 10k or higher 

Any karat

Thickness of gold plate

Minimum of 2.5 Microns

Any (the thickness of gold is not measured on gold plate)

Freshly electroplated Leisure Chains waiting to be inspected

Had no luck with gold plated or Vermeil pieces? 

Next time you're shopping, ask or look for the information on what the base metal is, what the thickness of gold is and the karat of the piece:

  • Look for a stamp on the inside of the piece to determine the base metal... 925 means a sterling silver base, which is great! If it doesn't have this stamp it may be a fun mystery metal.. (as mentioned this could be zinc, tin, brass, stainless steel, or a combination of others) 

  • You can ask or look at the colour of the gold to try and determine the karat. Steer away from higher karat gold, such as 24k and 22k, as these are known to be less durable due to their low alloy content.

  • There is unfortunately no way to tell the thickness of gold on a piece, but you ideally want a thickness of 2.5 to 4 microns, or more. Asking for more clarity & seeking further information on this point is always a good idea.

Also something to consider… Your skin, oils and sweat can affect the durability of a piece. Everyone is different and jewellery can wear differently from person to person. 

You may have a higher PH level in your skin which can cause reactions if non precious metals are worn (like the combination of mystery metals mentioned above!) If this is the case, you are best off wearing precious metals like silver and gold and trying Vermeil.

All information regarding our jewellery can be found here online and if you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch!

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