Solid gold jewelry is regarded as the best quality gold; for most people, spending money on solid gold is the best possible use.
But solid gold is just as imperfect as any other type of gold, and despite its value, it’s imperfect; this means that it will require more care and attention and will not always look bright and shiny.
After some time, even solid gold jewelry will lose its luster. This guide takes you through everything you need to know about solid gold jewelry and if it will tarnish or not.
Why does solid gold jewelry tarnish?
Contrary to popular opinion, solid gold tarnishes will also have scratch marks over time.
The primary reason for this is that the only version of gold that is 100% tarnish-free is pure gold – pure gold is inert and doesn’t react with oxygen easily; it is also non-resistant, which is why gold bars always remains bright and shiny.
Solid gold jewelry, on the other hand, is an alloy that is imperfect and will tarnish because of the metals that are alloyed with pure gold.
Note that the alloying process is necessary because pure gold is too soft to be used as it is to create durable jewelry.
Alloying it with different metals like silver, copper, zinc, or nickel will increase the hardness of the alloyed solid gold jewelry, hence the commonality of the solid gold jewelry pieces.
The added metals are also the reason why it tarnishes after some time. Since most solid gold jewelry options are alloyed in different percentages to create the popular options of solid gold, 14K or 18K, solid gold jewelry will tarnish over time, especially with exposure to different elements in the environment, including cleaning products, water, skin, and hair products.
Common metals alloyed to pure gold to create 14k or 18k gold include platinum, silver, copper, and nickel; all these metals make the resultant solid gold much stronger and more durable during jewelry production.
10k and 14k gold pieces have a higher percentage of these metals to be alloyed into, meaning that they are more tarnish-prone than 18k solid gold options.
The main reasons for tarnishing solid gold jewelry are oxygen and sulfur. These two are also the metals that cause rusting of different metals.
In the same way, your solid gold jewelry will tarnish when exposed to moisture and when it mixes with oxygen and sulfur and reacts to the metals that are alloyed with gold.
The result of these reactions is corrosion on the surface, which appears as tarnishing.
Cologne, perfume, skin, and hair care products will also cause solid gold jewelry to tarnish faster. So, how do you prevent your solid gold jewelry from tarnishing?
So, what does tarnished solid gold jewelry look like?
Usually, the tarnished solid gold pieces look a little discolored and much darker than they initially did. So, the tarnished pieces are not as bright or shiny as the original pieces.
How to keep Solid gold jewelry from tarnishing
1. Keep the solid gold jewelry dry
The easiest and also the fastest way for any jewelry to tarnish is exposure to liquids and moisture. So, for your solid gold jewelry to stand out and stay bright, shiny, and tarnish-free, you may want to keep the jewelry from water.
But not just water from the faucet or bathroom but also from perfumes, body lotion, and sweat.
It’s also worth noting that your body oils may also contribute to and hasten the tarnishing process.
So, while avoiding things like sweating or body oils is impossible, you may want to keep it free from other forms of water, like water from the faucet. You should also try as much as you can to wipe down the jewelry after every wear.
2. Proper Storage
The other thing you could do to prevent or slow down the tarnishing rate of your favorite solid gold jewelry is to store the jewelry properly.
This means that you need to invest in the proper solid gold jewelry storage box, specifically a storage box designed to keep the solid gold jewelry separate.
Doing this prevents the pieces from rubbing against each other and getting scratches. In addition to keeping the pieces separated, you should also consider tossing a gel packet into the jewelry box for it to absorb moisture from the box and to keep the jewelry dry.
3. Don’t wear the jewelry at the time
The best way for you to avoid or slow down the rate of tarnishing of solid gold jewelry would be to stop wearing the jewelry when performing outdoor and household chores like gardening and cleaning.
You should also take the jewelry off when cooking and preparing meals and also exercising in the gym or when doing contact sports.
4. Wear your jewelry at the right time
To stop the jewelry from tarnishing, and for it to retain its shine for a long time, the most important thing for you to do is to wear the solid gold jewelry last.
When it comes to order dressing and accessorizing, your jewelry should go on last. This means that you need to apply lotion, hair and skin care products, fragrance, and other cosmetics, and after a few minutes, you can wear the jewelry.
This applies to all your gold jewelry; you should take the jewelry off first. Also, avoid wearing jewelry when going to the salon or doing your makeup.
5. Avoid exposing the jewelry to water
With metals like copper and silver added to gold to create solid gold jewelry, you need to keep water off the jewelry. You should avoid exposing the jewelry to water when washing your hands or preparing food.
Washing hands may seem very harmless, but soaps leave a dull finish on the jewelry, and over time, the jewelry will be hard to clean.
Also, the layer of scum will build up on the jewelry, making it dull, and ultimately, it will tarnish.
If you still need the jewelry to stay on while washing your hands, you shouldn’t dry your hands completely after. You also must ensure that you avoid exposing the jewelry to water for long periods.
You should also take off the jewelry when showering because soap and shower gel, shampoos, and conditioners build up the jewelry, making it dull and tarnished.
6. Clean the jewelry regularly
The other thing you could do to prevent tarnishing, the appearance of tarnishing, or avoid heavy tarnishing is cleaning the solid gold jewelry regularly.
This is always the easy part because the solid gold jewelry pieces only require warm water and a small amount of a gentle dishwashing liquid. The dishwashing liquid you choose to use should be free of phosphates.
After cleaning the jewelry, wipe the pieces gently using a soft cotton cloth.
However, avoid using abrasive materials like baking soda or toothpaste because these may make the solid gold pieces dull and it will also scratch the gold ring.
So, to be safe, just use a gentle detergent and warm water, then dry it with a lint-free cloth. And for pieces with intricate patterns, consider using the soft-bristled brush to knock the dirt and grime off the nooks and crannies.
Solid gold jewelry is stunning but not tarnish-free. However, the best thing to do to avoid tarnishing solid gold jewelry is to clean it and take good care of the pieces.
Avoid abrasives and exposure to tarnishing agents like water, oxygen, and sulfur, and also, you should clean the pieces regularly to prevent dulling and tarnishing.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.