What’s the difference between gold vermeil and solid gold?
When shopping for jewellery, many find themselves stumped by the sheer amount of choice you have when selecting the metal that will make up the piece.
From gold filled and gold plated to gold vermeil, sterling silver, and solid silver, there’s a lot to learn when deciphering which metal is the right choice for you.
As our customers know, our love for recycled sterling silver is behind the designs of many of our pieces.
You may have noticed another metal feature in our designs, especially in our Cornish Coastal range and 1763 collection.
Gold vermeil is an incredible metal to work with and to wear.
Here we discover why and explore how it differs from solid gold and other metal types.
What exactly is gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is essentially gold-plated sterling silver - we told you we loved sterling silver! Thanks to its thick layer of gold, it looks and feels like solid gold jewellery, without you having to pay the price tag.
The process used to create gold vermeil is particularly complex and can determine its finish, quality and longevity as Jewelry Shopping Guide details:
“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.”
When was gold vermeil first popularised?
Gold vermeil may be the hottest jewellery trend on the block, but it’s no new thing. This particular metal has been around for quite some time.
The technique is thought to originate from France, where artisans would create gold vermeil pieces using the fire-gilding method as far back as the 1700s. This makes it the most traditional gold plating jewellery making technique.
It was particularly popular in the Victorian era when it was used to create not just jewellery but tableware and furniture.
In more recent times, gold vermeil was used to create sports trophies, the Olympic gold medals and some of the Crown Jewels.
Today, its timeless look and feel provide an authentic finish that complements so many styles.
Why should you choose gold vermeil?
As well as the obvious price difference, gold vermeil jewellery pieces have their own unique benefits.
Those looking to go for that vintage look will love how its appearance evolves with minimal maintenance.
If you’d like to keep its original shine, however, regular care and maintenance will help to preserve its solid gold like lustre.
How does gold vermeil compare to other metals?
Gold vermeil designs are much more affordable than solid gold, and while they won’t ever be 100% solid gold, their look says something different.
Gold vermeil is also particularly high-quality, especially when compared with regular gold-plated pieces. Its sterling silver base is of a much higher standard than the brass, bronze and copper (cheaper metals) generally used for gold plating. This means you’ll get to enjoy your gold vermeil jewellery piece for so much longer.
The thickness of the gold used to plate gold vermeil and gold plated jewellery differs dramatically.
Gold vermeil tends to have a thicker layer of at least 2.5 microns, which means 2.5 heavy layers of gold compared to the thin one layer used to create other designers' gold plated pieces.
We use 5 microns, so 5 heavy layers of 18ct gold, on all our jewellery pieces. 5 microns usually mean 5 years of wear before the gold starts to rub away. The good news is that we can always re-plate your Dainty London jewellery for you for a small additional charge.
Browse our collections to appreciate the true beauty of gold vermeil for yourself.