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Vermeil, what?

Vermeil, what?

Jun 21, 2022

Kathryn Matz


Jewelry shopping might seem simple in theory, but when you actually do it, you’ll realize the lingo can be just as complicated as what you might encounter while buying a new computer — or car! Don’t be mistaken, though: Jewelry shopping is definitely more fun, and we’re here to dish out the 411 on one word you’ve definitely come across while browsing baubles, but might not have totally understood. 

Vermeil — sounds fancy, right? Well, it is, and its benefits are actually bountiful for you. Put simply, vermeil is a type of gold-finished material that consists of a thick layer of, well, gold (yes, real gold) over sterling silver. For something to be considered vermeil, the gold used in its design must have a thickness of at least 10 karats, with the majority high-quality pieces, like ours, ringing in at 24 karats. 

You’ve probably heard the term gold-plated before, and the key difference between that and vermeil is this: Unlike vermeil, which must have a sterling silver base, any metal can be used for gold plating, which is why gold-plated pieces are usually cheaper (and the coating doesn’t last quite as long.)

So what's the deal with vermeil? Simple. It’s a cost-effective way to create jewelry that looks incredibly luxe and is made to last while still remaining relatively affordable. It’s also ideal for everyday wear, as it won’t tarnish like gold-plated pieces. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to care for it. Be sure to never directly expose the piece to moisture - that could be bathing, showering, swimming, excessive exercise, moisturizer, perfume or hairspray.  Anything that’s liquid, or has liquid in it, will cause vermeil pieces to tarnish, when normally they don’t.  In addition, we always recommend that you keep your pieces in the protective pouches that are provided when you shop with KATHRYN New York.  Different elements like excessive sunlight or excessive heating or air conditioning can also cause precious alloys to tarnish. 

As is the case with everything, treat our pieces with care and they’ll be with you forever.