If you often buy fashion or costume jewelry, you already know that you cannot really wear this kind of jewelry for too long, and if you do, you will suffer a huge embarrassment in terms of color change or, worse, a bad rash. But knowing this doesn’t always mean that you know what to expect with your fashion jewelry.
If you have fake jewelry with a gold finish, for example, there is always a possibility of a color change. However, no one is always or ever ready for some of these changes in jewelry, which means that your fake gold jewelry turning silver would be the least expected things to happen to you.
Here, we’ll look at everything you should know about your fake gold jewelry turning silver and the reason for the color change.
Why is your fake gold jewelry turning silver?
There are many reasons why your costume jewelry will change in color, and your fake bright gold earrings might soon turn silver. Below are the main reasons for the color changes:
Unlike jewelry made of solid gold, fake or fashion jewelry is often gold-plated, and the gold-coated layer will naturally flake off. The elements of the gold coating may also react with water and other elements in the environment, causing tarnishing. In case of the loss of the layer of gold, there are cases where the tarnished jewelry turns grey. This often happens when the exposed metal is made of sterling silver or high in sterling silver.
Sterling silver is known to tarnish when exposed to the air, water, lotions, oils, etc., and this exposure often results in a color change, which is often seen as a gray discoloration. The tarnished layer might also have black specks, which would be deposited on a piece of white cloth, especially if you try to wipe that piece of cloth. So, in addition to exposure to the air and the subsequent reaction of the jewelry with different elements in the air, hence discoloration, things like the body, skin, and hair products you use often increase the rate at which fake jewelry tarnishes.
Note that tarnish can be defined as a very thin layer of corrosion that builds up over time on corroded metals. It often results from the reaction of the metals with moisture in the air and/or the chemical compounds that the jewelry might be exposed to. The layer of tarnish will then appear as a dark-colored discoloration on your jewelry. Note that tarnishing is not limited to fake gold jewelry, and any jewelry made of materials that are not 100% pure gold or silver would tarnish.
In other cases, how fast the fake jewelry turns color is dependent on how well the piece of jewelry is cared for and if there are things that would result in the loss of the gold plated layer too fast, increasing the speed of tarnishing. If the jewelry is plated with 18k gold, for example, abrasion resulting from the jewelry scratching against hard surfaces will increase the rate of tarnishing for the fake gold pieces, meaning the jewelry turns gray or silver.
How do you fix tarnished fake gold?
Fake gold jewelry is sold cheaply, and for most people, it’s not worth much. So, once it’s damaged, the jewelry is often put away or thrown out. But what if there was a possibility or a chance to salvage the tarnished fake gold pieces of jewelry?
Well, here are some of the most effective remedies for getting rid of or fixing tarnished pieces of fake gold jewelry.
- Using lemon juice
You’d have to mix one part of clean water with equal parts lemon juice in a bowl. Then take your tarnished jewelry and soak the piece(s) in this bowl for about 10-15 minutes. The acid from the lemon should get rid of the layer of tarnish from the gold. If the piece of jewelry in question is heavily tarnished, consider soaking it in the lemon juice/water bowl for a little longer. Once the tarnish layer is removed by this mild acid, rinse the jewelry the dab it dry before storage.
- Baking Soda, aluminum foil, and salt
You could also clean your costume jewelry using salt, baking soda, and a piece of aluminum foil. For this, you need to line a clean plate with a sheet of aluminum foil, the shiny side facing up. Then, lay the darkened pieces of jewelry on the foil.
In a clean bowl, mix a tablespoon each of salt and baking soda with one cup of warm water, then pour the mix in the plate or pan lined with aluminum foil. This mixture creates a chemical reaction, and you will notice bubbling – this is nothing to worry about though- the bubbling tells you that the jewelry is being cleaned.
Once the bubbling dies down, rinse off the pieces of jewelry using cool water, then buff dry the cleaned pieces of jewelry using a clean cloth.
- Toothpaste hack
Lastly, you could use the toothpaste hack. Here, you need to use either an old toothbrush or a Q-Tip. Just squeeze a small amount of the toothpaste on the tarnished jewelry, then brush over the jewelry gently, either using Q-Tips or a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should brush the jewelry piece gently but focus on the crevices and other heavily tarnished bits. Rinse the jewelry carefully over clean and warm running water, then buff it dry using a clean cloth.
How to prevent tarnishing
- Avoid wearing the jewelry in the heavily chlorinated pools
- You should store your jewelry in dry, clean, and airtight storage boxes or bags
- Don’t use harsh cleaning compounds
- Wear jewelry last
- Don’t sleep, shower/bath, or exercise with your jewelry on
If your fake gold jewelry is turning silver or grey, it’s possibly tarnished, or the layer of gold could have flaked, exposing the metals underneath. In case of tarnishing, you can easily restore your jewelry to its original glory by following the cleaning recommendations shared above.