What is Gold Vermeil?

Thu Mar 14, 2024

Gold jewelry comes in a variety of forms, each with its own unique composition and characteristics. The options range from gold plated and gold vermeil, to gold filled, and solid gold. At Simple & Dainty, our pieces include collections made of gold vermeilgold filled, and solid gold. Solid gold can be pricey, so we like to have more affordable options with gold filled + gold vermeil. Gold filled has limitations because it's only available in sheet or wire form (which you can learn about that in our Types of Gold Jewelry blog post). That's why we opt for gold vermeil when creating affordable, everyday jewelry!

Our favorite vermeil jewelry include our best-selling Baguette Cluster Ring, Classic CZ HuggiesDainty Floating CZ Ring, Tiny Initial Necklace, and Zodiac Coin Necklace. Let's dive into what *exactly* what gold vermeil is!

**Gold Vermeil Jewelry**

Table of Contents

What is gold vermeil?

Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-may) is crafted using precious metals. It consists of a sterling silver base that is then coated with a 2.5-micron layer of gold, setting it apart from gold plated jewelry, which uses brass or copper. What distinguishes gold vermeil is the thicker layer of gold applied to the base metal, increasing its resistance to tarnish and making it more durable than gold plated jewelry.

What is gold vermeil?

What does gold vermeil mean?

Gold vermeil jewelry in the United States is subject to specific legal requirements that establish it as a high-quality form of gold plated jewelry. It consists of a base layer made of sterling silver, with a layer of solid gold electroplated on top. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established the following criteria that must be met for a piece of jewelry to be labeled as gold vermeil:

  • The piece must be plated in gold that is at least 10k.
  • The gold layer must have a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns.
  • The base metal is legally required to be 925 sterling silver, meaning it is 92.5% sterling silver and 7.5% other metals.

Gold Vermeil Requirements

What is gold vermeil jewelry?

Gold vermeil jewelry is made of 925 sterling silver with a 2.5-micron layer of gold electroplated onto it, creating a durable and long-lasting layer of gold. This differs significantly from other gold plated jewelry, which typically consists of cheaper base metals such as nickel, copper, or brass with a 0.5-micron layer of gold plated onto them.

At Simple & Dainty, all of our gold vermeil pieces are plated with 14k gold. We send our vermeil pieces to a reputable plating factory that has the ability to measure the amount of gold they are plating on top of the sterling silver.

While shopping for gold vermeil pieces, you will often see "925" stamped into the piece, indicating that the gold has been plated onto a sterling silver base that is 92.5% sterling silver.

USA vs. Canadian gold vermeil standards

The regulations for labeling gold vermeil are more stringent in the United States compared to Canada. In Canada, the requirement for gold plating thickness is 1.0 micron, whereas in the United States, it must be at least 2.5 microns thick. Thicker plating generally results in increased durability and longevity.

Due to the lack of close monitoring, there is a possibility of purchasing a piece labeled as "gold vermeil" from a Canadian brand that does not meet the conditions set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States. This means you might unknowingly pay full price for a lower-quality piece of jewelry, thinking you were investing in something of higher value.

Does gold vermeil tarnish?

Gold vermeil may tarnish when left unworn and exposed to air, as the base metal is sterling silver, and sterling silver can left if it is left exposed. Fortunately, you can easily remove any tarnish by using a polishing cloth.

When you're not wearing your gold vermeil jewelry, it's best to keep it sealed in an airtight bag so that your jewelry will not oxidize. If you want to learn more about preventing tarnish and how to care for your vermeil jewelry, check out our blog post How to Care for Your Jewelry.

Gold vermeil jewelry is generally more resistant to tarnish compared to traditional sterling silver jewelry because the thick layer of gold on the surface serves as a protective barrier, reducing the likelihood of tarnish formation.

**Gold Vermeil Jewelry**

Does gold vermeil wear off?

With heavy use and inadequate care, the gold layer in gold vermeil jewelry can wear off. While gold vermeil jewelry is designed to be durable and long-lasting, several factors can contribute to the wearing off of the gold vermeil layer:

  • Friction and abrasion: Excessive rubbing or contact with hard surfaces can gradually wear away the gold layer. This can occur through activities such as wearing jewelry during vigorous exercise or handling rough materials.
  • Chemical exposure: Avoid applying harsh chemicals directly to the pieces (e.g., hand sanitizer, lotion, perfume, sunscreen). If you are applying these on your body, put your jewelry on after everything is applied. Harsh chemicals, including household cleaners, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and hairsprays, can potentially strip away the gold layer on gold vermeil jewelry.
  • Moisture and humidity: Avoid extended exposure to moisture, such as wearing gold vermeil jewelry while in the pool, ocean, or hot tub, as the chlorine and salt can damage the gold. While gold vermeil can withstand some water, avoiding washing your hands or showering with gold vermeil pieces can help them last even longer.
  • Individual body chemistry: The acidity levels of an individual's skin can vary, and some people's skin chemistry may accelerate the wearing off of the gold vermeil layer more quickly than others.

How long does gold vermeil last?

The longevity of gold vermeil jewelry can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the gold vermeil layer, how the jewelry is worn, and how well it is cared for. With proper care, gold vermeil jewelry can last for several years or even longer. However, it's important to note that over time, the gold vermeil layer will eventually wear off, revealing the base metal beneath.

To make your gold vermeil jewelry last longer, you can follow the steps in the next section.

**Gold Vermeil Jewelry**

How do I care for gold vermeil jewelry? 

