Apr 27

How to Care for Your Gold Plated Jewelry

By Calla Gold

This Gold Plated Porsche Needs to be Kept Clean so The Plating Lasts

This Gold Plated Porsche Needs to be Kept Clean so The Plating Lasts

Platinum, silver, and both 14k and 18k gold are not indestructible. Plated jewelry finishes are even more fragile.

In my thirty six years as a Santa Barbara Jeweler I’ve found that all jewelry is vulnerable to the hard knocks of the physical universe. Rings scratch, bracelets dent, and links rub against each other and wear out.

In this post I’ll explain how to care for and extend the life of your gold plated jewelry.

Rose gold Plated Chains. It May be a Fine Layer, but They Look Real.

Rose gold Plated Chains. It May be a Fine Layer, but They Look Real.

How Fragile and Thin is Gold Plating Compared to Karat Gold?

With karat jewelry, the gold metal with its hardening alloyed metals mixed in, is solid throughout the whole piece.

With plated pieces, the gold comprises only a very thin outer layer—so thin in fact, that it’s measured in microns.

Gold Plated Jewelry, is Measured in Microns

One micron equals one millionth of a meter and I guarantee you won’t find that measurement on the ruler in your desk drawer.

If you’ve ever looked at the scratches on wedding rings, you’ll have seen depths greater than 2 microns.

Gold plating is the skin deep of beauty. Average gold plating depth is .5 to 1.0 microns thick.

Heavy gold plating for example ‘gold vermeil’ is 2.5 to 5 microns deep. Vermeil is heavy gold plating over silver.

Comparing Gold Plated Jewelry to Fine Gold Jewelry

Very, very thin layers of almost any substance are more susceptible to damage than thicker layers. Makes sense, right? A sheet of writing paper is easier to tear than a piece of cardboard.

It takes little effort to break a rubber band. Pulling apart a rubber automobile tire is another story. For this reason, it pays to be careful with your plated jewelry.

Chemicals in Our Lives Effect Your Gold Plated Jewelry

<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

This Sweet and Lovely Perfume can Spell Doom for Your Plated Jewelry

Perfumes, creams, lotions, and makeup all contain substances than can affect plated jewelry. Some soaps and detergents are stronger and harsher than others. Certain fruits and vegetables are acidic. Some are more alkaline.

The point is, any substance that isn’t PH neutral can potentially affect your plated jewelry. I’m no chemist, but I can offer you a few suggestions to extend the life of your gold plating.

Ten Ways to Extend the Life of Your Gold Plated Jewelry

1. Wash your hands before putting on or taking off plated jewelry.
2. Put on gold plated earrings after you’ve applied your perfume.
3. Put on your plated jewelry after you have applied lotion or put on makeup.
4. Take off your plated rings or bracelets before chopping tomatoes for dinner.
5. You also might want to remove your plated jewelry before changing junior’s diaper.
6. Avoid rubbing plated bracelets and necklaces against each other. Try to prevent plated rings from banging into counter tops and rubbing against car keys buried in pockets and purses.
7. Don’t swim in your plated jewelry. See below.
8. Don’t wear your plated jewelry when you’ll be sweating profusely. Covered later.
9. Clean your plated jewelry gently, and don’t rub it. Covered later.
10. Store your gold plated jewelry in a pouch or soft cloth separate from other jewelry

arctic diver, Lewis Pugh

Could Your Polar Bear Tendencies Hurt Your Gold Plated Jewelry?

How Water can Hurt Your Gold Plated Jewelry

The chlorine and other chemicals added to swimming pools and hot tubs can produce adverse effects on plated jewelry. Ocean salt water can effect plating, as well. The ocean thing is a long shot, but if you swim regularly in the ocean it will speed the breakdown of your plating.

Remove your plated jewelry before swimming in chlorine laden water, be it the neighbor’s backyard swimming pool or a patio Jacuzzi. You’re probably fine swimming in the local reservoir, or skinny dipping in a water hole.

Perspiration and Your Personal PH level Affects Your Plated Jewelry

Last but not least, one’s own body chemistry can be harsh on plating. Just like fruit, some people are more acidic than others. Depending on one’s diet, it’s not uncommon for chemicals perspired through the pores of the skin to cause plated jewelry to tarnish and discolor.

