Vermeil (pronounced vehr-may) is an industry term for jewelry made with a Sterling Silver base and covered in real gold. In order to legally call a piece Vermeil it must meet very technical requirements.
If you’re a fan of details, here they are: Vermeil must be made of .925 Sterling Silver and plated in at least 2.5 microns of 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K gold in the U.S.
Plating that is 2.5 microns thick contains more gold and will last many years longer than 1.0 micron - so it's more expensive but will last much longer.
How is gold vermeil different from gold-plated and gold-filled?
Gold vermeil is superior to gold-plated jewelry. Gold-plated jewelry refers to jewelry that has gold plating at least 0.5 microns thick. It does not require sterling silver to be used as the base material, and usually uses a less valuable material at its core. Since the plating is so thin, the gold color will wear very quickly compared to gold vermeil.
Should I buy vermeil?
In the realm of gold-tone jewelry, gold vermeil is the best quality jewelry you can get short of buying solid gold. For people who want a less expensive, high quality alternative to solid gold, vermeil is the answer!