Gold-plated items look sophisticated, elegant and regal, but certainly require appropriate upkeep. Gold plating is not always extremely reliable when trying to predict how long its finish will last, but it definitely depends on the wearer’s habits and the type of jewelry itself. Items worn daily, such as wedding rings or a beloved necklace, will need more care and treatment than earrings only worn on the holidays. In fact, wedding bands may need to be re-plated year, depending on the treatment they receive and the elements to which they are exposed in that time period.
Everyday Threats to Gold Plating
- Initial Thickness. If you ask for an extra-thick layer of plating when purchasing, you will have more to work with and can wait longer before taking the item to a jeweler for re-plating.
- Perspiration. Those living in warmer climates or prone to sweat should ask for thicker layers of gold plating when they take their items to the jeweler for maintenance. Avoid wearing your jewelry to the gym or out on your daily jog.
- Exposure to chemicals. This includes everything from household cleaners to lye to bug spray to hair spray. Take care to remove your rings or other jewelry before cleaning and place those items in a safe place (I think we have all seen too many sitcoms about a husband or wife losing their wedding ring down the bathroom sink).
- Physical Impact. Remove rings or bracelets before working with tools, gardening, automotive repair, or any other home maintenance. Even playing the piano or typing on computer’s keyboard can damage a ring’s gold plating.
DIY Home Care
Other than having your gold replated every few years, which needs to be done by a professional jeweler, everyday upkeep on gold-plated items is a breeze. Using warm, soapy water, clean your jewelry using a soft washcloth or sponge. Avoid using soap with grit as it can sully the finish, remove the gold plating, and even permanently damage your items. Only wash and dry your jewelry using soft cloths and never abrasive materials such as steel wool, which can also rub off the gold plating.