Some people sweat more than others. Jill works out for two hours every day. Joyce is a CPA riding a desk. Jill would be wise to remove her plated rings before going to the gym. Joyce, on the other hand, is stylishly safe wearing her plated bracelets and necklaces while crunching numbers.

Cleaning Your Plated Jewelry

Toothpaste to clean jewelry

Some Home Jewelry Cleaning Tools

Plated jewelry should be cleaned periodically. Even if you’re sure your ring hasn’t been exposed to any of the aforementioned substances, it’s been in contact with your skin—which does perspire.

Wash plated jewelry with warm water. Use a mild soap only if necessary. Getting junk out of nooks and crannies with an old, soft toothbrush is Okay. If you need to use toothpaste use a gentle one with no whitening agents or abrasives in it.

Be gentle and don’t rub too hard. I’ve seen examples of gold plated jewelry where vigorous rubbing with a polishing cloth took off some of the gold plating.

In some cases WD-40 is a good cleaner for gold plated jewelry. It’s tougher on dirt and sticky substances than gentler dish soap.

Re-plating, Like Reincarnation for Your Jewelry!

Don’t despair if the thin layer of gold on your ring eventually wears off in spots. It can be fixed! Not all jewelers handle gold plating, call around or search the internet for a gold plating jeweler.

Gold plated pin before and after gold plating

Gold Plating Tarnished and Worn Away Then Re-gold-Plated and Re-Oxidized

If you live in the back of beyond you can mail your jewelry to be re-gold-plated. I re-plate pieces every week.

Give your dowdy gold plated jewelry new life. The fountain of youth is in the hands of your gold-plating jeweler!

Calla Gold
Gold Plating Jeweler

Chloe image: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

87 thoughts on “How to Care for Your Gold Plated Jewelry

  1. Calla,
    I like seeing this kind of flat out useful information. There’s nothing wrong with getting gold plated jewelry, but doing some of the no-no’s will sure make them obsolete fast. Yet following your simple advices will for sure lengthen their life of beauty.

  2. Calla,

    Thanks so much for your advice on how to take care of gold plated jewelry! Question: do all of these tips apply to other types of metal as well?

    Kha-ai @ The Goddard Company

    • Hello Kha-ai,
      You can be tougher on your karat gold jewelry because if you dink or scratch it that can be polished out.
      Some of my clients love the yellow gold warmth in their jewelry and will impulse buy some gorgeous piece of jewelry on a whim and treat it like their other jewelry and suddenly when it starts looking pretty bad remember that it’s plated and that it won’t wear like real gold jewelry.
      Therefore if they love the design I end up gold plating it.
      I wrote this for them because I was being asked how to extend that period between platings.
      If you treat your yellow gold karat jewelry like the plated jewelry it will hold its shine longer. And just look prettier longer between polishings.
      Thanks for asking Kha-ai!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  3. I found this information very useful! I’m guilty of forgetting to take my jewelry off before hitting the gym or jumping in a pool. I’ll definitely try using a tooth brush to clean some of my delicate pieces. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Hi Calla,

    What in your professional opinion would be a reasonable amount of wear to expect from a plated piece. E.g For a jewellery maker to offer a window for customers to return something that has faded? E.g for a hand-crafted plated bracelet that was sold at retail price for €20 (€10 wholesale).

    Thanks Jenny

    • Hello Jennifer,
      That is a good question. I’m American so the money isn’t completely syncing in my mind, but I gather that it is a costume piece made of some sort of base metal with the gold plating on top of it.
      Simple gold plating can last different amounts of time depending on how often your wear your piece, how often it gets wet, how close you are to the sea, (the salt air can accelerate degradation of your plating) and your level of acidity in your skin, (acidic PH people lose their gold plating faster.)
      I’d guess that you’d want that plating to last at least six months and ideally a couple of years before you needed to have it re-plated. The bottom line is that your piece sound fairly inexpensive so I wouldn’t feel too irate that the gold wore off in say under a year. If I loved the piece I’d have it re-plated locally and wear it some more.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  5. Is it only me that likes the look of tarnished gold-plated jewelry or tarnished silver-plated jewelry and serving pieces? It looks antiqued and I love it.