Proper care and maintenance are essential for prolonging the lifespan of gold vermeil jewelry. Here are some tips to help maximize its longevity:

  • Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals: Limit contact with chemicals such as household cleaners, perfumes, lotions, and hairsprays, as they can accelerate the wearing off of the gold layer.
  • Take off during certain activities: Remove your gold vermeil jewelry before engaging in activities that may subject it to excessive moisture, friction, or impact, such as swimming, showering, exercising, or participating in sports.
  • Clean gently: Use mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or brush to clean your gold vermeil jewelry. Avoid abrasive materials or vigorous scrubbing that could potentially wear away the gold layer. Check out our detailed cleaning instructions!
  • Store properly: Store your gold vermeil jewelry in a clean, dry place, away from moisture, sunlight, and air exposure. Consider storing it separately or in individual pouches to prevent scratching and minimize contact with other jewelry pieces 

Gold Vermeil Care Tips?

Which is better - gold vermeil or gold filled?

While gold filled is one of our favorites, we love gold vermeil too! Both options offer advantages and have their own characteristics to consider. We rely on a combination of gold filled, gold vermeil, and solid gold to create our pieces. 

Gold Vermeil vs Gold Filled

Gold-Filled Jewelry 

  • Durability: Gold-filled jewelry is made by bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal, making it more durable than gold plating.
  • Longevity: With proper care, gold-filled jewelry can last for a long time without the gold layer wearing off, even with regular wear.
  • Value: Gold-filled jewelry offers a more affordable alternative to solid gold jewelry while still maintaining a high-quality appearance. 
  • Waterproof and Tarnish Resistant: The thick layer of gold mechanically bonded to the base metal in gold filled jewelry offers great durability, making it more resistant to tarnishing and everyday wear.
  • Safe for sensitive skin: The thick gold layer in gold-filled jewelry creates a protective barrier between your skin and the base metal. This barrier greatly reduces the risk of allergic reactions, making gold-filled jewelry a safe option for individuals with nickel or other metal allergies.

Gold-Filled Jewelry Cons:

  • Limited thickness and value: Gold-filled jewelry generally contains about 5% of its weight in gold, which restricts its thickness and overall value compared to solid gold jewelry.
  • Limited jewelry options: Gold filled jewelry is mainly available in wire and sheet form, which restricts the variety of jewelry designs that can be created using this material.
  • Price: While it is considerably more affordable compared to solid gold, gold filled jewelry can be more expensive than gold plated or gold vermeil options due to its higher gold content and quality requirements.


Gold Vermeil Jewelry Pros:

  • Regulations: Gold vermeil jewelry must adhere to specific legal requirements, including the use of at least 10k gold and a minimum plating thickness of 2.5 microns onto 925 sterling silver. These regulations ensure a defined level of quality and gold content in the jewelry.
  • Versatile jewelry options: Gold vermeil jewelry offers a wider range of design possibilities due to the casting capabilities of sterling silver. This allows for the creation of intricate designs, including necklace charms, detailed earrings, and intricate rings, providing a more versatile selection of jewelry options than gold filled.
  • More affordable than solid gold: Gold vermeil offers a more affordable alternative to solid gold jewelry while still maintaining a high-quality gold appearance.

Gold Vermeil Jewelry Cons:

  • Limited thickness: While thicker than regular gold plated jewelry, the gold layer in gold vermeil jewelry is still limited in thickness compared to solid gold jewelry.
  • Potential wear: Over time and with heavy use, the gold layer in gold vermeil jewelry can wear off, revealing the base metal beneath.
  • Tarnishing possibility: Although gold vermeil is generally more resistant to tarnish than traditional sterling silver, it can still tarnish over time if not properly cared for.

Which is better - gold vermeil or gold plated?

Gold vermeil is definitely better! It offers superior quality and durability compared to gold plated jewelry. Gold plated jewelry typically has a very thin layer of gold (usually 0.05% or less) on top of a base metal such as brass or copper. This thin gold layer is prone to rubbing off easily and is more susceptible to tarnishing when exposed to liquids or chemicals.

Gold Vermeil vs Gold Plated

In contrast, gold vermeil features a thicker layer of gold (minimum 2.5 microns) on a sterling silver base. This thicker gold layer provides a more durable and long-lasting finish. While gold vermeil can still wear off over time, it tends to offer better longevity compared to gold plated jewelry.

Gold plated jewelry is significantly cheaper than gold vermeil due to its minimal gold content, making it a suitable option for occasional wear or experimenting with new trends. However, it won't withstand everyday long-term use as well as gold vermeil.


Gold vermeil holds a significant place in our designs at Simple & Dainty. While we hold a deep appreciation for gold filled jewelry, we recognize its limitations, especially when it comes to crafting intricate charms and rings with three-dimensional shapes. In this case, we have the ability to make them in gold vermeil, allowing us to customer favorites like the Starburst Signet Ring, Baguette Cluster Ring, and Dainty Floating CZ Ring. We also feature a variety of necklaces with gold vermeil charms on gold filled chains, like our best selling Tiny Initial Necklace, Zodiac Coin Necklace, or Dangling Stardust Necklace

Check out all of our gold vermeil pieces below! Thanks for following along! Let us know if you have any questions :)


P.S. Bonus content - check out some of our favorite gold vermeil pieces below!

baguette cluster ring | Simple & Dainty

**Dainty CZ Tennis Necklace**

Dainty CZ Huggie Hoop Earrings

Dainty Floating CZ Ring

Dainty CZ Tennis Bracelet

**Gold Vermeil Jewelry**

**Gold Vermeil Jewelry**

Leave A Comment

Our Promise to You

US - free shipping & free exchanges.
International - see shipping page for details.