How Long Does It Take for 10K Gold to Tarnish?-Expert Answer

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Gold jewelry has, for a long time, been something of a status symbol that signifies wealth and beauty. It is the epitome of luxury where jewelry is concerned.

Seeing as gold is expensive, jewelers have, over the years, come up with ways to make gold jewelry that is somewhat affordable. There are several forms of gold, with the purest of them being 24 Karats.

10K gold jewelry has the least amount of gold in it, and for this reason, it is the fairest in price. Seeing as it contains the least amount of gold, many wonder whether or not it tarnishes, and how long it takes for it to tarnish.


Will 10K gold tarnish if I wear it every day?

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

Yes, it is likely that 10K gold will tarnish if you wear it every day. Essentially, it is comprised of 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy.

The metals in the alloy are prone to degradation and will, therefore, cause your ring to tarnish when they get exposed to everyday conditions like water, soaps, and air.


So, how long does 10k gold take to tarnish?

As mentioned in the section above, 10K gold is the lowest solid gold alloy. Because it has little gold inside, 10K gold jewelry has a pale yellow color and does not glow as much as purer gold. 10k gold takes more than 5 years to tarnish, but this is also dependent on how much care you give it.

Also, the alloys within the 10K gold tend to react with environmental factors faster, making your ring tarnish sooner.

Most alloys are made using silver, zinc, copper, and palladium, and these may be more prone to tarnishing than the gold itself. The alloy composition also determines, to a large extent, how long your 10K gold will last.

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

Does 10K Gold tarnish in water?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. Gold, as a metal, is an inert element which essentially means that it does not react with other substances such as water, air, and other natural elements. This is to mean that pure gold (24K gold) is likely to maintain its beauty and form for centuries.

However, 10K gold contains only 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals. These others; copper, nickel, palladium, and zinc, have the capacity to react with natural elements such as moisture and sulfur.

Being that they take up the majority share, they will get damaged and cause your 10K jewelry to tarnish. Simply put, it is not the gold in the pieces but the other metals in the same that will tarnish and cause damage to your 10K ring or neckpiece.

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

What does tarnished 10K gold look like?

Tarnished 10k gold will have a film of discoloration on its surface. The level and color of tarnish are, again, determined by the metals in the alloy part of the piece of jewelry.

When you see black tarnish on the piece of 10K gold, it is a result of oxidation. This happens when the metals in the alloy mix with air and moisture and react.

If, however, you notice a green tarnish, it is a result of exposure to sulfur. Green tarnish can also be caused by exposure to saltwater and other harsh chemicals such as bleaches, industrial detergents, and other similar compounds.


Tips for storing your 10K gold jewelry

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

Here are a couple of tips you can use to make sure that your 10k gold jewelry pieces last a lifetime without tarnishing and getting damaged.

1. Store the pieces in a jewelry box

Choose a jewelry box that is large enough to fit your pieces if you have many. Also, do not use a regular jewelry box that is made simply of plastic or wood.

Make sure that your chosen box is lined with soft fabric such as velvet to make sure that your pieces do not get scratched during storage.

Apart from making sure that the jewelry does not get scratched, the jewelry box will keep the pieces from being exposed to moisture which may cause the alloys to start deteriorating in quality.

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

2. Make sure that clean pieces are separated from dirty ones

If you are constantly collecting all sorts of jewelry that is made from other reactive metals such as copper which are prone to rusting and other forms of degradation, you ought to store them away from your fine pieces.

You may have a rusty ring that you hope to get restored, or that you wore as you were gardening.

Do not store it together with your 10K gold pieces as this may cause the alloys in the gold jewelry to react with the rusty metal and begin to tarnish.


3. Store each of the pieces separately

Even when they are in a jewelry box, try as much as you can to store each piece separately. Use a soft cloth to wrap each piece individually as this will make sure that they will not brush against each other and leave scratches.

This way, you will have them maintain their original luster over a long time, and you will not have to go for routine polishing all too often.

How long does it take for 10K gold to tarnish

4. Hang your 10K necklaces up on a hook

Seeing as necklaces may take up too much room in your jewelry box and, more importantly, that they would scratch against each other easily, it is important that you hang them up on a hook.

This will also keep them from knotting and kinking.

In case you do not have hooks, you can purchase a jewelry stand which will allow you a lot more room especially if you have many 10K gold necklaces.



Even though pure gold is a lot more beautiful and luxurious, it is softer and more prone to mechanical damage.

With 10K gold, you sort of get the best of two aspects; the beauty of gold and the durability of metal alloys.

When taken good care of, 10K gold can last decades without tarnishing, and the fact that it does not wear as easily or as fast as pure gold sets you at quite the advantage.

As if not enough, you will save an incredible amount of money when you purchase 10K gold jewelry.

Read more jewelry metal posts here or here


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