    • Hi Maria,
      On the right piece I’m fine with a patina, or oxidized look on silver plated jewelry. On yellow gold it has to be just right or I stay away from it. Thanks for sharing your opinion of beauty.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  6. Hi what base metal do you think will hold up better after being gold plated. Brass,stainless steel or silver? Thanks

    • Hello Jamell,
      Sterling silver is an excellent base for gold plating as silver and gold seems to have an affinity for each other. In fact gold plated over silver jewelry has its own name. They call it gold vermeil which tells you that it is silver and gold plating.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  7. I just purchased a gold plated bar nacklace. I was so excited to get it, until I opened the package. The bar with the names is beautiful, but the chain is somewhat discolored already. The shop I bought it from has 5 stars for the reviews, & I researched before I made the purchase. I go above & beyond to make sure all of my work that goes out is 5 stars plus. But, I would not have sent out a chain like this one, so I went online to research the gold plating. I needed to find out a more about how to care for GP and when it might start to wear off. Your information was very helpful to me, as well as all of the answers to others questions.
    Thank you,

    • Hello Belinda,
      I’m sorry you had that experience. It’s funny that a five star online store could send out a funky looking gold plated chain. I’m pleased that my info has been helpful to you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  8. Is it possible to replate the end caps on a European style bead? The middle is resin with sentimental meaning.

    • Dear Olivia,
      Many plating professionals use a heated plating solution. The resin would possibly act as a contaminant to the clean plating solution. There are cold plating techniques used by some professionals. You might look up the melting point of resin and let your plating professional know that information. They’d probably be leery of trying it, but you never know.
      So the answer is yes it is possible, but fraught with issues. Kinda like a family reunion with your cousin, the one who has no filters and just “tells it like he sees it.”
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  9. Great article, helpful & well written & enjoyable. I don’t like to be picky, but it should read ‘affect’ not ‘effect’. Sorry, but it’s one of my bugbears.

    • Hi Rosie,
      I fixed it and will take your word for it. I was doodling during that part of my grammar training, frequently backing away from the brink when I think of writing affect.
      I’m glad you otherwise enjoyed the article.
      Happy to be corrected,

  10. Thanks for your nice reply Calla, l’m an ‘old school’ Brit who literally had my knuckles rapped if I got stuff wrong in English lessons! Have you written any more articles? I have a lifelong love affair with jewellery, l have written many articles myself and I love reading about it. Kind regards, Rosie

    • Hi Rosie,
      I think if the nuns had rapped my knuckles I would have paid attention, but become surly. Happily I was across the pond in the colonies and public overcrowded schools were my education. So they’d teach the right stuff, but it was on us to listen. And sometimes that was a problem for me!
      I’ve written over 500 blog posts. If you go to my callagold.com site and hit blog look down on the left for categories. If one of them strikes your fancy click on it and dive into that topic with multiple articles.
      Or check out most popular topics just below the categories. And if you want to be amused by rowdy comments check out the comment section on “Don’t Buy Tungsten or Titanium Wedding Bands.”
      Please come again!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  11. Is there anything you can spray on or apply to your jewelry that will hold its polish longer?

    • Hello CM,
      I’m unfamiliar with a spray to protect your gold. Most people just wear their plated items and have them re-plated when they start looking not so great.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  12. Hi Calla,
    Thanks for all of your friendly well written answers and responses to help us. I’m trying to find out how to clean the gold PVD metal on my Swarovski bangle bracelet. It’s different from gold plating. It is sturdy but the gold is yellowish. Too yellow, and I would like to polish it but don’t know how or what to use.
    Hoping that you know… ~ Doreen

