How To Clean Plated Jewelry

Pure gold and silver jewelry is gorgeous, no doubt. But they are so outrageously expensive that it’s nearly impossible for anyone to be able to afford such luxuries. So unless you’re 2 Chainz or 50 Cent, you’re going to have to go for a cheaper alternative.

Plated jewelry is an affordable way to mimic those iconic looks without ever putting a dent in your bank account. They’re just as stylish, durable, and can even be customized based on jeweler recommendations.

Like all jewelry, plated pieces need a little bit of love and care in order to keep them looking as stunning as when you opened the box. The good news: it’s easy and won’t require any professional assistance. Here’s all you need to do to clean your plated jewelry.

What Is Plated Jewelry?

Because pure gold jewelry is so expensive, metallurgists wanted to come up with a cheaper option for anybody to achieve a luxury look without luxury prices. Thankfully for us, Italian inventor Luigi Brugnatelli created the process ofelectroplating in 1805 so that the benefits of gold could be enjoyed by all.

Jewelry is electroplated over the course of a few steps. First, a base metal is cleaned with strong chemicals to ensure proper chemical bonding. Base metals are important for plated jewelry, as they provide the foundation in which the gold will eventually overlay. Popular base metals include stainless steel and copper.

Next, the base metal is covered in a layer of nickel. This thin layer of the metal ensures that the gold top coat will not have a negative chemical reaction with the base metal. For example, if gold were combined with copper, it could cause a change in color. Nickel does not affect the chemical composition of gold, so it’s necessary for this process.

Finally, the piece of jewelry is dipped into liquid gold that is positively charged with a battery. This allows the gold to physically bond with the base metal and nickel layer.

Gold plating is great because itdoesstill use real gold. In fact, some gold plated pieces could have layers that are as much as 2.5 micrometers in thickness. Plus, different variations of gold can still be plated into jewelry, like white, green, androse gold.

How To Clean Plated Jewelry

19mm Diamond Prong Cuban Bracelet Rose Gold

How To Maintain Plated Jewelry

Plated jewelry is subject to tarnish over time, causing it to look dirty, dated, and unsightly. In addition to regular cleaning, there are some simple things you can do during your daily activity to make sure that your plated jewelry lasts.

For one, since gold reacts negatively with certain chemicals, it is important to remove it before possibly exposing it. Chlorine can be especially detrimental to the metal, so be sure to remove it before heading into the pool. It’s also recommended that you take off any jewelry before heavy exercise. Not only can your sweat wear away the plating, but the piece could get caught or damaged during movement.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to put on your jewelry as the final step in your morning routine. Lotions, make up, and face soaps can all cause some damage to plated jewelry, so you’ll want to make sure you get that out of the way before even thinking about your bling.

As far as storing your plated jewelry, you’ll want to take just as much care as you would a piece of pure, solid gold. It’s important to store accessories in a cool, dry, and dark place so that they are protected from airborne elements that might cause natural tarnish. Similarly, it might be beneficial to wipe each piece down with a soft cloth before storage, just to ensure that there are no oils on the surface that could corrode the golden layer

Remember that gold is avery soft metal, so you also want to take care to make sure that none of your jewelry is touching each other inside your drawer or box. Be sure to prevent unnecessary dings and scratches by removing your gold plated pieces before interacting with hard materials, such as weights.

This might sound like a lot to think about, but most of it is just common sense! As long as you take a little time to love your jewelry, they’ll be sure to love you back. 

But dirt and grime are inescapable. How do you fix a piece if it’s lost that iconic gold luster?

Removing Dirt And Grime From Plated Jewelry

Dirt can put a damper on that prestigious gold chain you’ve got sitting in your jewelry box, but luckily, cleaning plated jewelry is just as easy as it is safe. The easiest way to clean your jewelry is to purchase a kit meant for plated jewelry from the company you’ve purchased your piece from, like this one that we carry. 

Make sure your jewelry does not have any precious gemstones inside before you start. Stones like opals orpearls are extremely delicate and can be ruined with the chemicals and mixtures that are used for cleaning jewelry. It’s better to play it safe than sorry.

And believe it not, that’s all you’ll need to do to keep your plated jewelry looking and feeling fresh as ever. If you regularly maintain your plated jewelry from the get-go, you won’t need to do this very often. But because it is so easy and won’t negatively react with your gold, you won’t need to worry if you have to take some time cleaning every now and again. It’d be great to polish up aMiami Cuban Chain without stripping away its sleek exterior gold plating, and with this kit, you can. 

How To Clean Plated Jewelry

8mm Miami Cuban Chain 18k Gold

How Do I Know if Plated Jewelry is High Quality?

Gold plated jewelry should contain actual, real gold in its finish. This means you’ll probably have good quality off the bat, but there are a few things you can look for to see if your jewelry will be able to withstand dirt, grime, and pressure for years to come.

Gold is assessed in karats, with 24k being 100% pure gold. This is rare, expensive, and looks just like gold of lower karatage. Most gold plated pieces will fall somewhere in the 14k to 18k range. Jewelers love working with gold at this karatage because it allows for freedom to create different stylish colors, such aswhite gold. As long as your piece is 10k or above, you should be good to go.

How To Clean Plated Jewelry

Baguette Pyramid Pendant White Gold

The thickness of the gold plating itself could also indicate its durability. Many sellers might give the option of gold vermeil, which must adhere to a set of specific quality guidelines. To be labeled vermeil, a piece must:

  1. Use .925 sterling silver as its base metal.
  2. Utilize at least 12k gold in its plating.
  3. Have a gold layer that is at least 2.5 microns thick. This is much thicker than typical plated jewelry and will outlast other items.

Vermeil jewelry is a great way to ensure that your jewelry will be tough against dirt and oils, as well as maintain its luster over years of cleanings and polishings.

In addition, you can check to see if the manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee for their pieces. This is representative of a company that truly cares about your investment and also has confidence in the quality of their jewelry. This is a positive sign that any purchase from them will be built to withstand even the deepest of cleanings.

In Summary

Pure gold jewelry is a waste of money. If T-Pain threw on a plated chain instead of a solid gold one, no one would ever be able to tell the difference. What you will notice are unsightly blemishes and markings, so regardless of the piece’s quality, it is important to take simple steps to maintain its appearance.

Cleaning jewelry is insanely simple, and it can be done in a matter of minutes with items in your own home. Since the dish soap method is mild, you can clean almost all of your pieces in one fell swoop. 

Style doesn’t have to be expensive, and taking care of your wardrobe doesn’t have to be hard. By following just a few rules, you can look just as fly as the hottest rappers in the game.


Sources:

https://ethw.org/Electroplating

http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=3263

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/history-pearls/

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