All jewelry requires cleaning to maintain its shine and luster, and the best way to clean gold plated jewelry is to make a tiny bath of soapy, warm water. Quickly immerse the piece of jewelry, followed by a gentle cleaning with a cotton ball swab or q-tip. Allow to air dry, and shine with a non-abrasive, lint free cloth. Regular cleaning in this manner, especially on items worn regularly, will keep them lovely.
Gold (or rose) jewelry is an alloy of gold combined with another metal, and gold plated jewelry is a thin layer of gold on top of sterling silver and will eventually tarnish. Even more of a problem than tarnishing with gold jewelry, is the build up of dirt caused by makeup and the oils in the skin. This can cause the jewelry to look dull or dirty, and thus requires the piece to be cleaned. Cleaning gold jewelry is the same as gold plated jewelry, but with a gentler hand. If an abrasive action occurs, it can likely wear down and remove the thin layer of gold plating. If removed, no cleaning can restore the look of the item, and therefore harsher cleaning products should be avoided.
Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through. The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on the thickness of the plated items, so there is no simple answer. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate.
A gentle touch with warm, soapy water is the best way to keep your jewelry sparkling.