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What is Vermeil? And why is it so great?

What is Vermeil?  And why is it so great?

     Vermeil, (pronounced “ver-may”) is like the business class of golds, it may not be first (that would be solid gold) but it is light years better than your average plated gold and definitely where we’d rather be sitting.

     There are several interesting things to note about vermeil, (whether you see the term gold vermeil or just vermeil it’s all referring to the same thing).  Vermeil is a type of plating, it’s just the best type in our opinion.  It’s the only kind of plating that has to be regulated and measured to legally use the term.  Those requirements mandate that it has to be a minimum of 2.5 microns thick, has to be a karat weight of 10 or above, and can only be bonded to a base metal of sterling silver.

Gold Vermeil Mind's Eye Ring laying flat on white subway tile
Vermeil vs. Plated

      In contrast, anything described just as plated is hard to know for sure what you’re getting. (Kudos to the brands that do call out their base metals.)  The most commonly used plating practice is something known as “flash” plating over bronze.  While there’s nothing wrong with this method of plating, it just doesn’t last as long because it can be a very thin layer and once that bronze is exposed it’s likely not the shiny gold tone of your desired piece, or worse yet, can develop an unsightly grey film due to oxidation reactions. Not to mention cause skin reactions for some. (Yes, we're talking about the dreaded green skin reaction, which can be common for some when wearing bronze or copper.)

     With gold vermeil, in our case 14kt gold vermeil, not only does the gold last much longer because it’s heavier and thicker, but in the case that it does wear down or get scratched over time; the base metal underneath is beautiful sterling silver.  Worst case scenario?  After a lot of wear and tear or not following best practices we outline in our materials and care section here, you could get an appearance of lighter gold or white gold, but never something that tarnishes or is a darker bronzy hue.   In our book that’s a win!  Beautiful, modern jewelry that lasts and keeps up with you without the fine jewelry price tag.

Gold Vermeil Finisher Anklet laying in display case
Ok, so what’s Gold – Filled?

     We know... there’s a lot terminology out there. We’re here to help!  Gold – Filled is created by a mechanical process of pressure bonding layers of gold over bronze.  Think of a panini press grilling a sandwich.  The bread on the outside is the gold, and the fixings in-between are the bronze. With gold filled, the gold percentage is required to be 5% of the total.  Gold filled is great in that, believe it or not, 5% is much more than flash plated styles and typically is very long lasting. 

     The downside is that your base metal is bronze (although more heavily shielded) and because it has to be fabricated (and not molded & cast) there are limitations with how you can work with it.  This can mean, depending on the style, there can be cut or exposed edges where the bronze area is exposed. It’s good to be aware of also if you have sensitivities or reactions to bronze.

     As a general rule, gold filled chains are usually fine and can be a great value as links are closed and there’s no exposure of bronze core edges.  Just be careful to check how any pendants are made if you’re looking for a longer lasting style.

     Here at Shop Lausanne, we’re sticking to precious metals only, using solid sterling silver and 14k Gold Vermeil.  We believe in investing in timeless, modern jewelry styles that will not only last quality wise, but also style wise.  So, you can enjoy wearing them for years to come.

Modern Gold Vermeil Rings Laying stacked together
      We hope this helped break things down for you! If you’d like more helpful info like this, join our newsletter below for the occasional update. Questions? Let us know at hello@shoplausanne.com or hit us up on Instagram @lausannejewlery. 

Shine on!
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