The Ultimate Guide to Gold Vermeil


Gold vermeil is a well-loved material for jewellery makers and wearers alike. Want to know more? We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions about gold vermeil below.

What Is Gold Vermeil Jewellery?

Gold vermeil jewellery is actually sterling silver jewellery with a thick and durable layer of real gold particles applied to the surface using the process of electroplating. This means that the jewellery looks like solid gold, but the main material is silver which makes it cheaper to manufacture and buy. Check out our Gold Vermeil Collection for examples, we especially love the Nunc 18 Carat Gold Vermeil Necklace right now!

There are some specific requirements that have to be met to be able to officially label an item as gold vermeil:

  1. The base metal has to be sterling silver 
  2. The item needs to be plated with at least 2.5 microns thickness. To give you an idea of what that means, one micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter.
  3. The gold used during the plating process has to be at least 10 carats or higher. 

This means that customers can be sure that they know they are getting a good quality piece of jewellery made only of precious metals. All Duxford Studios jewellery is plated with 18 carat gold vermeil because we love the delicious rich colour. Check out our Mihi 18 Carat Gold Vermeil Bracelet to see how it looks. 

What Is the Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil?

Gold vermeil is guaranteed to be a high quality piece of jewellery, made of sterling silver and plated with a thick layer of gold which is 10 carats or higher, whereas gold plated items are made of cheaper base metals like copper and are coated with a much thinner layer of gold, and there isn't any specification of the carat that is used.

This means that gold vermeil jewellery is more durable and lasts longer than gold plated jewellery. As well as this, the quality of the item is guaranteed when you buy gold vermeil as there is a sterling silver hallmark showing it's value. Gold vermeil is also less likely to react with your skin as the entire piece is made of precious metals, rather than base metals that can irritate.

Can You Wear Gold Vermeil Everyday?

Yes, you can. As the item is manufactured with a thick layer of gold, at least 2.5 microns thick, this means that it takes much longer for the gold to wear away. With gold plated jewellery, the piece can have as little as 0.5 microns of gold covering the surface, meaning that your skin, clothing and anything else that comes into contact with it will rub away the gold much more quickly.

To guarantee that a piece of jewellery stays gold forever, it is best to invest in solid gold but this can be very expensive. Gold vermeil is a great option for people who love the colour but don't want to shell out on solid gold. It has a good amount of wearing time before the gold starts to fade away and because the base metal is high quality sterling silver, it's easy to re-plate it with another layer of vermeil. Our founder, Esme wears her Asgwrn 18 Carat Gold Vermeil Earrings practically every day and they're still looking bright and bold!

Can You Wear Gold Vermeil in the shower?

It's not a good idea to shower in your gold vermeil jewellery. Although having the occasional shower while wearing your gold vermeil jewellery won't destroy it, we advise that you remove it before showering. There are minerals in tap water which can be abrasive and damaging to gold vermeil over time. Also, the soaps, shampoos and other products you use can react with the metals, making it duller. We also advise against wearing any jewellery while you clean, or spend time in hot tubs, pools or the sea as the chemicals can damage your jewellery. 

How Long Does Gold Vermeil Last?

The lifespan of your gold vermeil will depend on many factors such as

  • The micron thickness
  • How often you wear the jewellery
  • If you shower with your jewellery on
  • If you wear your jewellery when exercising or doing heavy duty work
  • Which type of jewellery you have. Rings which are gold vermeil generally last a shorter amount of time than earrings or necklaces as you use your hands a lot

To ensure your vermeil lasts a long time, you can do the following things

  1. Make you know how many micros your gold vermeil is
  2. You could keep your gold vermeil for special occasions and wear your solid silver and gold jewellery on a day to day basis
  3. Don't shower with your gold vermeil (it's best to remove all your jewellery when you shower or swim)
  4. Don't exercise or do any heavy duty work while wearing your jewellery

Is Gold Vermeil Durable?

Yes, gold vermeil is durable, although it's always best to remove your gold vermeil jewellery when exercising or doing any heavy work. It's also fantastic quality. Gold vermeil is the highest quality jewellery you can buy apart from solid gold. It's considered to be demi-fine jewellery and it ranks as the highest quality affordable option.

How to Clean Gold Vermeil Jewellery

You should be cleaning your jewellery from time to time to keep it looking its best. Luckily, cleaning gold vermeil jewellery is easy to do at home with simple equipment, we recommend that you use a gentle polishing cloth. Just rub your piece of jewellery in one direction, wiping away any dirt.

You may be concerned about removing the gold vermeil by cleaning it. This can happen if you use a material that is too rough so be careful to choose a soft material, ideally a jewellery polishing cloth. A professional jeweller can also deep clean your gold jewellery safely.

To clean gold vermeil jewellery,

  1. Select a gentle polishing cloth, you can buy one from most high-street jewellers
  2. Rub your piece of jewellery in one direction, wiping away any dirt
  3. Make sure you don't apply too much pressure as this can damage the vermeil
  4. Repeat the cleaning process on a regular basis to ensure your jewellery is always looking its best
  5. If you have any concerns about cleaning your vermeil, consult a  professional jeweller 

Is Gold Vermeil Hypoallergenic?

Yes, gold vermeil jewellery is hypoallergenic. As it is made up of only precious metals, most people will have no negative reaction to this type of jewellery. Also, as the base metal is sterling silver, if the gold layer does rub off and come into contact with your skin, it's not likely to irritate in the same way that copper jewellery does. 

The other great news is that gold vermeil doesn't turn your finger green in the same way that gold plating often does. The green colour that can be seen on your skin is usually from copper in the metal used in cheaper jewellery.

Is Gold Vermeil Good for Sensitive Ears?

Gold vermeil is usually safe for sensitive ears as both the sterling silver base and the 18k gold plating used in our jewellery are both hypoallergenic. If you suffer with significant issues with irritation from wearing earrings, it's best to consult a dermatologist.

Check out our Mea 18 carat gold vermeil hoop earrings to see how the vermeil looks.

Duxford Studios creates wearable art inspired by the human form, modern culture and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver and other precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website, or get in contact about a custom jewellery design commission.