Gold plated jewelry is a great invention. If you can’t afford solid gold jewelry (and most of us can’t), you can buy jewelry made from other metals that are coated with a beautiful outer gold layer. You will get the look of the real deal without draining your bank account.
(Pixabay / r_d_verma)
Unfortunately, gold plating isn’t invincible. For starters, it’s thin enough that it has to be measured in microns (one-millionth of a meter). Thin things are more vulnerable to damage than thick ones. (Think of how easy it is to break a piece of string in contrast to a thick rope.) Thus, your thin gold plating can become scratched or worn.
Gold plating can also tarnish easily if it is subjected to any material that isn’t pH neutral. The pH scale measures how acidic something is. A substance will register as a 7 if it is neutral and less than 7 if it is acidic. (The lowest numbers go to liquids like battery acid, lemon juice, and vinegar.) If a substance is more alkaline than acidic, it will measure up to a 14 on the pH scale (with lye and ammonia ranking high).
So how do you protect your plated jewelry?
Here are just a few tips:
- Remove your jewelry before you swim in chlorine or salt water.
- Remove your jewelry before participating in activities that will cause you to sweat a lot.
- Wait to put on your jewelry until after you have applied lotion, makeup or perfume.
- Remove jewelry if you will be bringing it into contact with something hard. (For example, take off your ring before lifting weights.)
- Store your plated jewelry where it won’t rub against other hard substances (a soft bag—one per piece of jewelry—is ideal).
Wipe your gold plated jewelry after each use, using a soft cloth to remove any dirt or debris. You may also soak it for a few minutes in warm, soapy water and dry it with a soft cloth as needed (or a soft toothbrush to clean small cracks and crevices).
If your jewelry is tarnished beyond what a good cleaning can remedy, all is not lost. You can breathe new life into your jewelry by having it re-plated, or you can plate or re-plate jewelry and other products with an 18 or 24k gold plating kit.
Gold plated jewelry will remain bright and shine for a longer period of time if you know how to clean and protect it from scratches or fading. Some people think that because it is just gold plated, it can be easily tarnished. However, if you pay close attention to this infographic, the way you clean and wash your pieces of jewelry matter a lot.