Gold and Tarnishing: What You Need to Know

For anyone who has owned gold jewelry, no matter if it is real or gold plated, one of the primary fears is tarnishing. Tarnishing is caused by corrosion of the surface, resulting in a dark-tinged discoloration of the metal. While many experts will state that pure gold does not tarnish, it is difficult to find jewelry that is made of pure gold. It is a soft metal and therefore combined with base metals to strengthen it. If you have gold jewelry that is tarnished, it does not mean that you have “fake gold,” but rather not pure gold. Tarnishing can happen at any time. The goal is to know what causes gold to tarnish and what you can do to prevent it.

Why Does Gold Tarnish?

Many people want to know why does gold tarnish. Questions are fielded by many jewelers wondering why does real gold tarnish, and if gold plated is only partially gold, why does gold plated tarnish as well? The primary reason comes down to simple chemistry – the combination of moisture plus sulfur and oxygen cause gold tarnishing. Continual exposure to cleaning detergents, chlorine, hairspray, perfume, and deodorants can also cause gold to tarnish. If you have solid gold jewelry or gold plated jewelry, no matter the type, it is important to take care and prevent tarnishing.

How to Treat Tarnishing

You can easily treat tarnished gold at home and have it look like new. You can use the same treatment for solid gold and gold plated jewelry. To treat gold tarnishing, take a glass of warm water and add a few drops of non-phosphate dishwashing liquid to it. Using a cotton swab, gently rub the solution over the tarnished areas. Use a soft cloth to dry the jewelry and then allow it to air dry. It is ill-advised to use baking soda or toothpaste because of their abrasive nature. And of course, if you are unsure, you can always bring your gold jewelry to a reputable jeweler who will be more than happy to remove tarnish and provide preventative advice.

How to Prevent Gold Tarnishing

Speaking of preventative measures, there are some things you can do in your home to prevent gold from tarnishing. For example, never have your gold jewelry come in contact with water. Even if you are cleaning your hands, remove gold jewelry first. Soap residuals tend to cause jewelry to become dull over time. Another thing you can easily do is store each piece of your gold jewelry separately. We suggest creating little compartments in your jewelry box for each item or putting each jewelry piece in its own pouch for safe keeping. When you want beautiful personalized jewelry, say it in solid gold... just make sure you take care of it!

Gold and Tarnishing


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