Vermeil vs Gold Plating
Now, we all know that feeling when you finally find those perfect “medium-size-battered-finish-in-price-range” gold hoops that you’ve given yourself permission to buy. Subsequently you find yourself hollering at google when the hoops say they are “vermeil" “18k gold ceramic plated” or “gold filled”. Lots of fancy terms, very little comprehension. Let us enlighten you with the materials criteria for your future treats-to-self.
Gold Vermeil (pronounced vur-MAY) will always have a core alloy of .925 sterling silver that is expertly plated with 14k-24k gold. This layer has to be at least 2.5 microns in thickness to qualify for such a title. This technique creates perfect option for those with metal allergies due to the durable thickness of the gold combined with the base of sterling silver. The thickness of the gold layer is what sets vermeil apart from the crowd. with proper care, your vermeil pieces should last an (almost) lifetime.
By definition, gold plating can use any metal as the base. Most commonly in high end brands, Sterling Silver will be used. Generally, when gold plating, the base is dipped in liquid gold to form one thin layer of gold. With proper care, and cleaning, the lifetime of the piece will extend but eventually the atoms of the base metal diffuse into the gold layer, causing slow gradual fading of its colour. This process may take months and even years, depending on the thickness of the gold layer.
Gold filled material is like solid gold’s close cousin. Gold-filled is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal can be brass, copper or silver. Getting a little technical, a gold alloy is bonded to one or both surfaces of the metal core with heat and pressure. Unlike plated or “dipped" metals, Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% gold by weight. Usually made with 14k gold, gold filling is hard wearing and should mimic the properties of solid gold, without the hefty price tag.
So there you have it! When you’re shopping for the perfect piece, you are now fully equipped with the info from the world of metal accessories.