- What is Gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is a denomination used to refer to silver coated with gold using the process of electroplating (described below). Gold vermeil can be made using gold of different fineness but in the U.S., the minimum required karatage is 10K (42% of pure gold) and with a thickness of at least 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters). Being made up entirely of two precious metals (silver and gold), vermeil jewelry has a greater intrinsic value than gold plated jewelry and the thickness of the gold plating is often greater too.
- Micron Gold plating
The term micron simply refers to one micrometer= 0.000001 meter = 0.001 millimeter. Gold plating is a method of depositing a layer of gold onto a conductive surface. The piece in base metal to be gold plated is immerged in an electrolyte solution with particles of gold which are deposited onto the surface of the base metal thanks to a current.
Micron gold plating is the same technique used to form gold vermeil; in vermeil a layer of at least 2.5 microns of gold (also referred to as “heavy gold plating”) is deposited onto silver but the term micron gold plating in general refers to the depositing at least 1 micron of gold onto a base metal like brass.
Micron gold plating is the most qualitative and affordable way to have intricate jewelry pieces that can not be made just using sheets, wires or tubes of metal. Their durability will highly depend on the care the wearer takes of his or her jewelry. The moist and acidity of the skin causing the gold plating to wear of more easily, it makes sense that pieces like earrings and brooches will last longer than rings and bracelets. Removing plating jewelry before doing a physical activity or taking a shower will also help prevent humidity alter the jewelry. Eventually, storing your plated jewelry in a sealed plastic bag when not worn will help keep it beautiful for a longer time.
- Gold plating
Simple gold plating refers to the above technique but the thickness of gold deposited is comprised between 0.175 micron and 2.5 micron. “Flash” plating is the lowest quality of plating available and wears off very quickly, the thickness of gold in this case is below 0.175 micron.
3 thoughts on “The 3 qualities of gold plated jewelry”
I am using facebook for my antique and vintage sales and noticed your explication regarding the gold plated and would like to share it on my page so the others can learn something from it.
I would need your permission to do that and ask if I may post it.
Gerda van Rensburg
Thank you for this useful information.
It has helped me substantially. However, I would like to know what micron thickness you would recommend for 92.5 silver hoop earrings to make sure the gold plating lasts for atleast a few years.
I’m glad we could connect on Instagram! I hope your hoops turned out well 🙂
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