Tutorial Tuesday - Gold Vermeil ... What IS it?

Lisa Lehmann

Posted on January 25 2011

If any of you are into jewelry, then you must be keenly aware that the price of gold and silver have recently gone through the roof. As of this morning gold was at $1343.00 per ounce and silver at $27.27 an ounce. OUCH!!!
The average person, and I'm not saying YOU are average...just your means of income, cannot afford to buy anything in pure gold karat. It's just way too expensive. But for as fun as silver is, there is just something about the golden sheen, the warm glow, the richness of GOLD! The lust for gold is truly eternal.
So what is a girl to do?
The answer? GOLD VERMEIL. First you ask what is gold vermeil? And how in the world do I say that word?
Truthfully, most people pronounce it wrongly...but now you will have the knowledge...and knowledge is power. Vermeil - pronounced VER-MAY, is the official industry designation for a heavy gold electroplating over a base of sterling silver.
Actually it is the heaviest gold plating achievable. When people talk of gold plating they usually mean .5 microns of gold, but vermeil has at least 2.5 microns which is equal to at least .0025 of a millimeter, or 100 millionths of an inch of gold. That doesn't seem like a lot, but in the world of plating it's quite substantial!
The gold must be at least 10 karat and is typically applied in 14 karat or 20 karat, so it truly is real gold. The benefit? The gold layer is thicker in Vermeil then in most plating techniques, so the layer of gold is longer lasting then in any other plating options. The cons? Because it is actual gold over top of actual sterling silver, the cost is still not cheap. And sterling does tarnish when not cared for properly, and the tarnished silver can show through and darken the gold layer.
But still, for me personally it allows the look of gold without the inflated price. I use Gold Vermeil extensively and have loved the results...as have my customers. I have included some pictures of my designs utilizing this metal, and if you would like any more info just contact me...I'd love to chat!
xoxo, lisa

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