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Gold vermeil VS gold plated – What's the difference?

One of the questions jewellers get asked most often is 'Isn't gold vermeil just the same as gold plated?' The short answer is no! Aside from gold vermeil being far more durable, there are actually a number of significant differences.

What is gold plated jewellery?

Gold plating refers to the process of applying a thin layer of gold over the top of a bass metal; usually copper or brass. Since only a small amount of gold is required for gold plated pieces, they are usually cheaper to buy and quicker to make. High street chains and fast fashion brands usually stock gold plated jewellery as it allows them to create lots of new designs at a lower price point.

The oxidisation process in metals such as these can often transfer a green tinge onto your skin and may also cause skin irritation.

Gold plated pieces have a very thin coating – usually around 0.5 microns. This means that it can wear quite quickly.

What is gold vermeil jewellery?

Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-may) refers to a thicker layer of gold that is applied over sterling silver (No green fingers!). Recycled silver can be used for a more sustainable option.

Gold vermeil pieces have a much thicker coating – usually 2.5 microns or more. This means it's much more durable and can last a long time if looked after properly. When this eventually does wear, it can be re-coated.

By keeping gold vermeil pieces away from moisture, perfumes, cleaning products etc., they can last for years.

Gold vermeil VS gold plated – Which should I choose?

Firstly, solid gold is always the best choice. Durable and less prone to scratches and tarnishes, solid gold pieces will last a lifetime. But, unfortunately, we don't all have an unlimited budget! Gold vermeil combines both affordability and quality. As previously mentioned, if cared for, gold vermeil pieces can last for years and can be re-coated if necessary. It's a great choice if you would like to wear something daily that's more affordable than solid gold.

Gold plated pieces are more prone to tarnishing when exposed to any liquids or chemicals. They wear much faster and can cause irritation to those with metal allergies. After the bass metal of a gold plated piece is exposed, it will usually end up in landfill. While we understand thatt gold vermeil may not be in everyones budget, we would recommend choosing sterling silver jewellery over gold plated.

What is our jewellery made from?

Here at JFJ, all of our jewellery is made from recycled sterling silver. Although this can be more expensive, our recycled silver is fully traceable, equal in quality and far more sustainable than regular sterling silver.

Our gold vermeil items are made from recycled silver and coated in a thick layer of recycled 18 Karat gold. This coating process is carried out by another small business; Lumio Plating. We believe in creating quality pieces that are affordable.

All items can be made in solid gold on request. If you have any questions please email


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