Vermeil & Sterling Silver are considered the only types of precious metals. But what exactly are they? Vermeil is gold gilded over sterling silver. The technique was invented in France in the 1700s and is still used today. Sterling Silver (often seen stamped 925) is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% mass of pure silver. There are two reasons pure silver is not used often. 1. Pure silver is too soft for producing functional objects. 2. Without mixing other elements into silver it is extremely prone to tarnish. Sterling Silver stays tarnish free longer and is easy to clean in silver dip.