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Vermeil question. What exactly is the difference?


#1

Can someone explain the difference between Gold filled, gold plated
and Vermeil and electroplated gold. Is all this one in the same or
slight variations on a theme?

I am a silver person ,so i apologize for not knowing my stuff on
gold.

Regards,
Andrea Streicher
Striker Studios
Mixed Metals and Glass Jewelry
510-528-3755


#2

“Gold filled” is gold applied to a base metal, bronze usually, that
has had a thin sheet of gold mechanically bonded to it; it is a much
thicker layer of gold than is normally applied with electroplating.

Modern “gold plating” refers to electro-deposition or
"electroplating" of electrically charged ions of gold onto another
metal by use of chemical baths that contain dissolved gold (cyanide
solutions dissolve gold.) [Cyanide, of course, is extremely toxic] This
gold plating is usually applied to a thin previously electroplated
layer of nickel which clings tenaciously to other base metals, and it
helps to brighten the final gold color.

“Vermeil” is a thicker than usual electroplating of gold directly on
silver without other in-between metals. There is no nickel underplate.

Gold “wash” or “gold dip” - slang I believe - usually refers to a
cheap, very thin electroplating.

Antiques may have “gilt” or “mercury gilding” - layers of gold that
were applied by mixing mercury and gold, smearing the resulting mix
onto brass or other metal, and then heated to drive off the mercury,
leaving behind the gold [this mercury vapor is extremely toxic!]

Antiques may also have “gold leaf,” which is very thin gold foil,
applied with a glue or varnish bonding, usually over wood.

Any other thin gold applications?

Alan Heugh


#3

Gold plate and Vermeil and electroplated gold are all the same
thing they are electro-deposited gold over a copper alloy base metal
or silver which may also have an under layer of copper and or nickle
electroplate to act as a barrier between the base metal and the gold.
Typically these deposits are in the range of 3-50 millionths of an
inch thick with Vermeil supposedly being the thicker plating.

Gold fill is a thermally bonded sandwich of gold and  either a

copper alloy or silver that may use a brazing paste or fusion welding
to join the two metals into sheet or wire forms. The gold layer may
be any karat (14k 18k etc) and is listed as the weight percentage of
the gold layer like 1/20th 14k means that the 14k gold is 1/20th of
the total weight of the gold fill sheet.

There also has been some talk of the bi-metal product from Shining

Wave Metals it is similar to gold fill but is made in a different
fashion and has slightly different working properties. It is solid
state diffusion welding of gold to silver (he also makes a palladium
silver bi-metal) It has a thicker layer of gold (1/8 22k ) and you
can do more in the way of forging, forming and heating with the
bi-metal than you can with gold fill.

Jim – http://www.mokume-gane.com jbin@well.com James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18 Oakland, CA 94601 510-533-5108


#4
   Vermeil specifically refers to electroplating gold unto silver
without the intermediate layer of copper or nickle or brass. 
Gold plate and Vermeil and electroplated gold  are all the same thing

they are electro-deposited gold over a copper alloy base metal or
silver which may also have an under layer of copper and or nickle
electroplate to act as a barrier between the base metal and the gold.
Typically these deposits are in the range of 3-50 millionths of an
inch thick with Vermeil supposedly being the thicker plating.


#5

I think this difference of opinion about what constitutes “vermeil"
is dependant on your frame of reference. This shouldn’t be a
”'tis/'taint" argument because the usage varies with the context:

If one depends on a dictionary entirely, then vermeil is simply gold
plateing on silver, brass, nickel, or copper. This reminds me of
another thread on another list in which some people argued that
"patina" meant “rust” and nothing else because that’s what their
dictionary said.

If you are immersed in the milleu of antiques, especially in
conservation, it is certainly correct to use “vermeil” when describing
gold plated brass because the historic origins of the word derives
from “vermillion” which was the red colored cinnabar mineral ore from
which mercury is derived, back when mercury gilding was the only
method of gold plating - before the understanding of electricity or
the invention of the process of electroplating. Then, vermeil was the
common term to describe gold plating on any metal.

If, however, you are making or dealing with vermeil jewelry today,
buying chains for example, vermeil refers to heavy gold plate on
silver. In fact it is defined by the Federal Trade Commission as such.
If you refer to a modern example - Rio Grande’s findings catalog -
vermeil is described as:

“The 14-karat gold layer meets FTC requirements of 100 millionths of
an inch over sterling silver.”

Times and meanings have changed and perhaps I’m showing signs of age,
but modern usage in the jewelry trades descriminated against using the
term vermeil with other metals than silver when I first learned it in
the early 1960’s. Only three jewelry books among 26 references I
searched refer to vermeil at all, but those three agree that vermeil
is gold plate on silver, with no mention of other metals. To be fair,
two of the books are by the same author, Oppi Untracht, so perhaps I
should report that only two authors mentioned vermeil at all.

Over time words and meanings change, and I’ll be the first to concede
that. And it may be that usage has switched again in the last ten
years without my noticing, but among my jewelry trade acquaintances
and suppliers, at least, “vermeil” universally means gold on silver,
and is used as such to attempt (however silly it may seem) to elevate
the esteem of gold plated silver items above gold plated brass or
other baser metals. I believe the vast majority of those who use the
term regularly, who make the jewelry, or sell the jewelry both
wholesale and retail, understand that it’s “thick” 14k plate on
sterling silver.

I’ve read that there was a time when “gold filled” referred to
material with a reasonably thick layer of gold applied on the surfaces
AND a smaller but significant gold content in the base metal. But
today it’s incorrect to argue that “gold filled” means there’s any
gold alloyed in the base metal, it’s no longer true even though it
reportedly once was true. There must have been a period of time when
people argued about that too.

While I was at it, just for fun, I looked up my own name in a “New
Twentieth Century” Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. My father used to
delight in explaining that “Heugh” meant a steep cliff overlooking
water. . . well that definition isn’t there anymore, but it does
mention a hill, or a low spot, or even (my favorite) a coal pit.
Alan Heugh