Diamond Guide (The 4Cs)
Blue Topaz Guide
Karat Gold Jewelry
Gold Filled/Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold Vermeil/Gold Wash Jewelry
Titanium Jewelry Guide
Gold Vermeil, Gold Electroplate and Gold Washed Jewelry
What is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil (pronounced VUR-MAY) jewelry simply indicates a layer of gold applied over Sterling silver.jewelry. In order to carry the designation gold vermeil, the gold plated jewelry in question must be layered with gold that measures a minimum of 10k in purity with a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns.
During World War II, the U.S. directed its use of base metals toward the war effort and consequently, costume jewelry manufacturers faced a shortage of lesser metals with which to manufacture their jewelry. It's during this period that a great deal of costume jewelry, formerly manufacured using pot metals, was manufactured in Sterling silver, gold vermeil and gold wash.
Above is a Harry Iskin brooch in a stylized floral motif, marked 12k 1/20 GF (gold filled). The other brooch, a flower basket design, is gold vermeil or gold wash over Sterling silver. Both pins date to approximately the World War II era. Assuming that both brooches were worn and cared for in a similar manner, you can see that the gold filled brooch shows significantly less wear than the gold vermeil/gold wash pin, which is showing a good deal of wear to its gold plating, especially around the base and body of the basket. This is a good illustration of the relative durability of gold filled jewelry if properly care is used.
What is Rolled Gold?
The term Rolled Gold refers to gold plated jewelry that doesn’t meet the gold weight requirements of gold filled jewelry.
As an example, a piece of gold jewelry may be marked, “1/30 12k” and it would be considered rolled gold, not gold filled, because its gold layer does not meet the weight requirement for “gold filled,” – meaning the gold layer used does not equal at least 1/20th of the total weight of the piece.
What is Gold Electroplate?
Yet another subcategory of gold-plated jewelry, Gold Electroplate means your jewelry is plated with a minimum 10k gold that is a minimum of .175 microns thick, layered onto a base metal by electroplating.
Wash refers to a piece of gold plated jewelry that has been
with an extremely thin layer of gold, even thinner than that which
gold electroplate. Of
all the different
gold qualities and designations we’ve discussed in this article, gold
generally show wear the fastest.