The main difference between gold plated and gold vermeil is their core metal or base metal. In gold plated objects, any metal, including brass, copper, silver, and nickel, can serve as the base metal, but in gold vermeil, the base metal is always silver.
Gold plated jewelry and gold vermeil jewelry are good options for those who can’t afford real gold jewelry. Often, it’s difficult to identify the difference between this type of jewelry and real gold jewelry.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Gold Plated
– Definition, Features, Process
2. What is Gold Vermeil
– Definition, Features
3. Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil
– Comparison of Key Differences
Gold Plated, Gold Vermeil, Gold Jewelry
What is Gold-Plated
Gold plating is the process where a thin layer of gold is deposited on the surface of a metal. Gold plated jewelry is quite common in the world of jewelry. It’s almost impossible to identify the difference between real gold jewelry and gold plated jewelry just by looking at them. In gold plating, we can use most metals as base metals. Silver, copper, brass, nickel, tungsten, titanium, and stainless steel are some metals we can use. However, jewelry manufacturing mainly uses metals like silver and copper for gold plating.
Furthermore, the process of gold plating is not very difficult and involves only a few simple steps. First of all, the surface of the metal that’s to be plated (we call this the base metal) has to be cleaned thoroughly. Oil or dust on the base metal will prevent the gold layer from bonding properly with the metal. Then, jewelry-makers add a layer of nickel onto the base metal. This helps to protect the gold layer from the base metal. Finally, they dip the jewelry in containers holding gold and use a positive electrical charge to fuse the gold layer to the metal. Once the gold layer is thick enough, jewelry is dried.
What is Gold Vermeil
Gold vermeil or vermeil is silver that has been gilded with gold. We also call it silver gilt or gilded silver. Jewelry or other objects made from vermeil are considerably lighter than solid gold or gold plated objects. They are also more durable. Crown jewels, sporting trophies (gold trophies, and jewelry are vermeil objects. To the naked eye, vermeil looks like gold, so it’s a good option for those who can’t afford gold jewelry.
In the US, the gold portion of an object must be above 10 karats for it to be considered vermeil. But most superior jewelry is 14, 18, or 24 karats, depending on the thickness of the piece. This thickness is another factor that differentiates vermeil and gold plated objects. In vermeil, the thickness is at least 2.5 microns. Moreover, this gold layer is made using gold powder or leaf instead of using gold sheets. The other major requirement for vermeil is the silver base. Unlike in gold plated objects, the base in vermeil is always silver.
Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil
Gold-plated refers to objects made by depositing a thin gold layer on a base metal while gold vermeil refers to silver that has been gilded with gold.
In gold plated objects, any metal can serve as the base metal, but in gold vermeil, the base metal is always silver.
Requirement for the Gold Portion
In the US, the gold portion of a vermeil object must be above 10 karats, and its thickness must be at least 2.5 microns. But there are no such requirements for gold-plated objects. Generally, the gold layer in vermeil is thicker than that of gold plated objects. Therefore, gold vermeil tends to be more durable.
Vermeil jewelry tends to be more expensive than gold plated jewelry.
The main difference between gold plated and gold vermeil is their core metal or base metal. In gold plated objects, any metal, including brass, copper, silver, and nickel, can serve as the base metal, but in gold vermeil, the base metal is always silver. Generally, the gold layer in vermeil is thicker than that of gold plated objects. Therefore, gold vermeil tends to be more durable.
1. “13 Things You Need to Know about Gold Plating.” Jewelry Guide.
2. Davis, Deven. “What Is Vermeil? (and Why You Should Own Some).” Roma Designer Jewelry.
1. “Jewelry Gold Indian Female Bangle Bracelet” (CC0) via MaxPixel
2. “Bassin de vermeil 6052” By G.Garitan – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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