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Get to Know Gold Vermeil Jewelry: Why Is It So Popular?

Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Over the years, gold jewelry has continually been a top choice among other metals. This is mainly due to its availability, easy craftsmanship, and affordability. The market is so saturated with many options, making it hard to choose. Among the various options, the one that caught people’s attention more is the GOLD VERMEIL. It has swiftly gained popularity and become a staple in the ever-changing fashion world.

Widely known for its luxurious appearance and inexpensive cost, it offers a captivating alternative to solid gold pieces. Gold vermeil jewelry boasts of a wide array of applications, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to suit individual tastes and preferences.

Join us as we uncover more about the charm and undeniable appeal of gold vermeil jewelry – a trend that continues to enchant fashion lovers across the world.

What is Gold Vermeil?

The term “vermeil” is coined from a French word, “vehr-may.” Gold vermeil is a legally regulated term that refers to high-quality jewelry plated with thick gold. Typically, it consists of a base metal coated with a thick layer of gold.

There are several types of gold-plated jewelry, but this is different as the gold layer must be at least 10-karat (but usually 14-karat and 18-karat) and have a minimum thickness of 2.5 micron. Unlike other types of gold plating that have thin layers of gold, gold vermeil jewelry guarantees longevity and resistance to tarnishing. The thick layer of gold gives it a shiny and brilliant appearance.

Jewelry Gold Vermeil Types

There are several types of jewelry gold vermeil and this categorization is based on the base metal, color, and quality.

Base Metal TypeGold TypeColor OptionsProsCons
Sterling Silver14k Gold or 18k GoldYellow or Rose– Higher quality and durability than other base metals- Hypoallergenic– Might get tarnished easily- Can be more expensive than other base metals
Brass– More affordable than other base metals- Resistant to tarnish– Can cause skin discoloration for some people- Can be less durable than other base metals
Stainless Steel– Highly durable- Resistant to tarnish and scratches- Hypoallergenic– Less expensive than some other base metals but still pricier than brass or copper- Can be heavier than other options

Common Base Metal Options

These are the three basic types of base metals options used for gold vermeil jewelry.

  • Sterling Silver: Gold vermeil over sterling silver is the most common option. Basically, the sterling silver is composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals, such as copper. You will see this represented on the jewelry as stamp 925.

Gold plated vermeil on sterling silver provides a solid and durable foundation for the gold coating, ensuring the durability of the jewelry. It has a natural white-silver hue and luster that complements the gold coating, resulting in a beautiful contrast.

  • Brass: This is another popularly used base metal for gold vermeil jewelry, but it’s an alloy that’s mainly composed of copper and zinc. Brass provides a warm and rich golden tone that improves the appearance of the jewelry gold coating. It’s malleable and supports easy craftsmanship of intricate designs, which is why it is commonly used for making unique and ornate jewelry pieces.

Additionally, brass is a reliable alternative to sterling silver and solid gold. The gold vermeil serves as a protective layer to keep the jewelry from tarnishing.

  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is a strong and corrosion-resistant alloy that’s made of iron, chromium, and other metals. Its resilience and durability makes it a perfect choice for everyday wear, and when coated with gold vermeil, it provides a modern and lustrous look.

Stainless steel is largely preferred because of its versatility, strength, affordability, and resistance to tarnishing, making it a suitable option for people seeking stylish and durable gold vermeil jewelry.

Color Options

There are two basic types of color options for gold vermeil jewelry – rose and yellow.

  • Rose Gold Vermeil: This color is formed by using a gold alloy that contains a higher percentage of copper compared to other metals. The higher the copper metal, the more the warm, romantic, feminine, and rosy hue of the jewelry.
  • Yellow Gold Vermeil: This is the most common and classic color option. Yellow gold vermeil meaning involves using a gold alloy that has gold, as well as other metals like silver and copper in equal proportions. This results in a shiny and rich yellow hue that looks like pure gold.

Gold Quality Options

There are two basic types of gold quality options for gold vermeil jewelry: 14-karat and 18-karat.

  • 14-karat Gold Vermeil: It’s composed of 58.3% of pure gold and 41.7% of other metals. The other metals could be copper or silver; they are added to increase the strength and longevity of the gold coating. 14k gold vermeil meaning involves the balance between purity and durability, which makes the jewelry have a luxurious look.
  • 18-karat Gold Vermeil: It’s composed of 75% of pure gold and 25% of other metals, like copper and silver. 18k gold vermeil meaning is higher gold content, which makes the jewelry have a deeper and richer gold color. However, it’s more costly than the 14-karat gold vermeil.

Gold Vermeil vs Regular Gold Plating vs Gold Filled Jewelry

Some people believe that these three terms are the same and are interchangeable, but they are actually different. While each of them have a gold layer on their surfaces, they have varying processes, thickness, advantages, and disadvantages.

Here is a simple differentiation between gold vermeil, gold plated, and gold filled jewelry.

Type of Gold PlatingDescriptionThickness RangeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Gold VermeilA process where the thick layer of gold is applied to the base metal using electrolysis2.5 – 5 micronsDurable, long-lasting, and has a high-quality appearanceCan be expensive, requires specialized equipment and expertise
Gold PlatedA quick and inexpensive process where a layer of gold is applied to a base metal0.05 – 0.1 micronsInexpensive, quick, and easy to applyNot as durable as other types of gold plating and it tend to wear off quickly
Gold FilledA process where a thick layer of gold is bonded to a base metal using heat and pressure5% – 10% of the jewelry total weightDurable, long-lasting, and has a high-quality appearanceCan be expensive and may tarnish over time
  • Gold Vermeil: Refers to high-quality base metal (basically sterling silver) that is coated with a thin layer of gold. This process is done by electroplating the sterling silver with gold. This firmly binds the two metals together. The minimum karat weight of the gold coating must be 10-karat and it must be at least 2.5 microns thick.
  • Gold Plated: Refers to base metal, such as brass, copper, as well as low-end metals that are coated with a layer of gold. It doesn’t require any minimum karat weight; however, it shouldn’t be less than 0.05 microns as it will be too thin and will wear off easily.
  • Gold Filled: Unlike gold plated and gold vermeil, gold filled jewelry involves applying a much thicker layer of gold on the base metal. It could amount to 5-10% of the jewelry weight. This thick layer of gold coating increases the jewelry’s capability to resist tarnishing.

FAQ About Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Is Gold Vermeil Waterproof? Can I Shower or Swim with it?

Truth be told, no metal is waterproof as the minerals in water can cause your gold vermeil jewelry to become dull over time. Don’t shower or swim with your gold vermeil jewelry because the water, soap, shampoos, and conditions can hasten the degradation of the metals. The bottom line is that your gold vermeil jewelry can occasionally come in contact with water, but frequent contact will cause damage. 

Will Vermeil Varnish?

With typical use and wear, vermeil won’t varnish. It has a thick layer of gold, making it resistant to tarnishing and guaranteeing its durability.

Is Vermeil Hypoallergenic?

Yes, gold vermeil is hypoallergenic as it doesn’t contain metals that cause allergic reactions. You can use gold vermeil for sensitive ears, hands, neck, etc.

Is Gold Vermeil Heavy?

No, it is not heavy. Gold vermeil is basically the application of a thin layer of gold on a base metal like sterling silver, resulting in an overall light weight. This makes it comfortable to wear over a long period.


Gold vermeil jewelry is a popular technique used for coating metals with gold. It involves applying a layer of gold (which must be at least 2.5 microns thick and 10-karat) over a base metal. Gold vermeil is preferred over other techniques like gold plating and gold-filled, as it ensures optimal protection against tarnishing and guarantees longevity.

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