Pure gold and silver jewelry is known for its beauty, but it is also very expensive, making it difficult for most people to afford. As a result, many people opt for more affordable alternatives.
Plated jewelry offers an affordable option to replicate iconic styles without straining your budget. It is equally stylish, durable, and can even be personalized based on recommendations from jewelers.
Plated jewelry, like all jewelry, requires regular care to maintain its appearance. Fortunately, cleaning plated jewelry is simple and can be done without professional help. Here are the steps to clean your plated jewelry.
What Is Gold Plated Jewelry?
Metallurgists developed electroplating in 1805 as a more affordable alternative to pure gold jewelry, allowing everyone to enjoy the luxury look without the high prices.
Jewelry is electroplated in a few steps. First, a base metal is cleaned with strong chemicals for proper chemical bonding. Base metals are crucial for plated jewelry as they provide the foundation for the gold overlay. Common base metals are stainless steel and copper.
The base metal is first coated with nickel. This layer prevents any negative chemical reactions between the gold top coat and the base metal. If gold were mixed with copper, it could alter the color. Nickel, on the other hand, does not impact the chemical composition of gold, making it essential for this process.
Next, the piece of jewelry is submerged in a solution of positively charged liquid gold, which enables the gold to chemically adhere to the base metal and nickel layer.
Gold plating is a popular choice as it utilizes real gold, and some gold plated items can have layers up to 2.5 micrometers thick. Additionally, various types of gold, such as white, green, and rose gold, can still be used for plating jewelry.
Tips for Maintaining Gold Plated Jewelry
Plated jewelry may tarnish over time, leading to a dirty and dated appearance. Along with regular cleaning, there are simple steps you can take during your daily routine to ensure the longevity of your plated jewelry.
Gold can react negatively with certain chemicals, so it's important to remove it beforehand. Chlorine, in particular, can be harmful to the metal, so it's advised to take it off before swimming. It is also recommended to remove any jewelry before engaging in intense physical activity. Sweat can wear away the plating and there's a risk of the piece getting caught or damaged during movement.
Additionally, it is recommended to put on your jewelry as the last step in your morning routine. Lotions, makeup, and face soaps can potentially damage plated jewelry, so it is important to address this before considering your accessories.
When storing plated jewelry, it is important to take proper care by storing it in a cool, dry, and dark place to protect it from airborne elements that can cause tarnish. Additionally, wiping each piece down with a soft cloth before storage can help prevent any oils on the surface from corroding the gold layer.
Gold is a soft metal, so it's important to ensure that your jewelry doesn't come into contact with each other in your drawer or box. To prevent any damage, remove your gold plated pieces before handling hard materials, like weights.
Understanding and caring for your jewelry is important, as it promotes longevity and enhances your overall experience with them.
However, it is inevitable for dirt and grime to accumulate. How can one restore a piece if it has lost its iconic gold shine?
How to clean Gold Plated Jewelry and remove dirt and grime
Cleaning plated jewelry can be easily and safely done by using a kit specifically designed for plated jewelry, such as the one available from the company you purchased your piece from.
Before cleaning your jewelry, be sure to check for any precious gemstones such as opals or pearls. These stones are delicate and can be damaged by the chemicals and mixtures used for cleaning. It is recommended to err on the side of caution.
To keep your plated jewelry looking and feeling fresh, all you need to do is regularly maintain it. You won't have to do this very often if you start from the beginning. Cleaning is easy and won't negatively react with your gold. You can polish up a Miami Cuban Chain without stripping away its sleek exterior gold plating with this kit.
How can one determine the quality of plated jewelry?
Gold plated jewelry typically includes genuine gold in its coating, ensuring initial good quality. However, it is advisable to check for certain indicators that the jewelry will remain durable against dirt, grime, and pressure in the long run.
Gold is assessed in karats. 24k is 100% pure gold. It is rare and expensive, but looks similar to lower karatage gold. Most gold plated pieces are 14k to 18k. Jewelers prefer working with this karatage as it allows for creating various stylish colors like white gold. If your piece is 10k or higher, it should be fine.
The pendant is a baguette pyramid made of white gold.
The thickness of the gold plating can also indicate its durability. Some sellers offer the option of gold vermeil, which must meet specific quality guidelines in order to be labeled as such.
Vermeil jewelry is known for its durability against dirt and oils, as well as its ability to maintain its luster over many years of cleanings and polishings.
Furthermore, it is worth noting whether the manufacturer provides a lifetime guarantee for their products. This indicates a company that values your investment and has faith in the durability of their jewelry. It is a reassuring indication that any purchase made from them will be able to withstand rigorous cleaning procedures.
Pure gold jewelry may not be worth the investment as even a plated chain can be indistinguishable. However, it is important to note that unsightly blemishes and markings can be noticeable, so it is crucial to take steps to maintain its appearance, regardless of the quality of the piece.
Cleaning jewelry is a straightforward process that can be completed quickly using common household items. The dish soap method is gentle enough to use on most pieces, allowing you to clean multiple items at once.
Style can be affordable, and maintaining your wardrobe can be simple. By adhering to a few guidelines, you can achieve a fashionable appearance similar to popular rappers.