What exactly is Gold Vermeil?

If you’re exploring products on our site, chances are you’ve seen the phrase “14k gold vermeil”, but do you know exactly what it is?


The french word vermeil refers to the technique where solid sterling silver is coated in at least 2 microns of gold. At Awe we’ve spent years perfecting our vermeil technique; our founder Jill has been manufacturing vermeil jewelry for over 35 years. All of our pieces start with a base of 925 sterling silver (an alloy of 92.5% pure sterling silver and 7.5% stronger base metals that provide greater durability). 925 sterling is a standard material used in high quality jewelry; pieces advertised as “gold plated” or “gold filled” are often based with copper or brass, which will tarnish easily and can irritate sensitive skin types.


These sterling silver bases are then coated with microns of gold (1 micron = 1/1000th of a millimeter) using an advanced electroplating process. By definition vermeil jewelry must be coated with 2 microns of gold (anything less is “gold plated”). At Awe, we coat all of our Goddess pieces with an extra 3rd micron of 14k Hamilton-colored yellow gold to provide superior durability. 

You will see many other jewelers using 18k or even 24k gold in their vermeil technique. The karat weight of gold refers to the purity of gold alloy (where 24k is 100% pure gold). After years of testing, we decided to use 14k gold in our vermeil for its superior durability: 18k or 24k gold will often chip or wear off the 925 sterling base, whereas 14k vermeil can maintain its shape and luster through everyday wear for years.


When properly taken care of, your gold vermeil pieces will last for many years. We encourage you to remove these pieces before exercising, showering or swimming as well as gently clean them with your Awe polishing cloth after wear and store them properly in your gift box or pouch they came in to prevent tarnishing.


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