Vermeil Gold – what on earth is it?
What is Vermeil gold? Of course you’ve heard of gold jewellery, and even gold-plated, but have you heard of vermeil gold?
Vermeil gold (pronounced ‘ver-may’) is a French term, and it refers to items of jewellery made of sterling silver and heavily plated with gold. It has, therefore, the appearance of gold, but is a lot cheaper than solid gold.
However, it doesn’t mean that it’s a lesser quality alternative. The silver that is used is usually 925 sterling silver, or almost pure silver. The gold is usually at least 18 carats, right up to 24 carats. It also has a lot more gold than other gold plated pieces, and has to be a certain thickness to be named vermeil and pieces usually carry the 925 stamp, which is it the mark of sterling silver.
Because of the fact that vermeil is made of entirely precious metals, unlike some other plated jewellery, it’s more valuable. And because of the amount of high quality gold in it, it should maintain the look of yellow gold for a long time. So from first glance, it looks like gold jewellery, and it can be polished up to a really good shine, or if left to slightly to tarnish can take on the appearance of vintage jewellery.
How should you look after vermeil jewellery?
Vermeil jewellery will tarnish over time, just as any jewellery will. Although it’s made up of precious metals it is less prone to tarnishing, but other factors such as air pollution, use of lotions and perfumes and even chlorine when swimming will also affect how much jewellery tarnishes. NEVER wear jewellery while in swimming pools – chlorine is a bleach that can break down the metal (not good for “shoulders” holding your precious stones in place!) and can leave a black tarnish on the pieces which can be very difficult to remove.
To try and reduce the amount of tarnishing then I advise keeping your jewellery clean and storing it somewhere safe, air tight if possible. (I usually use a Tupperware box or a seal-tight plastic bag).
But if your vermeil jewellery does tarnish, then don’t panic. It’s really easy to remove. Just give it a gentle polish with a lint-free cloth, and that should do it, or invest in a jewellery polishing cloth as they will definitely do the trick. NEVER use toothpaste or baking soda on jewellery, as it scratches the metal.
Vermeil jewellery is being used more often, although the process is many years old, having been first used in France in the 18th century. As gold prices rise, it’s becoming the next best thing to solid gold, and no longer seen as a cheap option, but a high quality alternative found in designer jewellery shops all over the world.
Head on over to my shop to take a look at some of the vermeil gold pieces I have on offer. I have many pieces that are not uploaded onto the website, or I can also create bespoke pieces if you have something in mind, just get in touch, and we can work on a design together.
Also, if you want any more advice on cleaning your vermeil gold pieces, then I can take a look at your jewellery to help get it clean and sparkling again!