What’s the Difference Between Gold Vermeil and Solid Gold?

 Gold vermeil jewelry has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. Many jewelers now offer gold vermeil jewelry, which looks very similar to solid gold jewelry, yet is significantly more affordable. But what is gold vermeil and why does it cost so much less than solid gold? Find out below as we go over everything you need to know about gold vermeil jewelry. In this guide to gold vermeil, we’ll also be touching on how vermeil compares to solid gold and why we only create solid gold pieces at Ivy Jewelry.


What is Gold Vermeil 

Gold vermeil (pronounced “ver-may”) is high-quality sterling silver that has been coated in a thin layer of gold. To create gold vermeil, a layer of gold is electroplated to a sterling silver base, creating a strong bond. 

In the United States, gold vermeil is a legally defined material that must meet the following three conditions: 

  1. It must feature 925 sterling silver as its base metal
  2. It must have a gold coating that’s at least 2.5 microns thick. 
  3. The gold used for its coating must be at least 10k gold or higher. 


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Gold Vermeil

Gold vermeil can help you get a similar look to solid gold, without the same high price tag. It’s coated in solid gold, so it looks like solid gold. Because it is mostly made of high-quality sterling silver, a much more affordable precious metal compared to gold, it’s significantly less expensive. 

However, it’s important to point out that gold vermeil often doesn’t look like gold for long because its coating wears off. Depending on the craftsmanship of the piece, the thickness of the coating, and how careful you are when wearing your jewelry, gold vermeil can wear off quite quickly, sometimes even within a few weeks. Once the gold coating starts to wear off of gold vermeil, its sterling silver base will begin to peak through. And because sterling silver tarnishes, gold vermeil can also tarnish once its coating begins to wear thin. 


What’s the Difference Between Gold Vermeil and Solid Gold?

At Ivy Jewelry, we only use solid gold to create our fine jewelry. We’ll explain why as we go over what solid gold is and how it compares to gold vermeil


What is Solid Gold?

Solid gold is an umbrella term for the gold alloys that are commonly used in fine jewelry, such as yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. These alloys feature a mixture of pure gold and harder base metals. Jewelers mix pure gold with these harder metals because pure gold is very soft for a metal, making it a poor choice for most types of jewelry. If you’d like to know how much pure gold is in a gold alloy, look at its karat. 24k gold is 100% pure gold, 18k gold is 75% pure gold, 14k gold is 58.3% pure gold, and 10k gold is 41.70% pure gold


Why Solid Gold Over Gold Vermeil 

The main reason we use solid gold instead of gold vermeil is gold’s tremendous durability advantage. Solid gold is ideal for regular wear since it won’t tarnish or discolor. Because it’s solid you also never have to worry about wearing it through an outer layer. Solid gold will stand the test of time, so your solid gold piece from Ivy Jewelry is something that will look beautiful for decades to come. 


The Cost of Gold Vermeil vs. Solid Gold  

The only real drawback to solid gold is its price tag. Solid gold jewelry is significantly more expensive than gold vermeil jewelry because it contains much more pure gold. However, solid gold also lasts for far longer than gold vermeil, which is something to consider if you want to wear your jewelry for a long period of time. Gold vermeil jewelry will need to be regularly repaired or replaced over time, making the true cost of gold vermeil higher than you may expect. 


Gold Vermeil Jewelry FAQ 

How do you pronounce vermeil? 

Vermeil is pronounced “ver-may.”  


Can I swim or shower with gold vermeil pieces?

You shouldn’t swim or shower while wearing gold vermeil jewelry. The chemicals in treated water or cosmetic products will likely cause your outer gold layer to wear away much more quickly.  


Is gold vermeil hypoallergenic

Generally, gold vermeil jewelry is hypoallergenic, but some gold alloys may contain nickel. Any type of gold jewelry could potentially cause an allergic reaction depending on the type of metals used in the gold alloy. Note that at Ivy Jewelry we only use solid gold alloys that are nickel-free and hypoallergenic


Is gold vermeil real gold

Gold vermeil jewelry is coated in a thin layer of real gold, but isn’t solid gold. It’s made of high-quality sterling silver and real gold


What’s the difference between gold vermeil jewelry and gold-plated jewelry?

Gold vermeil and gold plated jewelry are similar in concept, but gold vermeil jewelry is typically higher quality than gold plated jewelry. Like gold vermeil, gold plating involves adding a gold coating on top of the base metal. However, gold-plated jewelry usually features a lower quality base metal, such as brass or copper. It also usually features a thinner layer of gold, since there is no standard amount of gold required for gold plating 


What’s the difference between gold vermeil jewelry and gold-filled jewelry?

Gold-filled jewelry is made of cheaper base metal, like brass or copper, that has been covered in gold sheets. The gold is bonded to the base metal using heat. Gold-filled jewelry features a thicker layer of gold compared to gold-plated jewelry, so it tends to be a bit more durable compared to plating or vermeil. It’s still significantly less durable than solid gold.  


What karat is gold vermeil

The karat of gold vermeil can vary depending on the specific piece, but it will always be at least 10 karat gold.


Why is gold vermeil jewelry more expensive than gold-plated jewelry?

Gold vermeil jewelry tends to be more expensive than gold-plated jewelry due to its higher pure gold content


Why is gold vermeil jewelry less expensive than solid gold jewelry?

Gold vermeil jewelry is less expensive than solid gold jewelry because it contains far less pure gold. Gold vermeil features a thin layer of gold on top of sterling silver, while solid gold is made from a solid gold alloy. 


How much does gold vermeil jewelry cost? 

The exact cost of a piece of gold vermeil jewelry can vary widely depending on the thickness of the gold layer, whether or not the piece features gemstones, and the craftsmanship needed to create the piece. A piece of gold vermeil jewelry will always cost less than a solid gold piece that otherwise has the same design, but there’s no standard price difference. 


Will a piece of jewelry made from gold vermeil tarnish

The base material of gold vermeil is sterling silver, which tarnishes when exposed to elements like moisture. Once the outer layer of gold on gold vermeil begins to wear off, its sterling silver base will be exposed, which can lead to tarnishing 

Explore Solid Gold Jewelry by Ivy Jewelry


Discover beautiful solid gold jewelry made right here in New York City. Featuring fine materials and expert craftsmanship, Ivy Jewelry is designed to stand the test of time. 

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