    • Hi Doreen,
      I love that you know the difference between PVD coating and gold plated jewelry. PVD is definitely hardier and is used on watch bands and like that. I do not recommend trying to alter the gold color that you have. The gold color that you are looking at is a certain thickness and is constant through that thickness as far as I know.
      I’d try a test area with silver polish and see how that cleans your bracelet. If it proves satisfactory, use it on your whole bracelet. I personally use ultrasonic cleaning and steam. I use this on dirty watch bands after I have removed the sensitive watch part first. I have not experienced a color change in the cleaning. But admittedly I wasn’t paying attention to that aspect of what I was doing.
      I don’t recommend ultrasonic on costume pieces of jewelry with gemstones as they may be glued in and the ultrasonic is champion at undoing the glue bond.
      Possibly over time the gold tone will naturally tone down.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  13. We purchased a tricolor braided necklace. It has Italy 828 on the silver clasp. It’s beautiful. What does the jewelry mark mean? Thanks so much!

    • Hello Kris,
      My guess is that the stamp may say 925 which is sterling silver. I have never seen an 828 stamp and do not know what it would refer to metal-wise.
      Enjoy your beautiful necklace.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  14. Hi Calla,

    Is it expensive to have a piece re-plated? What is a typical price range for having a small piece gold plated?

    • Hello Phil,
      Plating in gold for example a simple ring might range from $35.00 to $55.00. Many people mail me chains to be gold plated and they can range from $45.00 to $125.00 depending on the length and thickness of the chain.
      Hope that helps.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  15. Hi Calla,
    I am in Australia and have just discovered your articles. Very gently written and quite informative. Shame I was only visiting Hollywood last year and I wish I knew of you then, I would’ve definitley visited, as I was looking for a gold chain at the time. Thanks for your writing.

    • Hello Katherine,
      A gold plated bracelet has little actual gold on it. It would not be something that I would buy. I do not know if gold buyers do buy these things.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  16. Great web site, great information. Very educational. Thanks for your time.
    I am a seller of 24k Gold Plated and Rhodium Plated fashion jewelry. I have been selling for over 11 years, and I have thousands of satisfied Customers.
    They say they love my items, and over 11 years, I have had extremely low number of complaints. Negligible amounts of complaints. Gold Plated jewelry when done well is a good choice for a value conscious Buyer.
    Has the look and feel of solid jewelry.
    Thanks again,

    • Hello Bob,
      I have clients that have expensive jewelry and gold plated jewelry. They’ve enjoyed that I will re-plate their costume jewelry and fix it when they need that done. It is more difficult to repair costume jewelry and not an economical thing to do from a standpoint of the intrinsic value of their jewelry. However, it’s usually not about value, but whether the piece works with outfits and enhances their look.
      I have seen some very pretty designs in gold plated jewelry. I just did many repairs and platings on a client’s Crown Triffary collection that she inherited.
      Thanks for writing in Bob.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  17. I have 2 antique (gold plated I think) lockets on chains with great grandparent photos inside. They are both over 100 years old. I would like to clean them and give for gifts to my daughter and grandaughter. They have been packed away for a very long time. Do you think I could try toothpaste or oil on them? I asked a jeweler to clean them and he said that he couldn’t. It would ruin them. But they are very tarnished.
    Thank you.

    • Dear Bonnie,
      The first step is to remove the pictures carefully and then try various cleaning methods on them. The gentlest is dish soap and warm water, then toothpaste and then silver cleaner. They may need to be cleaned and gold plated again as part of their bad look may just be that some of the gold plating has come off which will give them a spotty and uneven look colorwise. Gold plating will even the look out.
      Once they are clean and you like the look of them, then put the pictures back inside.
      Good luck on your wonderful gift project.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  18. Hi Calla,

    I have a necklace that’s rose gold plated but it has tarnished significantly. What’s the best way to polish it? Should I clean it in warm water first? Can I use the silver polishing cloth to polish? Thnaks in advance for your insight.

    • Hello Jackie,
      One of the problems with plated pieces is that any rubbing removes more metal, more plated metal. Once the plating is worn off the best thing to do is re-plate your piece and then use warm water and gentle soap to clean it. Using your silver polishing cloth will probably wear the plating off sooner.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  19. Hello, I have a lot of old jewelry that I purchased approx 25 yrs ago… I would like to have it all melted for a nice gift for my children. It consists of necklaces rings earrings from 14 to 24 karat. I worked in pawn/ jewelry shop years ago when gold sold for a lot less. I’m not really interested in gold jewelry anymore but my son is. Can you offer me any assistance. I will like to give him a nice sentimental gift.

