How to Keep Your Gold-Plated Jewelry Looking Like New
If you want that effortless, stacked-gold-jewelry look, it can cost you a decent amount if you decide to buy 14k or 18k solid-gold jewelry. But alternatives are out there, like gold-plated jewelry. And with the proper care, gold-plated jewelry pieces can keep their shine and last much longer.
How to Care For Your Gold-Plated Jewelry
For gold-plated jewelry, which is a layer of gold over a base metal, you want to keep it away from water. And when you're not wearing gold-plated jewelry, like Maison Miru's 14k-coated pieces, placing it in an airtight bag will keep the metal from tarnishing, Okubo said. She added that the best way to clean your jewelry is by polishing it off using a soft cloth to remove dirt and dust.
If your jewelry requires a deeper clean, Okubo recommends using warm soapy water to clean it. "Soak your jewelry in the water for a few minutes and then clean it with a soft cloth, drying it immediately afterward," she said.
Mejuri uses 18k gold vermeil, according to Lançon, who recommends using the brand's Jewelry Care Kit to keep the brand's pieces looking their best.
How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry?
While you want to treat all your gold jewelry with the same care, earrings do tend to get more wear than necklaces and bracelets, according to Okubo, so be sure to clean them more often if you wear them all the time. For good measure, she recommends her customers clean their earrings once a week if they're wearing them regularly.
What to Avoid Doing While Wearing Gold-Plated Jewelry
It's best not to use gold-plated jewelry when you've already applied products like lotion, hairspray, sunscreen, and shampoo. If you're handling cleaning products like bleach, it's better to take off the jewelry beforehand, Okubo said.
"Body lotions and creams, unfortunately, contain chemicals that speed up tarnishing and damage," she said. "I know that it's hard to not wear them — but just know that this will shorten the life of your plated jewelry."
Type of Metals to Look Out For
The kind of gold plating also plays a role in how long or where you should wear your jewelry. Ideally, you'd want the plating to be a thicker layer to preserve the longevity of your jewelry, Okubo said. For example, gold-vermeil jewelry has a solid sterling silver with a thick layer of 14k gold. While nickel can help stabilize gold to make it last longer, many wearers are allergic to the metal, so Maison Miru applies a thick layer of 14k gold to help their pieces last longer.
Even the type of gold can determine how long it may last. For example, 14k gold tends to be harder and less malleable than 18k or 22k gold, Okubo said.
"Gold is a super-soft metal, and the more pure it is (the higher the karat number), the softer it is," she said. "I chose 14k gold as a good balance between beauty and durability."