We wanted to offer some of our popular forged silver pieces in a gold tone. Regular platings look cheap and have wearability issues from rub-off, poor color and allergy issues. We wanted to maintain the luxurious look of gold jewelry, be long-wearing and well priced. Vermeil was the best choice.
The US Code of Federal Regulations 16, Part 23.5 defines vermeil as follows:
An industry product may be described or marked as 'vermeil' if it consists of a base of sterling silver coated or plated on all significant surfaces with gold or gold alloy of not less than 10-karat fineness, that is of substantial thickness and a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to two and one half ( 21⁄2) microns (or approximately 1⁄10000 of an inch) of fine gold.
In these 3 key areas of making good vermeil jewelry, we meet or exceed the minimum recommendations. The base is indeed sterling silver, but we use a high carat 18K gold with a 3.75 micron thickness. This gives the jewelry excellent color and excellent durability and it makes it more hypoallergenic.
Gold plating involves electroplating a layer of gold on brass, copper and lower-end metals. There are no standards for gold plating so minimum thickness and karat weight are usually significantly less than a vermeil finish. This makes it less expensive than vermeil, but has poor wear properties and is non- hypoallergenic. This type of gold plating does not match our standards so we choose not to use it.
It should be noted that like any metal that is plated, Vermeil finishes may tarnish when exposed to water, sweat, perfume, chlorine etc. There is always some risk of rub-off with wear, but rings are of most concern in this regard. We don’t offer rings with a vermeil finish.
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