    • Hello Maddy,
      I’d love to talk to you about your options. One post you might like reading is this one:
      I have since the writing of that blog been asked how I could re-use gold without the costly single re-fining and have combined old gold added pure gold to help overcome the bad effects of mis-matched alloys and have make three pendants. Each one used hammer texturing and gold plating and they look great. So if you wanted to do textured pendants you might be able to use your actual gold.
      In each of these cases if the casting fails and I have to re-do it I do have to charge for that. So far the castings have been successful.
      Would you like to call me and discuss this further? 805-963-4157.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  20. Hey Calla
    How about replating silver?
    Have 2 rings I love, thought they were silver but they started wearing out. Bought a product to “restore” silver, a rip off. What to do???

    • Hello Kathleen,
      I remember a Maggie, who was using Dip-It which has a particular timing you use with it. It’s a product to bring back the shine to silver. She got a phone call, then the dog barfed and one of her three kids fell off the couch screaming. She was fine, but needless to say Maggie forgot all about the silver piece in the Dip-It. I never heard how long it was in the jar of solution, but her piece when she showed it to me was pitted like acid had corroded it.
      I deeply polished her ring, grinding ways to top surface and then rhodium plated it. It actually looks fine now. I should have taken a picture.
      I’d recommend polishing and rhodium plating which a good jeweler can do for you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  21. I just received a gold plated necklace that was supposed to be shiny and new. It is turning black and the chain is as well. Please help! What can I do to fix this? It was a gift for a friend and need it asap. I’ve waited weeks for my custom piece. I’m so sad!

    • Hi Kristin,
      Are you saying this is a custom made gold plated necklace? The first thing I’d try is re-plating it. If this turning black continues to happen I’d have a new piece custom made in real gold.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  22. I have a gold necklace, I plated it with white gold, after several months, theres a part of necklace that turn again to yellow. I wanted to turn the my white plated gold to its original color, which is yellow. How can I dot it?

    • Hello Leandro,
      There are two methods of removing plating, 1) polishing it off which is time consuming and can leave parts untouched which would then need a final yellow gold plating to create an even feel or 2) using a chemical bath to remove it which would still need polishing etc to get all the surfaces. Talk to you plater about what will work best for your chain. It is easier to plate metal than to un-plate metal.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  23. I read your article on gold-plated/covered jewellery today and wanted to contact you for some advice, as you seem excellently well-informed.

    I bought my girlfriend a rose gold-covered heart bracelet for her 16th birthday on 23 June on 3 June from the jeweller, and it stayed in its box until 24 June when we met up for a joint-birthday date and celebration. I paid £35/$45 (I live in the UK) from a local jeweller who is well-reputed and great quality, who sells brands like Thomas Sabo etc., so they are not a knock-off retailer.

    She has worn it almost every day since 24 June, but this morning on 30 June she sent me a photo of it and you can see the gold ‘colour’ as she describes it gone in two separate locations on the bracelet. Understandably I am quite angry because of this, as I am only 18 and a student at that, so £35 is a lot of money to spend, but I felt it worth it as it was her 16th birthday.

    If you can, please let me know your thoughts on it, and many thanks.

