Does Gold Plated Sterling Silver Tarnish?

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Does tarnish come with the package when you buy gold-plated sterling silver? Unfortunately, it indeed does, and not without reason. When you buy gold-plated jewelry, you accept the item at a significantly higher price than its natural or true value. This is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about gold and silver, and it leads to a lot of costly mistakes when people put their jewelry through the wringer in a saltwater pool.

Let’s start by understanding what causes tarnish to appear on your investment. Yes, gold-filled sterling silver tarnishes as quickly in water as other metals. You must also understand that gold-filled jewelry tends to be very delicate and tarnish soon, especially when repeatedly on stainless steel and other metal-filled surfaces. You must also realize that tarnished items will still tarnish even with the best cleaning and maintenance procedures because tarnished objects tend to oxidize when exposed to air. The damage they cause can easily be reversed with a simple rinse. It would help if you accepted this fact before buying any jewelry type from this Jewelry Fair.

The most important thing to understand about tarnished items is that they are made out of precious metal and are delicate. Therefore, if you intend to buy a gold plated or sterling silver jewel piece, make sure you know everything there is to know about gold plating and silver plating. Otherwise, you may get duped into purchasing an inferior quality piece of jewelry. In addition, you need to follow simple guidelines, so you don’t end up spending more money than your budget and the worth of the Sterling Silver Wear your purchase.

One of the most common causes of tarnished gold items is water. When introduced to a moist base metal, water will generate surface tension, attracting more dirt to the jewelry. Thus, jewelry made of such base metals as silver, nickel, and copper is very susceptible to tarnishment. You can quickly solve the problem by taking a dry cotton cloth and wiping the tarnished area on your jewelry quite often. However, if the base metal hasn’t been tarnished at all, and the stained area happens to be located on a highly polished silver bracelet or gold necklace, you will need to send it to a specialist to have it removed.

Other common causes for tarnished jewelry pieces are:

  • Jewelry is being stored too long in the damp air.
  • Jewelry being washed with hot water and soap.
  • Jewelry being stored in plastic wrapping, which has come into contact with acid.
  • Jewelry being exposed to oxygen.

It would help if you also avoided contact with salt water as saltwater tends to hasten the corrosion process. Finally, if you must wear jewelry that contains a small amount of gold, make sure to wear it only on a clean surface.

The yellow color associated with precious metal is called patina. This is nothing but a natural brownish or yellowish, brownish tone caused by the oxidation of the base metal or by contact with oxygen. The patina is a natural result of constant exposure to gold or silver and is why jewelry using pure silver or gold is prone to oxidation, discoloration, or scratches. On the other hand, sterling silver or gold-plated jewelry stored carefully and adequately stands a better chance of remaining undamaged and united through the years.

Another cause of getting tarnished is contact with tartar or plaque, a thin layer of mineral deposit that forms on the surface of gold and silver. This layer is just salt residue that hasn’t yet been oxidized, so it has a slightly higher melting point than most other elements. As time goes by, the plating element gets etched into this layer. When enough has accumulated on the surface, it becomes difficult for the silver or gold layer to reflow. At this point, the jewelry that contains this type of deposit is called plated, and it starts to get tarnished.

This process is similar to what happens to sterling silver or gold when placed in an acidic solution. When you rub a piece of gold or silver with an acidic material, the surface area exposed to that solution oxidizes. This creates a layer of deposits on the jewelry item that looks a lot like tartar. This means that if you have been wearing your jewelry occasionally and have not been taking care of it, you are highly likely to develop some level of tarnish on your items. If you would like to maintain its appearance, make sure that you keep your jewelry away from acidic foods, drinks, or even chemicals present in cleaning solutions.

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