If you have had that genuine solid gold necklace or earrings for many years now or perhaps any other kind of jewelry, you may have noticed some changes, one of which may be the fact that the gold chain has lost its sparkle.
It may be discolored, too, or even have some blackish hues on some spot. Naturally, the first thing that crosses your mind when this happens is the possibility of the gold chain having been a fake one. But then, this is not always the case.
Although pure, 24k gold doesn’t tarnish, the commercially available gold jewelry, regardless of the gold color or the karats, will show some changes after some time. How fast you notice the color changes, for instance, will depend on the gold karats, or rather, the purity level of gold,
And so, if you have a 14k rose gold piece, for example, you should be aware of the possibility of some color changes because of the loss of that warm pinkish-reddish hue that you see on the gold piece.
This change results from the presence of copper, among other metals. And so, over time, these metals alloyed with gold react with different elements in the environment that the jewelry is exposed to. Over time, the initial brightness and sparkle on the gold chain disappear.
Why does your gold chain turn black or yellowish?
The primary reason for the discoloration of your gold chain is that the metals that are alloyed with gold react with different environmental factors, resulting in a reaction whose product has the black specks that are deposited on the gold, and slowly the gold changes color.
However, most solid gold pieces do not tarnish, and the ones that do tend to be the gold-plated pieces. And so, if your gold chain is turning black, it may be plated using a poor-plating technique, and also, a low-quality gold alloy may have been used. Also, if the gold layer is too thin, the chain wears out fast, and the base metal discolors it.
We can also blame corrosion. This often happens when your solid gold chain is corroded – instead, the primary metal alloys in the gold chain are corroded.
Hence a dark chemical compound forms under wet or moist conditions and ultimately turns the gold chain black. The same could happen because of sweating, during which the fats, fatty acids, and sweat corrode the gold metal alloys.
In such instances, the speed of corrosion is higher when the jewelry is constantly exposed to warm and moist air, chlorine in pool water, or the heat in the tropical areas or the seas and beaches.
The good news is that despite the damage caused, you can restore the shine of the gold chain quickly.
How to make a gold chain shine again that turn black
Cleaning gold chain using dish soap
The first method for cleaning and restoring the shine of the gold chain is as simple as it gets, and you’d only need dish soap and warm water.
- First, you need to mix the dish soap and the warm water in a bowl. Mix them well until the soap is well incorporated into the water. This is an essential step if you want to ensure that the gold chain is cleaned effectively.
The only thing you need to note here is that the dishwashing soap you select should be phosphate-free. You do not want phosphates near your gold jewelry because they will only worsen the tarnishing of the gold chain after cleaning,
- Next, soak the gold chain in the warm, soapy water for about 15 minutes. If cleaning more than one piece of jewelry, you will need to double the volume of the cleaning solution for increased effectiveness of the soap when cleaning. It’s worth mentioning, however, that before you clean the gold chain, you should examine the setting if, for example, it has a diamond or a ruby for the pendant.
- Cleaning the chain using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Now that you have soaked the chain for the recommended amount of time, you should clean its surface. A soft toothbrush is often enough – avoid the ‘medium’ or ‘hard’ toothbrushes because these may be abrasive on the gold medal and cause small scratches that eventually deepen and enlarge and will be more visible after time making the chain lose its beautiful shine. Just go in with a gentle, back and forth motion without having to put too much pressure on the metal.
You also want to avoid the temptation to clean the chain using paper towels or other rough materials. If you must use a piece of cloth, go for a soft polyester or cotton. You could also use a jewelry rag or cloth.
However, regardless of the type of gold chain, remember that gold scratches very easily. And so, be gentle.
- After cleaning, rinse off all the soap from the chain. To rinse it properly, we recommend rinsing it under warm running water, going over the jewelry, and just let water flow over the chain, rotating it evenly to ensure that all soap is out. Remember that you need to get rid of all the soap because the residue will attract a great deal of dust and grime if any soap is left behind.
- Last, air-dry the gold chain. You could also pat it down gently on a soft towel until it’s completely dry. Air drying is the next important step that will get rid of any remaining moisture before you put it away in the storage box.
Ammonia & Water Solution
If the gold chain has no stone settings, you can clean it well using a mild ammonia solution. You need to use 6 parts of water and 6 parts warm water in a bowl or a small cup.
- Just dip the chain in this mixture, although you could soak it for about 3-5 minutes, and then scrub it gently using cotton swabs or a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- And then, rinse it carefully under warm, running water – plug the drain, and make sure that you have washed out all the ammonia.
- When finally clean, dry it on soft cotton or lint-free cloth and then let it air-dry on a dry cloth or a dry towel. Avoid paper towels because they may easily scratch the chain.
After cleaning it, buff the chain gently using soft cotton or microfiber cloth or even the jewelry polishing cloth that came with the chain.
Cleaning gold chain with stone settings
Unlike the gold chain without settings, the chain with stone settings needs to be cleaned much more carefully. Like the method above, you need ammonia and water – 6 parts warm water and 1 part ammonia. It would be best to soak the jewelry because ammonia and water could quickly weaken the setting.
To remove residue:
- Dip a soft cloth in the warm solution, then use it to wipe the jewelry very carefully, removing tarnish and residue.
- When done, dip the chain in a bowl with warm water and wipe the jewelry again to get rid of ammonia.
- Dry it using a soft, lint-free cloth, and lay down the chain on a dry towel, with the stones facing down for all the water to drain.
We recommend letting the jewelry dry overnight. And when ready to wear or put it on the next day, buff it using a soft, clean jeweler’s cloth.
Remember that too much ammonia permanently damages gold, so you should use the weakest possible ammonia solution. And after cleaning it, store the gold chain in a jewelry box, preferably in a dark and dry spot.
You can restore the shine and sparkle on your gold chain, either by wiping it down with a clean, soft cloth then cleaning it in warm water and dish soap, or you could use a solution of ammonia.
Either way, you need to clean the gold chain carefully and gently.
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.