Silver gilt jewelleryBy
Silver Gilt is also known as silver gild, gilded silver, gilt silver or by its French term Vermeil. What ever term it is know by the jewellery is made of silver and has a think layer of gold over it to give a gold appearance. Silver gilt has been used in jewellery since ancient times however it is less common that gold or silver vintage jewellery
There are several reasons for silver being gilded with gold in jewellery:
i) Its cheaper than carat gold. Gold is getting very expensive these days with nine carat gold fetching over £10 a gram for scrap pure gold jewellery is very expensive. Silver gilt has the appearance of real gold but much cheaper
ii) Its lighter weight than solid gold. Solid gold is heavy. If you have a large pair of earrings for example you will find silver gilt more comfortable to wear than solid gold
iii) its easier to clean than solid silver and less prone to corrosion. Silver tarnishes easily and goes dark. When it has a layer of gold over it it stays bright ans shiny longer and is easier to clean. Have you ever seen a silver salt cellar? These are normally gilded on the inside as salt eats into silver but does not affect the gold at all. We all have salt in out skin which is one of the reasons that silver jewellery does go dark easily. The gold layer does protect it.
How to tell if a piece of jewellery is silver gilt
Has your piece of jewellery got silver hallmarks but is gold in colour? in this case it is probably silver gilt.
Silver gilt jewellery care
Assuming the piece of jewellery is all silver gilt and there are no other materials the jewellery will stay bright and clean for quite a while. If you do think it needs a clean I would use a tiny drop of jewellery cleaner (not silver dip) but a cleaner suited to gold. Put a drop of this on a cloth and wipe the jewellery. Then get a clean damp cloth and wipe off the residue of the cleaner and dry with a dry cloth . A polish with a gold polishing cloth would do just as well.
Here’s some silver gilt hallmarks on Britannia silver