Why jewellery tarnishes and how to stop it from happening

At Wild Horse Club, all the gold plated jewellery we create and sell has a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns and is plated over solid sterling silver as the base metal. This is thicker than standard gold plated jewellery, meaning it’s better quality and will look stunning for longer.

All gold plated jewellery will wear and tarnish over time – that’s just in its nature. However, there are things you can do to make your jewellery look stunning for longer. Keep it clean and dry and store it so it doesn’t get scratched.

If your gold plated jewellery starts to tarnish, it can be replated to give it a new lease of life. We’d be happy to help you with this – just drop us a line.

Why jewellery tarnishes and how to stop it from happening

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting your favourite necklace or ring out of storage, only to find it’s lost its shine.

Most jewellery, no matter how high-quality it is, tarnishes over time. The good news is that there are things you can do to stop it from happening.

What is tarnishing?

Tarnishing is when the metals in jewellery react to moisture in the air, which causes the surface of the jewellery to darken and become dull.

What type of jewellery is prone to tarnishing?

The majority of metals are prone to tarnishing, including brass, zinc, sterling silver and copper.

While pure gold and silver jewellery is lovely and won’t tarnish, these precious metals are soft and not ideal for daily wear. When they are mixed with other metals to improve durability, this is when tarnishing can occur.

If you’ve ever got green residue on your skin from a ring, bracelet, or necklace, it likely contained brass or copper. This is because these metals react with the oils on our skin and the salts in our sweat, causing that green discolouration. 

Pure gold doesn’t tarnish; however, when used in gold plating or gold vermeil, it can. This is because it’s bonded on top of a base metal which is likely to tarnish. Over time, the base metal migrates into the gold layer and reacts with the air.

Gold vermeil will last longer than standard gold-plated jewellery as the layer of gold applied on top is thicker. All the plated jewellery we sell at Wild Horse Club is vermeil.

What you can do if your jewellery becomes tarnished

If your jewellery has become tarnished, cleaning it is the first step. The more high-quality the jewellery, the more responsive it will be to cleaning.

Use non-abrasive, gentle products to clean your jewellery – dish soap and a soft microfibre cloth are ideal. Anything abrasive can scratch the surface, which not only damages your jewellery but can open up new areas to be tarnished.

If you have gold plated or gold vermeil jewellery, replating it can bring back that lustrous shine. This is when a fresh layer of gold is applied to the jewellery, giving it a new lease of life. At Wild Horse Club, we’re happy to help if you have any jewellery that needs replating.

How to stop your jewellery from tarnishing

The majority of jewellery will eventually tarnish – no matter how high-quality it is. However, there are things you can do to slow down the process.

  • Keep your jewellery dry and moisture-free. Avoid storing it in bathrooms and wet rooms
  • Avoid wearing your jewellery when showering, bathing, and swimming
  • Put your jewellery on last when getting ready, as makeup, hairspray and moisturiser can speed up the tarnishing process
  • Don’t wear jewellery at the gym, as the salts in sweat can cause tarnishing
  • Wipe down your jewellery with a soft, non-abrasive cloth after wearing it

We hope this guide has given you some insight into tarnishing and what types of jewellery are affected by it.

Remember that most pieces of jewellery will eventually tarnish. This doesn’t mean these pieces are low-quality; it’s just a side-effect of wearing them out in the open.

Keep your jewellery clean and moisture-free, and it will look nicer for longer.


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