Gold minimalist jewelry has become increasingly popular in the past decade or so. With the market flooded with many new businesses and jewelry styles, you may feel overwhelmed by options. We will provide an in-depth guide to gold vermeil, gold plating, gold-filled, and solid gold jewelry.

What does vermeil mean? Gold vermeil has a specific definition in the jewelry industry. It even has a legal definition in the United States. Any piece of jewelry you purchase that is advertised as gold vermeil must meet these requirements below:

1. A Sterling Silver base layer. Sterling silver is a metal alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals. You may see this represented on jewelry as .925.

2. A gold-plated outer layer must be any karat of gold between 10k-24k gold.

3. The outer gold layer must be at least 2.5 microns thick.

Gold vermeil was designed to bring the look of gold jewelry to the masses by making it more affordable. A base of Sterling Silver means you won’t get irritated by gold vermeil jewelry (similar to solid gold). It sounds like it may be the same as gold-plated jewelry but gold vermeil has an extra thick layer of gold. This means it lasts longer, doesn’t tarnish, and doesn’t fade much over time.

Gold vermeil is also hypoallergenic meaning it won’t irritate sensitive skin. Precious metals usually do not irritate skin and therefore gold vermeil is safe to wear for all. You may be wondering if gold vermeil is waterproof or if you can get it wet. Another plus of gold vermeil is that it is water resilient. You probably won’t damage your jewelry by showering or bathing with the pieces on. However, you should avoid the ocean, pools, and hot tubs to prevent damage.

Even better gold vermeil does not typically tarnish. Gold vermeil is your highest quality and longest-lasting option aside from true solid gold. It does have a base layer of Sterling Silver which means slight tarnishing is possible but this tarnish can be easily polished off with a silver polishing cloth.

Vermeil is simply a method of creating high-quality gold jewelry. Gold vermeil differs from plated jewelry in its thickness. Gold plated pieces do not require a certain thickness of gold by legal definition. Therefore the quality of gold-plated pieces varies considerably amongst jewelry brands. Whether you are a necklaces fan or a bracelet aficionado you can find the ideal gold jewelry to fit your lifestyle.

Gold plated jewelry can also use any metal as its base which means it may contain irritants or metals of lesser quality. Gold-filled jewelry typically has a cheap and low-quality base metal. Both gold-filled and gold vermeil visually appear quite similar to actual solid gold. However, gold-filled is more likely to cause irritation or tarnish because of the base metal.

Overall, solid gold is the most resilient metal choice you can make. If the high price point doesn’t work for you then gold vermeil is your best bet. It is a great option for anyone on a budget. We recommend gold vermeil as it is the best quality jewelry you can buy that isn’t solid gold. It makes for a wonderful gold jewelry option for any style.