Gold jewelry looks beautiful and is a brilliant investment. But the question is, does solid gold tarnish like other metals? And how should you take care of your preloved pieces?
We'll take you through what tarnishing means, whether you need to worry about it, and how to clean and store your vintage solid gold jewelry.
Does Solid Gold Tarnish? The Answer Is Simple
Tarnishing is what happens when the surface of jewelry reacts to other substances. This can be water, chemicals, or even just air. Eventually, you may find that some cheaper jewelry becomes discolored; this is a natural process.
However, the good news is that solid gold itself doesn't tend to tarnish very easily. Gold-plated rings will tarnish much more easily than a solid gold ring of the same size, for example.
But you might find that after a while your solid gold items become dull and a bit lifeless. This isn't the same as tarnishing, but it does happen, and it can be easily solved by a bit of cleaning.
A Note On Karats
Higher-karat gold has a higher percentage of gold mixed in. This obviously gives them more value, and higher-karat pieces tend to look very beautiful. But it also means that these pieces will be softer because gold is softer than some other metals.
This means that your very high-karat pieces, like 22/24 karat, need to be handled with a little more care. They may be slightly more prone to damage than hardier karats like 8-14 karats. It's just something to keep in mind. They may also need cleaning more often to bring them back to their gorgeous original color.
Many people like to save their 24-karat pieces for special occasions for this reason. They're an amazing piece to wear now and then. If you do want to wear them every day, just make sure to check them over every so often and clean them regularly.
How to Care for Gold?
Caring for gold is very simple, and it doesn't take much to look after your solid gold jewelry. It just takes a bit of time. One top tip before you start: don't be tempted to clean your jewelry over a sink. It's way too easy to drop a precious ring down the drain, and many a beloved item has been lost that way!
Instead, you should get a large, clean bowl and use that instead. It's much safer this way.
To clean solid gold, you need to adopt a 'go gently' kind of approach. All you need is a soft cloth, a soft toothbrush, and some plain, gentle soap (like mild dish soap). Plus, you'll need a bowl of warm water.
To clean your pieces, you can:
- Mix the warm water with the mild dish soap
- Dip the soft cloth in the water and gently clean each piece, making sure to take the time to clean all areas
- Run the soft cloth under some fresh water and use this to gently remove any suds from your now-clean jewelry
- Lay them on another soft cloth or towel to dry; don't put them away until they are completely dry everywhere
You can also use the soft toothbrush to clean any fittings, like for example the setting of a stone on an engagement ring.
The key thing to remember is to let it completely dry. This will keep your gold jewelry looking nice and will mean they are ready to wear the next time. Plus, getting water trapped between your skin and a ring, for example, can cause a rash or sore skin, so it's better to make sure everything is totally dry.
You can, of course, have your jewelry professionally cleaned. A local jeweler can do this for you. If your pieces have precious stones, pearls, or diamonds, this is a good choice. They can bring your pieces up to their sparkling best and take their time to do it.
Of course, there will be a charge to clean jewelry, so having it professionally cleaned may be a once-in-a-while kind of thing. There's no set time to clean your jewelry. Just do it whenever you notice your solid gold pieces are looking dull or have lost some of their lustre.
How to Store Solid Gold Jewelry?
Solid gold jewelry needs to be stored carefully. It's hard-wearing, but it's still best to store them properly, especially your higher-karat or higher-value pieces.
Separating your jewelry by metal is a good idea, so keep all your gold and silver pieces separate. You should also avoid storing necklaces together (because they can easily tangle) and keep them away from humidity. It's better to store your jewelry in a bedroom than in a bathroom, for instance.
Other than that, how you store them is up to you. Whether you want to have your rings displayed on a pretty dish, or whether you prefer to have everything organized in a jewelry box, solid gold keeps really well.
Solid Gold Is Easy to Care For
Now you know that sold gold doesn't really tarnish, you can wear your pieces with confidence. Plus, you can start a cleaning routine every now and then to bring your vintage jewelry back to its best.
Solid gold is pretty hardy, so you can wear your pieces happily for years to come.