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.
Another way to clean jewelry is with a baking soda solution.
Here is a video on how to clean in this fashion:
Regular cleaning, in any 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 it will eventually tarnish.
Even more of a problem than tarnishing with gold plated 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 any plated jewelry requires a gentler hand.
If an abrasive action occurs, it can likely wear down and remove the thin layer of gold plating.
Therefore, it is best to avoid very harsh chemicals.
If removed, no cleaning can restore the look of the item, and therefore harsher cleaning products should be avoided.
What is gold-plated jewelry?
Gold plated jewelry is a thin layer of electroplated gold on top of another metal.
With time, temperature and voltage carefully controlled, the piece is submerged into the plating solution to attract ions of gold or the final metal that will show on the surface.
Different metals require different voltages and temperatures.
The items to be plated are hung from a cathode bar, which is a pole with a negative electrical charge going through it. The pieces of jewelry connected to the cathode bar are also negatively charged.
When the jewelry items are submerged in the tank an electrical charge is applied and the negatively charged jewelry attracts the positively charged ions present in the solution.
The positively charged metal ions are submersed in the solution bath. When the cathode bar is lowered into the bath the metal jewelry gets plated.
The plating thickness can be controlled by adjusting the immersion time in the plating tank.
The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on the thickness of the plated items.
So, how long will it last?
There really is no one-size-fits-all answer for that.
It depends on the wear and tear of piece, if you immerse it in water while showering, swimming, washing hands, or at the beach. Or, if you take it off each night and carefully wipe it down and leave it stored properly in a sealed box or plastic bag.
In our humble opinion, jewelry is meant to be worn.
It is meant to be enjoyed and loved.
Wear it, love it, treat it with respect and if the plating does begin to show signs of aging, know that with Alef Bet Jewelry, the base metal is always sterling silver. So, you have on real jewelry regardless.
And know that you loved and adored that piece of jewelry so much that you never wanted to be apart from it, not even to shower, wash hands, swim or go to the beach. So, maybe after a year or so this might happen.
Now, on the flip side there is also gold filled jewelry.
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.
It is sort of like an egg-shell where the inside is silver and the outer layer if gold. Therefore, it is gold-filled.
Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through.
These bracelets are gold-filled with 14k rose or yellow gold.
And they look fantastic year after year, but the cost is slightly higher. And, you don't have to worry about water or fading after a few years.
All in all, a gentle touch with warm, soapy water is the best way to keep your jewelry sparkling. You should also store it properly in plastic and/or a jewelry box of some sorts.
Let us know how you store your jewelry.