Does 18k Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish?(Here’s Reasons&Solutions)

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What does 18k gold plated mean? Does 18k gold plated jewelry tarnish? How long does 18k gold plated jewelry last? Can you wear 18k gold Plated jewelry every day? If you want to know the answers, you are in a right place.

Ordinary people purchasing jewelry can have a hard time making the right choice, especially if you don’t understand jewelry-speak. One word in particular that many are unsure about is the word “plated.”

Here, we’re going to explore what it means and let you know if it does tarnish or not. 

So, you need to understand the 18K gold Pated Mean First!

Does 18k Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish

What does 18k gold plated mean?

The purity of gold is measured in karats, and thus the ‘k’ that comes after a number stands for. The highest purity there is in the market is 24k gold.

So, why are we talking about 18k gold? In jewelry-making, you’ll rarely, if at all, find jewelry labeled 24k gold. That’s for various reasons, including the fact that 24k gold is too soft to work with, and it’s costly. That’s why this gold is best left for trading.

That brings us to 18k gold. From the number, you can tell that’s not pure gold. That’s because jewelers add other alloys, typically copper, to strengthen the metal. That makes it less susceptible to tarnish.

There are various levels of purity in gold, the lowest being 10k gold, but in this case, 18k gold contains 75 percent told with the remaining containing other metals or alloys.

Now that we’ve understood how gold is valued, it can be confusing to see the word “plated” next to an item you wish to purchase. What does that mean?

Well, for one, when you see anything after the karats, whether plated, filled, colored, or others, it means that the item is not made of real gold.

Yes, that’s why they are cheaper than genuine gold. That’s not a bad thing; it just makes gold-like jewelry more affordable, and it’s worthwhile too.

Plating means that, for one, we have a base metal or alloy. The jeweler then takes the items and puts a thin layer of, in this case, 18k real gold around the material underneath.

Therefore, it doesn’t mean that the thing is fake. It means that it’s not entirely gold, but the layer added is real gold.

Does 18k Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish

Does 18k gold plated jewelry tarnish?

The unfortunate thing is that any items that have been plated will tarnish over time to expose the metal or alloy underneath.

While it might be tempting to think of choosing a higher value of gold plating means it won’t tarnish, but that’s not the case.

While it won’t happen immediately, your 18k gold plated jewelry will tarnish. The issue with the tarnishing has nothing to do with the gold but rather the base metal.

Gold is inert, so it doesn’t corrode or rust. However, the same is not so about the base metal. They are indeed prone to oxidizing and corroding, which in turn affect the gold layer.

The molecules of the metal underneath transfer to the gold layer, drastically affecting the appearance.

What’s more, if the gold layer is thin, the tarnishing becomes quite evident quickly.

Slowing down the tarnishing process requires first plating the base metal with nickel, which does cause allergic reactions to a significant number of people once the tarnishing process begins.

Does 18k gold plated jewelry fade?

Very much like tarnishing, fading can take place depending on how you treat the surface of the jewelry itself.

The layer is thin, so it will flake or dust off when it is in constant contact with abrasive objects. Harsh chemicals also play a similar role since they’ll cause corrosion.

A big culprit for quicker tarnishing is sulfur compounds; their combination and moisture and oxygen bring about this problem.


How long does 18k gold plated jewelry last?

With good care, your 18k gold plated jewelry will last about two years.

That’s a long time to get to enjoy an item you’ve to purchase, especially at its price point compared to real gold.

Though the flaking and the loss of luster is inevitable, it doesn’t mean you have to require the pieces you have once they fade.

The standard solution is getting them replated. The price depends on the size of the item.

If example, you can get a ring replated for about $25, though the price varies from store to store.

Will 18k gold plated turn skin green?

18k gold plated Jewelry that’s fresh off the box will not stain your skin green.

That’s because gold is hypoallergenic, meaning that it won’t react even to the most sensitive skin.

There are exceptions, but this is quite rare and should be the least of your worries. However, while 18k gold plated jewelry, when new, won’t stain your finger, those of a lower karat, let’s say 10k gold, will likely stain your finger.

However, when the plating tarnishes, exposing the base metal underneath, it’s quite likely that your skin will begin to turn green.

When it happens, it’s not harmful, but it can be unsightly. It does mean that there’s a chemical reaction taking place between your skin and the metal.

In general, don’t be surprised if, out of the blue, your gold plated jewelry starts behaving as such. Additionally, that’s one quick way of knowing if you’re wearing real gold or not.


Can you wear 18k gold Plated jewelry every day?

We’ve talked about 18k plated jewelry tarnishing, and that can cause people to worry about how to wear them.

Well, the good news is that you can wear your 18k gold piece every day.

However, there’s a catch. Let’s explore them in the next two segments.

Can you shower with 18k gold plated?

When it comes to anything gold, it is never a good idea to shower with it. Doing so causes the gold to lose its luster and look dull.

It’s all the more essential to take off your jewelry when getting into water, showers, chores, sauna, and swimming included because you’re dealing with a thin gold layer.

Therefore, no, you cannot shower with 18k gold plated jewelry, especially if you want it to hit the two-year mark.


Tips for caring for your 18K gold plated Jewelry

Let’s look at a list of things you ought to keep in mind if and when you own 18k gold plated jewelry.

– Keep your jewelry away from chemicals (soap, cleaners, and detergents included), lotions, oils, and makeup. Only wear the item once you finish applying anything to your skin, and have given an allowance of drying time

– Handle your jewelry with clean hands to avoid a transfer of dirt, debris, or dust, which reduces the luster.

– When you’re entering any water body, take off your ring. Chlorine and saltwater accelerate the tarnishing process.

– Take off your jewelry when exercising or doing heavy work as sweat reacts with the gold

– Clean your gold plated jewelry regularly with a combination of mild soap and warm water. Soak for a few minutes, and use a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt. Rinse well with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. Avoid jewelry cleaners and polishing cloths.

– Store your jewelry separately. Not doing so leaves it likely to rub and scratch on other jewelry, leaving scratches exposing the base layer.



We hope that you now have all the information you need to make smart purchases and the awareness of how to take care of your 18k gold jewelry.

For more informational posts like this one, please read here or here. See you guys in the next post!

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