    • Hi Michael,
      Your question is a good one and straddles two issues that come up frequently with gold plated jewelry.
      The first issue is that rose gold plating which has a high copper content is not as reliable a plating choice as rhodium, white or yellow gold. That fact that copper is a more reactive metal is the problem. Since plating is a thin layer, rose gold plating is more prone to wearing off more quickly than yellow gold or rhodium plating.
      The second issue is how daily wear of a plated piece of jewelry fares. All electroplated costume jewelry wears away a tiny bit whenever it touches things. For occasionally worn plated jewelry you can expect it to look nice for a long time. When you wear a piece daily the plating will wear away. And for daily wear, it happens all too soon. With rose gold even faster.
      The is a potential third issue with plated jewelry and that is the PH balance of our bodies. If your girlfriend occasionally eats Italian marinara sauce or foods that increase the acidic nature of her PH and she’s wearing her bracelet that will greatly accelerate the wearing off of the plating. You mentioned that in a couple of places the plating had worn off more quickly and that made me think of that PH issue. It’s a longshot, but I thought I’d mention it.
      One other thing I’ll mention here, not all gold plating is created equal. I remember when I was young my grandmother gave me a gold plated watch. I worn it daily for years. Maybe four years later I noticed that the gold was finally wearing off in a few places. I quit wearing it and it sat in my jewelry box for years and at some point it floated off in to never-never land. I bring this up because I expected all gold plated jewelry to last like that watch had. Well it turns out that watches use a different method of gold plating than jewelry. The plating I do on jewelry is electro-plating and the gold plating on watches is a much more complicated process called PVD coating which stays on longer and is done by an expensive process that I do not have access to.
      I say that to separate any thoughts that plating on your girlfriend’s bracelet should last like a watch. Alas, it won’t.
      The really cool thing is that she wore your gift daily, which means she really digs you. Well done.
      What happened to her bracelet is not unusual. Unfortunately. Thanks for writing.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Dear Generose,
      This is a good question and one I have been asked before. I don’t pawn so I shouldn’t answer for that industry, but that said, I am an opinionated jeweler. I will therefore give you my opinion. I do not think you can pawn 24kt plated jewelry because the gold content is so low.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  24. I bought a gold bracelet years ago and it is great. When grandchildren came along I started putting gold plated charms on it but now they charms are losing the gold plate and smell like metal. Can they be replated? I have 17 charms on this bracelet.

    • Hello Driskill,
      Chances are that they can be plated again. The only reason they wouldn’t be is if they have zinc, aluminum, cadmium or lead in them. You won’t need to remove the charms to have plating done.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  25. I was curious how well gold over titanium holds up and would that be able to get ‘re plated’ if needed?

    Thank you,

  26. Hello, thank you for your info. I have a necklace I LOVE (gold.. The clasp says 14k). I was told by a few people to use toothpaste or baking soda and a tooth brush.. I hesitated a few week but I finally did it. It Faded!! Since then I have called it “gold plated”. Is that correct? And I was wondering if and how I can restore its gold shine and get ride of that light gray/silver dull appearance? Spmeone told me I literally washed some of the gold down the drain. Is that true? Thanks so much! -KB

  27. I have a rose gold plated ring that has been kept in a box for over a year. I took it out to wear it and now it’s black! I’m pretty sure the black cushion it has been sitting in has stained it. Should I have it professionally cleaned or just try the home remedy? I’m pretty bummed since I never even worse it.

    • Hi Lauren,
      I do believe your piece is beyond home cleaning. It’ll probably need cleaning and re-plating. Some foam in boxes can contain sulfur, which can create quite a bit of metal reaction. Tarnish is the result.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  28. All your info about my jewelry was great.really appreciated it.i have a lot of jewelry of all kinds.i think I’m addicted especially rings. Lol.❤️

    • Hello Rejeanne,
      I’m very pleased that this information is helpful to you. May your jewelry shine and make you very happy.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  29. Hello,
    I want to buy my daughter a mothers ring. The description says it is a two tone 18k gold plated sterling silver ring. Will this fade, discolor, or just get old looking quickly?? I want to get her something she has been wanting but I don’t want to but her junk either. Please help. Thank you! Tina

    • Hi Tina,
      There’s good news and bad news. Sterling silver holds gold plating longer than cheaper base metal jewelry, that’s the good news. The bad news is gold plating wears off and if she wears it daily it’ll fade more quickly. If she likes the yellow gold look then 14kt yellow gold is your best bet.
      If she’s OK with silver then just get her silver and then if it oxidizes she can polish it.
      When gold plating is coming off silver if you polish it the gold comes off faster.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  30. Just ran across your site.Quick question, I buy stainless steel gold plated jewelry when I go to clubs as opposed to wearing my expensive items to avoid the stress of losing it.How do I get my Gold IP plated rings,bracelet,pendents & chains to have the same blingy shine as my really expensive gold?Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Rick,
      I personally do not gold-plate stainless steel items and was not aware that stainless steel could be gold plated. As far as care goes, polishing would likely make it wear off. Maybe window cleaner and a soft close and be very gentle so as not to wear off your plating.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  31. Calla Gold,
    As a boutique owner I would like to add more pieces for men, I was looking at gold plated necklaces and bracelets, if I get these pieces how much should my retail prices run, I know the cost will vary by thickness and length, and should I also make sure to let the customer know the pieces are gold plated and how to care for them.

