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Jewellery Care Design

Does gold tarnish?

Gold's popularity in jewellery is not just a modern trend; it's a testament to its enduring appeal that has captivated people for millennia. Extracted from the earth, transformed by fire, and shaped by skilled artisans---gold goes through a lot before it reaches your jewellery box.

But given its long journey and even longer life, is gold's shine flawless? Can this metal, so often associated with purity and eternal beauty, lose its lustre over time? Let's dig deep into the question that plagues both casual wearers and avid collectors: does gold tarnish?

So... Does gold tarnish? 

The short answer is that pure gold, also known as 24-karat gold, does not tarnish. Thanks to its elemental purity, it remains as radiant as the day it was crafted. Pure gold is chemically inert, unlike other metals that may corrode or tarnish when exposed to air or moisture. It doesn't react with oxygen, so it won't tarnish over time.

However, it's essential to note that not all that glitters is pure gold. Many pieces of gold jewellery are made from something other than 24-karat gold but are instead less pure, gold-plated or gold-filled. These pieces combine gold with other metals like copper, zinc, or nickel to make them more durable.

While this may enhance their strength, it also makes them susceptible to tarnishing. The other metals in the alloy react with air and moisture, leading to a loss of lustre and a tarnished appearance over time.

Gold-plated jewellery has an even thinner layer of gold, making it more prone to fading. So, does gold-plated tarnish? Yes, even if the gold itself is pure, the gold layer can wear away, exposing the base metal underneath, which can tarnish or corrode.

So, when considering the longevity and appearance of your gold jewellery, it's crucial to know its purity. Pure gold jewellery won't tarnish, but lower-karat pieces and gold-plated items may lose their shine.

What does tarnished gold look like?

If your jewellery isn't made of pure gold, you need to look out for the signs of tarnishing. When alloyed gold tarnishes, it loses its radiant glow and takes on a dull appearance.

The tarnishing process can be even more dramatic for gold-plated or gold-filled items. These pieces may develop a black or greenish hue as a result of the oxidation of the alloyed metals like copper, zinc, or nickel. Over time, you might notice that the surface of the gold becomes uneven, almost as if it's been covered in a fine layer of dust or grime. In extreme cases, the tarnish can form patches or streaks, marring the smooth, reflective surface of the jewellery.

These signs are a clear indication that your gold jewellery needs some attention and restorative care.

How to prevent your gold jewellery from tarnishing

While pure gold is naturally resistant to tarnishing, it's still essential to take steps to maintain its lustre. Here are some preventative measures to ensure your gold keeps its shine:

  • Remove jewellery in water. Water is not a friend to gold, especially if it's not pure. Always remove your gold jewellery when showering, swimming, or doing dishes. 

  • Store correctly. Your gold needs a cool, dry place to maintain its shine. A jewellery box with separate compartments is ideal, as it prevents pieces from scratching against each other. 

  • Invest in purity. If you're in the market for new pieces, opting for pure gold over gold-plated or filled items ensures that your jewellery will stand the test of time. 

  • Regular cleaning. Even though pure gold doesn't tarnish, oils and dirt from your skin can accumulate on its surface, affecting its shine. A gentle cleaning with mild dish soap and a soft cloth can go a long way.

  • Avoid chemicals. Household cleaners, perfumes, and even lotions can contain chemicals that may tarnish gold. 

  • Remember professional check-ups. Consider getting jewellery checked and cleaned by professionals annually. Jewellers can also check for any wear and tear, ensuring your jewellery lasts for generations.

How to clean tarnished gold

If your gold jewellery has lost its lustre, several ways exist to restore its original beauty. Here are some of the quickest and most straightforward:

  • Mild dish soap. For those wondering how to clean tarnish gold, a simple solution of mild dish soap and warm water can work wonders. Just apply it with a soft cloth. 

  • Soft-bristled toothbrush. For intricate designs, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub the tarnished areas gently.

  • Professional cleaning. For severe cases of tarnish, it's advisable to take your jewellery to a professional. For a more comprehensive guide, visit our jewellery care page.

How to look after your gold jewellery

Taking proper care of your gold jewellery can prevent scratches and discolouration. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and mindful wearing can go a long way in maintaining the beauty of your pieces. 

For regular cleaning, a simple soak in warm water with a few drops of mild dish soap can do wonders. Gently scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove any dirt or oils. To avoid damage when you're not wearing them, store your pieces in a dedicated jewellery box with soft lining and separate compartments. 

Most of all, be conscious of when you wear your gold jewellery. Remove them during activities that could lead to scratches or exposure to chemicals, such as gardening, cleaning, or even rigorous exercise.

For detailed tips on how to keep your gold jewellery in pristine condition, check out our guides on how to remove and avoid scratches and how to care for your gold and platinum.

Explore tarnish-free gold jewellery at 7879

Pure gold jewellery is a timeless investment that retains its beauty and value. It does not tarnish, especially when cared for properly.

If you're looking to add to your collection or invest in a piece that will stand the test of time, explore our range of exquisite gold jewellery.