by John Brana June 22, 2010 2 Comments
What is vermeil? Aside from the technical definition, the best way to describe vermeil might be, “a beautiful material used in jewelry making that offers the luster and chic of pure gold without the high cost.” Vermeil, pronounced “ver-may”, is actually .925 sterling silver heavily plated with gold that cannot be less than 10k, and most jewelers of today use at least 14k gold.
Vermeil jewelry differs from jewelry that is sold as “gold plated” in that "plated" consists of a thinner layer of gold over a base metal such as brass. Over time, the base metal tends to appear through as the gold wears off due to exposure to skin oils and natural wear. Vermeil jewelry maintains its beauty over the long term better due to the thickness of the gold layer used in the production process.
Vermeil has long been favored for its high-style look and feel, and is also stronger than gold plated base metals, making it a choice for luxury items other than jewelry. The Vermeil Room in the White House features an exquisite collection of vermeil serving pieces from English and French silversmiths dating back to the eighteenth century, which were bequeathed to the White House in 1956.
Today, many fine jewelers offer vermeil jewelry among their most stylish and fashionable collections. Jewelry wearers who want the high-end, high quality look of pure gold often choose vermeil as an affordable substitute offering a sense of sophistication and style.
Vermeil jewelry should never be cleaned by machine or with solvents or commercial gold and silver cleaners. It is best maintained by polishing with a soft cloth to prevent scratching and keeping vermeil jewelry pieces in an air-tight bag or closed container can prevent corrosion over time.
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