Gold plating quality and naming
Gold plated jewelry - Silver plated jewelry - Vermeil jewelry
Gold plated jewelryOften known as gilded or gold-plated jewelry, are designs made of a base metal and coated with a thin layer of gold by electrolysis. It is not subject to any control standards, nor are the thickness and fineness of gold known. The product only has a golden color, which is usually not durable.
Gold plated silver jewelryPractically identical to silver jewelry, but plated with a thin layer of gold. There is no quality standard, and producers can say whatever they want about the design. If it is jewelry of European origin stamped with a 925 and the designer’s hallmark, it is certain that the ring is solid silver, yet the thickness and fineness of gold is not known. When done well, the gold layer lasts for a long time. An advantage of this method is that it lowers the weight of the jewelry, large gold plated silver earrings are much lighter than gold ones. However, gold plated rings lose their color quickly, due to the thin gold layer being rubbed off.
Vermeil jewelry - What is Vermeil ?Vermeil is a precious metal consisting of solid silver covered with a layer of gold with a minimum thickness of 5 microns and minimum fineness of 18 carats (750/1000). The silver must have a fineness of at least 800/1000 when used for cutlery or large items, 925/1000 otherwise. Vermeil has to be confirmed by the hallmark and the “V” feature. The presence of the “V” hallmark is a guarantee of compliance with the Vermeil standard and is subject to strict control by the French Assay Office (Bureau de la garantie). Gold plated jewelry made outside of France usually does not meet the Vermeil standard.In our first collections of Vermeil jewelry with amber, we commissioned the gold plating to a specialist French company. Due to a misunderstanding, we were unable to determine which company is responsible for stamping the “V” feature. During an inspection in one of the stores this was noticed and immediately resulted in a comprehensive inspection by the Bureau. After presenting the French invoice confirming the Vermeil gilding, we were published and obliged to withdraw the jewelry from stores in order to stamp the “V” hallmark. This proves how strict the regulations on precious metals are in France. This prompted us to cooperate with a specialist company that gold-plates our jewelry for many years.
The gold plating processCurrently, we perform gold and rhodium plating in our studio. We use modern technology from the German company Jentner. We perform gilding in several stages:
- After the silver is perfectly polished, we stamp the “V” feature and our hallmarkDegreasing in an ultrasonic cleanerElectrolytic degreasing - we use the “JE 610” salt bath (60 seconds, at about 10A/dm2)Neutralization / Activation - we use the “JE 820” bath. This bath neutralizes and ultimately eliminates all residues of other agents on the silver.Gilding - we use the AC JE 250 bath at 8 gr/L. To obtain a layer of 5 microns, during the electrolysis we use a current of 0.8A/dm2 for 40 minutes. The gold plating process must be precisely calculated and controlled to ensure compliance with the Vermeil standard, in order to not risk any serious problems.Final color - we use the Color Gold Bath 411 during electrolysis for 30 seconds.After drying, we perform careful quality control of the thickness, color, and the gold surface.