Vermeil, pronounced "vermay," is an electroplating process of jewelry that consists of 14K gold or higher coated over sterling silver. It is a beautiful and luxurious option for those who want the look of gold without the high price tag. While vermeil jewelry can last a lifetime, there are some things you can do to ensure that your pieces stay in beautiful condition.
What is vermeil and where did it originate?
Vermeil is a French word meaning "gold-plated." The process of vermeil was created in 18th century France. At that time, the only way to plate gold onto silver was with a mercury amalgam, which is extremely poisonous.
As you can imagine, this process was quite dangerous and there were many casualties. In the early 19th century, a new process was developed that used gold chloride instead of mercury. This made the process much safer and it is still used today.
What is the vermeil technique of plating sterling silver?
The vermeil plating process uses a method of electroplating. This involves using an electrical current to bind the gold to the sterling silver. First, a thin layer of gold is applied to the silver. Then, a thicker layer of gold is added. The thickness of the gold layers can vary, but most vermeil jewelry has at least 3 microns of gold.
The main difference between "gold filled" and "gold plated" jewelry is the thickness of the gold. Gold-filled jewelry has a much thicker layer of gold (at least 5% of the total weight). This makes it more durable and longer-lasting. Gold plated jewelry has a thin layer of gold that can wear away over time.
The process of vermeil is more expensive than gold plating because it uses a thicker layer of gold. Additionally, the gold used in vermeil must be at least 14K purity. Gold-filled jewelry only needs to be 12K purity.
Why buy vermeil jewelry?
There are many reasons to buy vermeil jewelry. First, it is more affordable than solid gold jewelry.
Second, it has a more substantial feel than gold-plated jewelry.
Third, it is very durable and can last a lifetime with proper care. Finally, it has a beautiful golden color that is perfect for any occasion.
How to properly care for your plated jewelry so it will last?
There are a few things you can do to keep your vermeil jewelry looking like new.
1. The first step is to avoid exposure to chemicals. This includes chlorine, perfume, lotion, and hairspray. Remove your vermeil jewelry before swimming or applying any products to your skin.
2. The second step is to avoid exposure to excessive heat. This means taking off your vermeil jewelry before showering, cooking, or doing any other activity that involves heat.
3. The third step is to avoid scratching the gold surface. Be careful when putting on and taking off your vermeil jewelry. Don’t store it next to other jewelry that could scratch it.
4. The fourth step is to clean your vermeil jewelry regularly. Gently wipe the gold surface with a soft, dry cloth. For deeper cleaning, use mild soap and warm water. Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
5. The fifth and final step is to store your vermeil jewelry in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent the gold from tarnishing.
Over time your vermeil jewelry items will need to be replated. You can take it to a professional jeweler or do it at home using a gold plating kit. Replating your jewelry will restore the original luster and keep it looking like new.
Vermeil jewelry is an excellent choice for those who want the look of gold without the high price tag. It is also a great option for people with sensitive skin, as it is hypoallergenic.
With proper care, vermeil jewelry can last a lifetime.