The rich and warm color of yellow gold is back! For a majority of jewelry lovers, it’s the best finish; eclipsing the white gold or platinum preference of many years. But a golden color on a piece of jewelry can mean many things: is it solid gold, gold vermeil, gold plated or gold filled? All these variations can appear confusing, and even though they share some similarities, there is a big difference in value, quality, durability and desirability!
So which is best? Why did Maison Daviel choose to produce Vermeil jewelry?
Three metals are considered precious: Gold, Silver and Platinum. They are rarely used in their pure form and are generally mixed with other metals to provide different properties such as solidity, color or affordability.
Pure silver is too soft to hold a long lasting shape. By mixing the pure precious metal with other metals, it is possible to produce a much harder alloy. Sterling silver is the most widely used silver alloy for this reason. Sterling silver is regulated and should be marked "925", which certifies that the metal used is at least 92.5% pure silver (and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper).
Pure gold is also too soft for long lasting jewelry. The jewelry industry uses different kinds of gold alloys both to obtain a harder metal but also to produce a large range of colors: yellow, white, rose, green, etc. Different ratios of pure gold are used in these gold alloys; the pure gold content is indicated in Karats. 24K Gold is pure gold. 18K Gold is 18 parts gold for 6 parts alloy. 14K Gold is 14 parts gold for 10 parts alloy and so forth. The more pure gold, the higher the price!
Simply put, vermeil (pronounced 'ver-may') is gold plated silver. The designation ‘vermeil’ is controlled and the criteria depend on the country. In the United States Vermeil is regulated by the FTC : a piece of Vermeil jewelry has to be at least 92.5% pure Silver (Sterling), must by plated with a gold alloy of not less than 10K fineness and have a minimum gold thickness of 2.5 microns on all surfaces. A Vermeil piece of jewelry is made only and entirely of precious metal alloys, which gives the piece an intrinsic value.
Gold plated jewelry can be made out of any kind of metal as a base, and is covered by a thin layer of a gold alloy of varying levels of finesse. Generally, the metal base is not silver (usually brass or copper) and the layer of gold is much finer than 2 micron. This gold finish doesn't last as long; the gold layer wears off more easily due to its lower thickness. Vermeil, on the other hand, is a precious and long lasting kind of gold plating.
These jewelry items are made of a base metal (usually brass or copper, sometimes silver) covered by sheets of gold in a mechanical bonding process. A gold-filled piece must contain at least 1/20 of its weight in gold for a minimum gold finesse of 12k. That makes the layer of gold around the piece of jewelry much thicker than vermeil, but effectively only 5% of the jewelry is precious metal, the other 95% is generally non-precious metal. However, this gold layer is long lasting due to its thickness.
Maison Daviel's choice
So which of all these option is better?
And as a jewelry lover which would you prefer?
I believe that, when choosing a new piece of jewelry, it all boils down to your budget and your values. Let me explain.
It matters greatly to my mind that the piece of jewelry that I'm wearing is entirely made out of precious metal and that no mysterious metal is hidden under a thin layer of precious metal (sensitive skins take note!). But solid gold is just too expensive. So I believe that for a gold finish, vermeil offers a perfect balance between quality and value. It allows you to build a collection of high-quality jewelry without the solid gold price tag! And remember that, with a little tender loving care, vermeil jewelry will maintain that classy gold finish for many, many years!
For all these reasons, every Maison Daviel piece of jewelry is either solid Sterling Silver or Gold Vermeil made out of an 18k and 3 micron thick gold layer over solid sterling silver.
To vouch for this quality, every piece is marked with the Maison Daviel trade mark: 'M.D'. And every piece is marked with the '925' Sterling Silver mark. And if you need another reason to be convinced, Maison Daviel also chose to use recycled Sterling Silver!
So tell me, as a jewelry lover, what do you value?
What do you think of Maison Daviel's choice?
Come and take a look at our Medusa Collection, tell us if you prefer silver or vermeil!