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The word "vermeil" is a French word which came into use in the English language in the 19th century. Vermeil is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals, commonly used as a component in jewelry. Usually, vermeil jewelry is a sterling silver item coated with 14 carat (58%) gold. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10 carat (42%) and be at least 2.5 micrometers in thickness. Gold vermeil is considered the finest of all gold-plated jewelry.