So what is vermeil?
We represent over 30 jewelers who work with a variety of materials, from solid metals like gold, sterling silver and brass, to gold alternatives like vermeil and gold-filled. The distinctions between gold alternatives can be confusing, so we've outlined the main differences between these popular solid gold alternatives in this guide.
Gold filled metal is a layered material wherein the inner core is a base metal like jeweler's brass and the outer layer is solid gold, commonly 14k. A 5% minimum of gold by weight is required for a metal to be considered "gold-filled", and the application of the gold is done through a bonding process that requires extreme heat and pressure. This results in a stable gold finish that resists wear and cracking with a lifetime of proper care. Most gold-filled jewelry has a exterior layer of gold between 5-100 microns.
Gold plated also refers to base metal that's been covered in gold, however there are few industry requirements for gold plate, and some platings are so thin that they will wear off quickly, even with semi-frequent wear. For this reason, we do not sell gold plated jewelry at Sailor.
Though the application process for gold vermeil is the same as gold-plated, the industry requirements are what set this apart as a preferred choice at Sailor. Gold vermeil refers specifically to gold-plated sterling silver where the thickness of the gold plating must be at least 4.5 microns. As with gold-filled jewelry, this results in a stable gold finish that resists wear with a lifetime of proper care.