How to Repair Gold Vermeil Jewelry
Written by Annabelle
December 17, 2019
Gold-colored jewelry, such as gold plated, gold-fill, and gold vermeil jewelry, have become increasingly popular over the years thanks to their affordable price and great look. But it's important to keep in mind that these types of jewelry are not made from solid gold; over time, the gold coloration will wear off. Read on to learn more about how you can repair gold vermeil jewelry and restore its original look.
What is Gold Vermeil?
In the jewelry industry, gold plating is used to apply a thin layer of gold over a different base metal in order to simulate a gold look. This plating can be very thin or very thick, depending on the quality of the jewelry, and is measured by microns. Plating above 1 micron is considered good quality; the more microns, the thicker the plating.
Gold vermeil is a specific type of gold-plated jewelry. The base metal must be sterling silver, or 92.5% silver content, and the plating has to be 2.5 microns of gold that is 10k or higher. In comparison to other plated items, gold vermeil is a high quality material due to its thick plating and precious metal base.
Restoring and Repairing Gold Vermeil Jewelry
Even with its thick plating, gold vermeil jewelry will wear down over time, showing the sterling silver underneath. Restoring it isn't as simple as gold plating on top, obviously- in order to ensure that the item is restored to its original state, you'll have to match the vermeil's standard thickness of 2.5 microns.
When replating gold vermeil jewelry, the jeweler polishes the entire item to remove its original coating. This is to ensure that any scratches, dents, and tarnishing from the sterling silver base are removed. Then the jeweler replates the piece in a plating tank. The tank contains a special solution of chemicals and gold, and uses electricity to fuse the gold to the surface of the item. After the correct amount of gold has been adhered to the jewelry, the jeweler removes it from the tank and the item's color is restored.
This process has to be used whenever a jeweler works on gold vermeil jewelry. For instance, if you need to size a gold vermeil ring, the process of sizing will remove the gold plating due to the jeweler's tools and the need to cut the ring open. The area of work will be silver in color, and the jeweler will have to reapply the plating in order to make the appearance of the jewelry uniform.
The Cost and Turnaround Time for Repairing Gold Vermeil Jewelry
Since you're plating an item with 2.5 microns of gold, repairing and restoring gold vermeil jewelry can be a major investment. Gold plating 2.5 microns on sterling silver starts at $201, and additional fees may be included if you're also sizing or soldering the jewelry. Because the plating is relatively thick, it'll take about a week to finish the restoration and repair.
That being said, gold vermeil jewelry is a long-lasting alternative to cheaper plated jewelry, and is comparatively more valuable. Taking the time to restore such pieces is worthwhile, especially if it's a sentimental or designer piece.
Now you know how to get your gold vermeil jewelry restored! If you have something you want to fix, let us know in the comments below!