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7 Ways to Take Care of Your Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry is very popular these days, but did you know that it needs regular care for it to maintain its brilliance? You probably already have what you need at home to properly take care of your gold jewelry, so keep reading to learn the best practices for cleaning and polishing.

Why Does My Gold Jewelry Need Regular Cleaning and Polishing?

Gold Ring in front of White Screen
Image via Flickr by SlowJewellery.

Pure gold, also known as 24-karat gold, is not used in making pieces of jewelry because it is a soft metal. The gold jewelry you see and wear is a type of gold alloy, a combination of gold and another metal, which is durable enough to wear. 

Gold alloys will still receive scratches and dents over time, but these can be easily polished out at home with a polishing cloth or by a professional jeweler with special tools. Gold jewelry will also collect dirt and dust with extended use and exposure to various elements. Exposure to acids are particularly harmful and can weaken the gold. Therefore, to maintain the lovely shine of your gold jewelry, you should take special care by regularly cleaning and polishing your jewelry as well as taking it off and storing it.

How Should I Clean and Polish My Gold Jewelry?

The best way to clean your gold jewelry is by taking it off. Then, let your jewelry soak in a bowl filled with lukewarm water and a few drops of mild detergent. After a proper soak, use your fingers or a very soft cloth to rub off dirt buildup. For more persistent grime, scrub your jewelry with a very soft-bristle brush or a jewelry-specific nonabrasive cleaner. You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean and sanitize your jewelry. Rinse your jewelry with warm water and let dry.

After removing dirt and scum, you can now polish your jewelry to remove scratches. You can use a jewelry polishing cloth saturated with a cleaning and polishing solution, which is available at most jewelry stores. You should also take your gold jewelry to a professional jeweler for a deeper clean, polish, and inspection every six to 12 months.

What Should I Avoid Using When Cleaning My Gold Jewelry?

Some cleaning materials are off-limits on gold jewelry. Do not use an abrasive cleaner — hard-bristle brush, paper towel, tissue — because it can scratch the metal. Do not use toothpaste, baking soda, or bleach to clean since the chemicals will weaken and harm the metal.

You should clean your gold jewelry about once a month or when you notice dirt buildup. Avoid subjecting the jewelry to the cleaning process before it really needs it, especially if it has soft gems or jewels. But you can take off your jewelry and buff it with a soft cloth regularly to remove moisture.

Should I Wear My Gold Jewelry While Swimming or Playing Sports?

Take off your gold jewelry when you bathe, go swimming, or plan on playing high-contact sports. Soap scum will build up and form a film on your jewelry if you wash it frequently, so take off and store your jewelry before bathing. You should do the same if you plan on swimming, especially if the pool has chlorine, which is particularly harmful to gold. If you play high-contact sports while wearing gold jewelry, you risk scratching the metal, so it’s best to remove and store the jewelry before playing.

How Should I Store My Gold Jewelry?

The best way to store jewelry is individually wrapped in a soft cloth. You can also store jewelry in a fabric-lined box with silica gel packets, which absorb moisture. The idea is to keep your jewelry in a place where it won’t get scratched and collect moisture, so avoid storing jewelry together or in a moist environment like the bathroom.

Which Gold Alloys Are the Easiest to Take Care Of?

There are three common gold alloys used in jewelry: yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Yellow gold is the combination of gold, silver, copper, and zinc; white gold is gold nickel or gold and palladium, zinc, and copper; and rose gold is gold and copper. The most durable of the three alloys is rose gold because of the copper content. However, yellow gold requires the least amount of maintenance. Since white gold is often dipped in a rhodium coat to maintain a brilliant shine, it is a little more scratch-resistant than yellow gold.

You should also consider the quality of your jewelry. Gold alloys are usually made with 10-, 14-, and 18-karat gold. If your jewelry was made with 10-karat gold and copper or silver, you may notice a red or black tarnish begin to develop. However, tarnish can be easily polished out by a professional jeweler. While gold jewelry made with 18-karat gold usually won’t tarnish, it’s much more likely to scratch and dent because of the high soft-metal content.

If you have hypoallergenic skin care needs, you should look for jewelry made with 18-karat gold. Keep in mind that most engagement rings are made with 14-karat gold.

What Should I Do With Gold Jewelry I Don’t Wear Anymore?

If you have gold jewelry that you no longer wear, you can sell the jewelry to a precious-metal buyer. A precious-metal buyer will evaluate the legitimacy of your item, inspect it for wear and tear, and appraise the piece accordingly. It turns out you can often get more money for your gold jewelry than you think, so selling your jewelry is a good option. If you’re interested in finding a piece of jewelry you will wear instead, you could exchange your unused jewelry at a jewelry store. However, your jewelry store often won’t buy gemstones, so you will need to have your precious stones removed before the exchange.

Now you know how to keep your favorite gold jewelry looking shiny. Just remember, take off your jewelry when you go to the pool or play sports and use very soft cleaning materials. These simple practices will help keep your jewelry stay in great shape. A little cleaning here and polishing there can go a long way on your gold jewelry.

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