    • Hi Annie,
      As a boutique owner I would go with a higher end selection of gold plated pieces. Preferably with PVD (Particle Vapor Deposition) plating as that is what is used on watches and lasts longere. I’d also create a hand out with care for their gold plated pieces. It would be wise as well to set up a relationship with either your supplier or a local jeweler or a distance jeweler who can re-plate pieces.
      I’d make no guarantee of how long the gold plating will stay on as men can wear off the gold more quickly if they wear their chosen piece daily.
      The only down-side of carrying gold plated pieces is if they plating wears off too quickly it reflects badly on your business.
      Your Jeweler Friend,

  32. Hi there,
    I own predominately silver jewelry, but recently bought a (what I’m assuming is gold plated as it had GF stamped on it) locket from an antique store. It’s been heavily loved by the previous owner and has slight wearing at the hinge, but I’m not too concerned about that. What does concern me is this one spot that has started to turn green. I’m assuming this is where the gold has worn off, any tips on how to clean this particular spot?
    Thanks R.W

    • Hi Renee,
      Since it is a vintage piece and probably quite old, it may be gold plated over a copper and brass type metal. Copper create verdigris, a green patina that has a three dimensional raised aspect to it. This first needs to be removed by buffing. If hand buffing, using a polishing cloth, does not remove it, you will need a professional with a buffing wheel to remove the spot.
      Whether you by hand or a jeweler by wheel removes this spot, you’ll notice that the gold plating is all gone and will need to be re-gold plated. I’d just take it to a jeweler who offers gold plating. This is because as part of the service, they will buff out that spot as part of the plating procedure.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  33. Hi Calla,

    Thanks for all of your expert advice ! I purchased an 18kt white gold bracelet with diamonds and blue topaz. I would prefer the bracelet in yellow gold, but it was not available . I was planning to bring this to a jeweler to plate it in yellow gold . And I was going to ask him to make it as thick a plating as possible, even if it is expensive. Is this feasible ? What can I expect it to look like and how long before the white gold will
    show through again ? Thank
    You !

    • Hi Wendy,
      I have found that there is a limit to how thick you can go with plating. For a clean smooth plate, your plater will have a ‘heavier’ plate version, but it is not a guarantee that it will stay on longer. The factors effecting your plating are how often it is rubbed, nicked, and the chemicals it is exposed to. Vinegar being acidic can degrade plating.
      I had a client who worked in a beauty shop who liked rose gold. She’d get her pieces rose gold plated. Sometimes some weird chemical would darken part of her ring or bracelet and it’d need to be re-done. There was not rhyme or reason, but it did tell me that outside unexpected factors can effect the time that plating stays nice looking.
      Hopefully your plating will last for three years or so before needing a touch up.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  34. Hello!! I really found your article to be extremely helpful. There’s a ring I’m really interested in: it’s sterling silver with a layer of 14k rose gold plating. The reviews are great, but most come from people who have owned the ring for a very short amount of time.

    My concern is, since it will cost me $100, that the ring will start to turn black within a couple of months. I know some people say that this will give it a vintage look, which I don’t mind at all, but do you think it would be worth it to spend that kind of money on a ring like that? I’m really itching to buy it, but as a college student, I have to be wary of how I spend my savings 🙂 Thanks again for the brilliant article!!

    • Hello Erika,
      I appreciate your kind words. It is very nice to know that this helps. I have a number of clients who own plated silver jewelry. It comes to me every few years for re-plating. I’d say that when they have more money they tend to at that point transition to fine jewelry as it stays looking the color it is.
      One client cherishes her plated ring so much she had me re-make it years later in white and yellow gold.
      The vintage look is in, if your silver starts to darken chances are it’ll still look cool.
      Having not seen your ring I don’t know if it’s worth it. But if you love it then go for it.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  35. With the regular usage of silver jewellery, it is bound to get tarnished and the layer of gold plating breaks down. I think regular plating of gold should be done at regular intervals to make it look like new.

