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OK folks. This is not my expertise ( for what it is). I’m a silver

Where can I buy vermeil findings and vermeil wire? I am not looking
for anything specific, but I want it in vermeil ( at least i think I
do). Isn’t vermeil a fancy name for gold plated?

Also, at what temperature does vermeil melt?

Andrea Streicher
Striker Studios
Original Sterling Silver and Fused Glass Jewelry

This is an ancient gilding process that is not even covered in
current text. I don’t think anybody does it anymore. Bill

Andrea, To my understanding vermeil is specifically gold plated
sterling silver. So vermeil has no base metal, in a sense it is all
precious metal.

Hi Andrea,

I don’t know where you’d find vermeil findings in the States, but
it’s a french word meaning silver-gilt, ie, the metal underneath the
gold plating is silver, not pot-metal.

Regards, Cathy (Anjou, France)

Vermeil is a fancy name for gold electroplate over sterling, I
believe. If this is true, there would be no point in using findings
made of it, unless they were to be mechanically attached or glued, as
any heat would remove the plating quite easily.

If you heat vermeil the gold disappears. You’re right that vermeil is
a fancy name for gold plated, and that’s how you do it – electroplate
your silver work when it’s all finished polished and clean. If you
repair a vermeil piece, expect to re-electroplate it.

Alan Heugh

I use Vermeil in my Necklaces, Gold Plating is not Vermeil, Vermeil
is a Sterling Silver Base with a very heavy coating of pure gold. At
least that is what I have been told by my supplier and I love the
stuff, I have worn a necklace made with my items for years with no
change in color. I have never found Vermeil wire though, I buy beads.
I usually get them at the Tucson show.


Laura, I tend to agree with you. I have always understood Vermeil to
be “gold washed silver.”

Perhaps Dr. Aspler can comment, there is a lot in Thailand as well as
China. Teresa

I have only seen vermeil in finished jewelry. Refers gold plate over
sterling silver. Everytime I repair it the gold plate burns off. Buy
sterling material, build your piece then plate it.


There is a place in New York City that will do the vermeil plating
for you. I do not know the name, but there is a business to business
phone directory for Manhattan, and you might find the company listed
under jewelry platers. Diane

I’m not sure what you’re looking for, but Rio Grande has a couple
pages of vermeil items (clasps, cable wires, neck rings, omegas, etc.)
in their latest catalog. Fwiw, they say “our vermeil meets
FTC-required standards of 100 millionths of an inch 14-karat gold
layered over sterling silver.” Avoid anything abrasive, even machine

Would the gold layer be damaged by an enhancer on an omega?


Most plating done now, even when it is gold on sterling, has a flash
plating of base metal between the silver and gold. Vermeil is gold
directly onto silver. Apparently, the flash of base metal, usually
brass, makes a longer lasting finish. Vermeil is also a heavier coating of gold. Alana Clearlake

To my knowledge, vermeil is actually Sterling Silver plated with
gold. It isn’t the same thing as “gold plated,” because the latter can
(and usually does) refer to gold plated over base metal.

I suggest you get ahold of the catalog of Rio Grande or other
findings suppliers and look at the gold-filled findings (they do also
have a few new vermeil things too). I think what you are looking for
is Gold-Filled findings. You can order Rio’s findings catalog at

[“Usual disclaimer”–I’m only their customer]

Hope this helps,

I thought I should jump into the Vermeil discussion. Vermeil is a
heavy 24K plating over sterling silver. It is distinguished from
regular plating by the fact that no base metals are used such a
copper or nickel and by the weight of the plating. I have seen two
figures over the years for the thickness required to call a plating
Vermeil, 50 mils and 100 mils. Both are very heavy plating. The
problem with plating is, you have to rely on the honesty of the
plater. Most are honest but a few are not. I certainly don’t have the
X-ray equipment required to determine how thick the plating actually
is. The more gold on the work, the better the durability, but the
cost to the plater also increases. I have occasionally had work
evaluated with shocking results. The public also cannot tell The
thickness until the plating wears out and as a result I have
sometimes found customers are hesitant to buy plated goods, having
been burned in the past. I do a little talk about Vermeil and they
usually feel better.

To answer your findings question, I don’t often see Vermeil findings.
The reason is as others have observed, that plating, even Vermeil
burns off with soldering heat. I suppose you could Sparkie them on if
you had to. What is much more common and practical is gold filled
findings. In gold filled material two or three layers of sheet are
fused or soldered together and then milled out. Generally this stock
of wire or sheet is 1/20 14K by weight over a base metal. It can be
soldered well but a little care must be taken with any abrasive
process. It also roller prints well. Gold filled findings provide a
way to have the color of gold for less cost. That said, in my own
work I prefer the real banana and feel it is worth the extra cost.
Gold filled stock often gets very soft when annealed.

One other alternative exists, that I know of. About 16 years ago I
developed a stock of 1/20 18K over sterling and found a manufacturer,
Stern Leach to make it for me. I threw this stuff open to the field
and now Hauser and Miller in St. Louis distributes it. I am pretty
sure they still get it from Stern Leach. It is very nice to work
with, all precious, and I prefer the 18K color to 14K. It is usually
$25-$30 an ounce.

Reactive metals also sells a beautiful 22K bi-metal product which is
1/8 gold. Of course at 1/8 gold it is much more expensive, but you
cannot beat that 22K color and it is cheaper than pure gold sheet. I
think Philip Baldwin manufactures it for them. I hope this answers
your questions and you find what you are looking for.

Don Friedlich
SNAG President

You could try Yil Kang (Simon Plating) 64 West 48th St.
212-819-0889. He plates in 24 kt (I think) in any gold color also
rhodium. The gold is 5 microns thick (I think) and rhodium is 3
microns. Very good work. Expensive. Becky

So does this mean that if I was able to obtain Vermeil wire that the
gold would burn off if I heated in the kiln at 1500 degrees? Why?
Doesn’t gold melt at a higher temp than that? Also, what is the
difference between the gold plated wire versus Vermeil? What is under
the gold plated wire?

I don’t get it.

From: “David L. Huffman”

Vermeil is a fancy name for gold electroplate over sterling, I
believe. If this is true, there would be no point in using findings
made of it, unless they were to be mechanically attached or glued, as
any heat would remove the plating quite easily.

Andrea Streicher
Striker Studios
Mixed Metals and Glass Jewelry

End of forwarded message

I would recommend an excellent brochure available from Red Sky
Plating, Rio Grande’s plating division to anyone interested in
learning more about plating. It answers all the common questions in a
very clear and informative way. I use it with my students. It goes a
long way to informing the individual artist enough to be able to talk
comfortably with platers and get the right plating for your

Don Friedlich

Andrea, The reason that you can not heat “Vermeil” is not that the
gold burns off. When gold and silver are in direct contact they are
mutually dissoluble. That means that they will swap molecules at the
contact point. This is what makes “keum boo” stick. At high temps,
the bond line becomes very active, and as the two metals dissolve
into one another, they form an eudectic (sp?) alloy. (alloy melts at
a lower temp. than either parent metal) This causes the gold to
dissolve into the silver and disappear. This can also happen while
heating kuem boo. However, kuem boo foil is thicker than plating and
it takes longer to disappear. Gold plated wire or gold filled wire
does not have this problem because it’s base is “base metal”. ( that
is copper, bronze, or brass, etc.) These metals do not react with the
gold in the same fashion. I hope this is somewhat clearer than mud,
later, Mark Thomas Ruby

                 SunSpirit Designs
                 Loveland, CO