Gold vermeil plating is the process of bathing jewellery in gold and has a long history stretching back to the 1800s. If you’re considering a gold necklace, earrings, or bracelet and are curious about whether gold vermeil plated jewellery is right for you, we’re here to help. Read on for our guide to gold vermeil plating, including its unique characteristics, and how to care for your new treasure.
- What is gold vermeil plating?
- Gold vermeil plating versus standard gold plating: Is a gold vermeil plating the same as a standard gold plating?
- How durable is gold vermeil plating?
- Does gold vermeil plating wear away?
- How long does gold vermeil plated jewellery last?
- Can you wear gold vermeil plated jewellery everyday?
- How should I care for my gold vermeil plated jewellery?
- How to clean and polish gold vermeil plated jewellery
- What sorts of jewellery can i buy with a gold vermeil plating
What is gold vermeil plating?
A gold vermeil plating is a layer of gold that’s bound to the outside of sterling silver jewellery. The technique dates back to the nineteenth century and is a more affordable option compared to solid gold, but gleams just as brightly.
It’s made by placing the sterling silver jewellery into a chemical solution that contains gold particles. An electric current is then passed through the solution, which attracts the gold and binds it to the jewellery piece. This creates a gold coating across the surface of the silver—this is the vermeil plating.
Gold vermeil plating versus standard gold plating: Is a gold vermeil plating the same as a standard gold plating?
No, not quite! Standard gold plating uses the same process as gold vermeil plating, but with a couple of differences.
Firstly, standard gold plating applies a gold layer to less expensive base metals (such as copper or brass) in order to create a more affordable option. A gold vermeil plating refers specifically to the process of adding gold to sterling silver—not any other type of metal.
Secondly, to describe something as gold plated, you need only add a gold layer that’s 0.5 microns thick—compared to 2.5 microns for gold vermeil platings. So gold vermeil plated jewellery has a thicker coating and more gold content, which means it lasts longer and makes it more durable (as well as more valuable).
In short, a gold vermeil plating gives a higher value piece of jewellery—not only in terms of the thickness of the gold layer, but also the metal that’s hiding underneath.
How durable is gold vermeil plating?
The durability of gold vermeil plating can vary depending on a number of factors, including the thickness of the gold plating, the quality of the plating, and how well the jewellery is cared for. Generally, gold vermeil plating can be less durable than solid gold or gold-filled jewellery, as the gold layer in vermeil is thinner than in these other types of jewellery. However, with proper care, gold vermeil jewellery can still last for many years.
Does gold vermeil plating wear away?
Yes, a gold vermeil plating can wear away over time, particularly if the jewellery is worn frequently or exposed to harsh chemicals or abrasion. The thickness of the gold plating can vary, but generally, it's recommended that gold vermeil plated jewellery should be re-plated after a year or two of regular wear to maintain its appearance. The wear rate of the gold vermeil plating can also depend on the quality of the plating and the care taken to maintain the jewellery. Regular cleaning and proper storage can help to prolong the life of the gold vermeil plating.
How long does gold vermeil plated jewellery last?
A gold vermeil plating is more durable than a standard gold plating due to the extra thickness of the gold layer. With proper care and infrequent wear, your gold vermeil plated rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets can last for years. However, if you plan to wear your piece frequently (especially rings) then you might need to re-plate your jewellery up to two or three times a year.
Can you wear gold vermeil plated jewellery everyday?
With proper care, gold vermeil plated jewellery can be worn every day, but it's important to keep in mind that the gold plating will wear away over time, especially with frequent wear and exposure to harsh chemicals or abrasion. If you plan to wear your gold vermeil plated jewellery every day, it's important to take good care of it by avoiding exposure to chemicals, removing it before bathing or swimming, and storing it properly when not in use.
If worn everyday, you will probably need to have the gold vermeil plating re-applied every year or two to keep the jewellery looking its best.
The gold vermeil plating on rings will wear away faster than that on necklaces and earrings. This is because because rings are typically subject to more wear and tear than other types of jewellery, due to the fact that they are in direct contact with the skin and other surfaces. The friction from everyday activities, such as typing, writing, or doing household chores, can cause the gold plating to rub off more quickly, especially on the parts of the ring that come into the most contact with surfaces. Additionally, rings are often exposed to chemicals and other substances that can cause the gold plating to wear away, such as hand sanitisers, lotions, perfumes, and cleaning agents.
How should I care for my gold vermeil plated jewellery?
1. Keep it clean
For daily cleaning, you can gently polish your gold vermeil plated jewellery with a microfibre cloth (not a silver polishing cloth!)—just like the ones that come in your sunglasses case. These are gentle enough that they won’t leave scratches or degrade the gold coating on your jewellery.
If it needs a more thorough clean, you can use normal washing up liquid and lukewarm (not hot) water. Rather than submerging your jewellery, you should wet the same microfibre cloth mentioned above, and use it to very gently clean the gold surface. When you’re done, use a fresh cloth dipped in plain water to clean off any residual soap, and pat dry.
2. Keep it away from liquids
It’s a good idea to remove your gold vermeil plated jewellery before applying things like moisturisers, perfumes and hand sanitiser. As a general rule, your jewellery should be the last thing you put on in the morning, and the first thing you take off at night: spritz your perfume, put on your jewellery, and then walk out the door.
3. Remove it before certain activities
If you’re about to do anything that may scratch or knock your jewellery, it’s best to take it off first. This is particularly true of rings, which are much more likely to come into contact with rough surfaces. If you’re about to lift a dumbbell at the gym, use harsh chemicals to clean the house, or swim in the sea, best to remove your gold vermeil plated jewellery before you start.
4. Store it away from jewellery made from other materials
When you’re not wearing them, store your rings, necklaces or bracelets in a clean, dry place away from your other jewellery. Keeping your gold vermeil plated jewellery in a separate bag, cloth or pouch will protect it against bumps and scrapes, ensuring the gold layer doesn’t get damaged.
How to clean and polish gold vermeil plated jewellery
It is important to be careful when polishing your gold vermeil plated jewellery since the gold vermeil plating may wear away. Use a soft, non-abrasive microfibre cloth to gently clean your gold vermeil jewellery and be sure not to rub too hard. This will help to remove any dirt, dust, or oils that may have accumulated on the surface. Furthermore, avoid exposing your gold vermeil plated jewellery to harsh chemicals such as bleach, perfume, or hairspray as these can damage the gold plating and cause it to wear away more quickly.
What sorts of jewellery can I buy with a gold vermeil plating?
This is a super versatile finish that can be applied to all jewellery. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out Pearls & Pomegranates’s gold vermeil plated collection to get started.