    • Dear Silver,
      Thanks for writing in. Regular intervals could be yearly or bi-yearly depending on how often the piece is worn.
      Re doing your gold plating is amazing the way it makes everything look new again.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  36. Hi ! ,

    I have a very simple question… today I spilled 80 proof Vodka all over my gold-plated Versace sunglasses so I’m just wondering IF that may contribute to eroding the gold-plating?- If so, how bad IS 80 proof alcohol to be splashed all over any gold plated item??? — *** I quickly wiped it all off and then dabbed it with a tissue with fresh water to try to remove any of the vodka in-case THAT can erode the gold-plating. – CAN Alcohol also like vodka, ruin gold-plating easily? – Or not? —
    ——-**** —Thank you VERY much for you expertise. – Robert Angelo Dalla Valle.

    • Hi Robert,
      I was thinking it was fine, but decided to ask my gold plating mentor Kenny. Here’s what he said:
      Robert didn’t mention if he was wearing the glasses when this incident occurred. If the answer is yes, I suggest a glass next time. If he was using a glass maybe switch to club soda with a twist of lime. Alcohol by itself won’t damage a gold plated surface. The sugars, etc might make it sticky so just rinsing in luke warm water and drying with a micro fiber cloth should be all that is necessary. Your guess was correct.
      I love Kenny.
      Keep stylin’.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  37. Hi! Is it possible for me to email you a photo of a necklace I recently bought? It’s manufactured by Elli Germany (did not do research on the company and bought impulsively) and is said to be gold plated 925 Sterling Silver. However, when it arrived, I noticed there’s something black on the pendant. I’m not sure if it’s tarnish ‘cause it looks like a scratch? And I don’t know if it still can be repaired because the purchase is non-returnable. So I wanted to let you have a look. Thanks!

  38. I have quality Italian-made gold plated pieces of jewelry that have been kept stored in the small plastic ziplock bags with the square anti-tarnish paper tabs. Some of these pieces were purchased two years ago and some a few months ago. Most have not ever been taken out of the original packaging. Recently I noticed many of these pieces are now tarnished. How is this possible? Also, the seller of these pieces instructed me that storage in the plastic bags with the anti-tarnish tabs was a safe way to plated pieces. Is it? What can be done to remove the tarnish? Help!

    • Dear Juliana,
      I have polished and re-plated many costume gold plated pieces of jewelry in my jeweler life. I was told, but don’t know if it is a fact that storing in plastic bags can cause tarnish. You’d think using the little strips that it wouldn’t happen. But I see that it did happen to you. Possibly the ambient air in the bag with your piece had some element in it that over time caused the tarnish. Possibly that bit of chemical out-gassing that plastic products are prone too caused it. It’s hard to know for sure the catalyst that caused some of your pieces to tarnish.
      The problem with re-polishing, is you run the risk of pulling off the gold plating as well as the tarnish.
      You might try a test spot cleaning using a creamy silver cleaner. If you are gentle you may be able to remove the tarnish without the plating. I do not know as whenever my client’s bring me tarnished gold plated items, I use my high RPM rouge wheel to pull off the tarnish. Then I clean them and then I re-gold plate them.
      Once you have removed the gold plating or re-gold plated them I would recommend finding a nice archival tissue paper and wrapping each piece in that. I use a generic tissue paper to wrap tarnishable sterling silver items and I find that they stay nice inside the tissue paper. This was recommended by a silver smith to me many years ago.
      I wish you luck.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  39. I just wanted to thank you for a great article and for keeping up with the questions for years…it really shows your dedication to education.

    • Hi Trish,
      I didn’t think about it, but you’re right, that’s a lot of comments and questions since 2015. A lot of people have gold plated jewelry that they care about deeply.
      I have had the pleasure of re-gold plating jewelry that is over seventy years old.
      Thanks for your kind words!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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