In the spirit of ethical business practices, we at Common Era try our hardest to be transparent. We absolutely want you to choose the pieces that are right for you, and to make sure you know the quality you’re getting and the properties of the metals used.
Not a single Common Era piece is gold-plated brass. In order to offer gold jewelry at a more accessible price point, CE has cast our Goddess and Muse collections in sterling silver and gold vermeil (quick note: the difference between plating and vermeil is the thickness of the gold – plating is the thinnest possible coasting and is often done over brass, and vermeil is a thick, solid coat of gold that will not rub off immediately as is common with plating).
Solid gold is a prudent investment, will last for far longer than a lifetime, and truly worth the cost for the value, but for those in love with the design, a vermeil piece is a great option.
There are some drawbacks to gold vermeil. Most notably, like all jewelry that is not solid gold, it does eventually tarnish. You must be careful not to get your vermeil wet, not rub it too hard, and never use abrasive cleansers. Store in airtight containers if possible, or at least in a pouch or separate cubby so that it does not rub or scratch. Silver and gold are both soft metals, so “gentle” is really the name of the game.
Personally, I never clean my vermeil pieces. I simply wipe them down with a cotton or microfiber cloth if they have any sunscreen, makeup, body lotion, sweat or dirt on them, and that does the trick without risking much damage to the piece. If you’re going to wash your vermeil jewelry, understand that any liquid could cause damage.
Vermeil can be deep cleaned with a TINY amount of gentle dish soap and cool water, with a VERY SOFT toothbrush to get in the grooves, then immediately, gently, thoroughly dried (do NOT leave wet longer than necessary). This is the nuclear option, however, so please know that even the gentlest cleaning does carry some risk of fading or light scratching.
Gold vermeil and sterling silver both develop a darker patina, known as tarnish, over time. It is a common and unavoidable chemical reaction. Avoiding exposing your pieces to water, soap, chlorine, salt, or sweat will absolutely help the longevity of gold vermeil, but the only true way to keep jewelry as pristine as possible is to own and wear only solid gold.