How to Care for Gold Plated Jewelry

Are you tired of buying gold fashion jewelry that ends up looking dark and dingy? You’re not alone! It’s no secret that jewelry requires careful maintenance, and your gold plated jewelry should be no exception. Unfortunately, the methods used for cleaning silver and solid gold are just not always suitable for jewelry covered with a thin layer of gold. As a result of wear and time, the sensitive surface of gold plated jewelry can become tarnished and get rubbed off, scratched, or even lose its shine. So knowing how to take good care of your gold plated jewelry is essential.

Why Does Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish?

All jewelry reacts differently when it comes in contact with various elements. The same is to be said with gold plated jewelry.

From the skin it touches to the quality of the air in the environment, the thin layer of gold can be affected by some very unfavorable conditions. Here are some factors which could adversely affect gold plated jewelry.

  • Compounds of sulfur and iodine (found in creams, cosmetics, medicines)
  • High temperatures (bath, sauna)
  • Sweat (working out and playing sports)

How to Care for Gold Plated Jewelry

How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry

The initial cleaning of gold plated jewelry is fairly simple. If there isn’t much dirt on the piece, then giving the jewelry a nice wipe with a soft suede cloth or piece of flannel will be perfectly gentle for the delicate surface. However, if there is a good amount of dirt on the jewelry, read on for three of the most effective ways to restore the original shine and gloss.

Cleaning with Turpentine

One of the most common home care methods for jewelry covered with a thin gold layer involves the use of turpentine. Only very little of the essential oil is needed for this cleaning technique. The best thing about turpentine is that it is very gentle as it cleans the jewelry of any dust and grease accumulations.

What you’ll need

  • Cotton pad
  • Turpentine – 10 milliliter
  • Paper towel


  1. Dip a cotton ball or swab in turpentine oil.
  2. Gently wipe the surface of the jewelry with it.
  3. Remove the remaining essential oil from the surface of the jewelry using a dry napkin.

If you don’t have turpentine in any of your cabinets, you can use rubbing alcohol as a perfectly fine substitute.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Table vinegar is a common cleaning option that will help to overcome more serious dirt on the gold plated jewelry. It can be used to remove blackness and even dark spots that have formed on the surface of the jewelry after prolonged wear.

What you’ll need

  • Water – 250 ml
  • Vinegar – two tablespoons
  • Container for liquid


  1. Pour the water into a small bowl.
  2. Add the vinegar and mix together.
  3. Place the piece of jewelry on the bottom of the bowl and let sit.
  4. After ¼ hour, take out the jewelry and wipe it dry with a soft towel.

Washing with Soapy Water

If your gold plated jewelry is covered with a green coating, it is best to use a mixture of soapy water and “fragrant” ammonia. This solution also does an excellent job of restoring the gold’s shine and luster.

What you’ll need

  • Warm water – 1 liter
  • Liquid hand or dish soap – a teaspoon
  • Ammonia – six drops


  1. Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Put green or blackened jewelry on the bottom of the bowl.
  3. After about half an hour, take the jewelry out of the solution and rinse it under some tap water.
  4. Wipe dry with a soft cotton cloth.

An important note: This cleaning method is quite aggressive and should only be used in cases of heavy dirt. Soaking the jewelry in the solution for more than 30 minutes can actually destroy the gold plating.

How to Care for Gold Plated Jewelry with Gemstones

Gold plated jewelry with gemstones requires extra care.

Jewelry with diamonds

While a diamond is the hardest gem on earth, plaque can still form on the stones and affect the sensitive nature of the thin gold plate. So you have to be extremely careful when deciding what to clean the jewelry with.

The easiest way to remove the plaque from a diamond, without harming the gold plated jewelry is by washing with soapy water using a soft brush that is suitable for cleaning. Be sure to only use a brush with bristles that will not damage or scratch the metal from which the product is made, and afterward rinse the jewelry in clean water and then blot it dry.

Jewelry with emeralds

Natural emeralds are precious gemstones that are enriched with various resins and oils, making them fragile to deterioration. So, if you have gold plated jewelry set with an emerald, always be sure to take it off before working with any household soaps or chemicals. The best way to clean your gold plated jewelry that has emerald stones is only using a very weak soap solution and then rinsing with clean water before drying.

Jewelry with rubies, sapphires, and alexandrites

Caring for gold plated jewelry that contains rubies, sapphires, or alexandrites is similar to maintaining those set with a diamond. A soapy solution is the most beneficial and gentle cleaner, as it is sure not to harm either the stones or the metal from which the product is made. Since these stones do not like prolonged exposure to the sun, high humidity, or temperature changes, it is important to limit those factors.

Jewelry with pearls and amber

While you can clean your gold-plated jewelry, containing pearls and amber stones, in a soapy solution, you cannot leave it in water for a long period of time. It is enough to clean them by gently wiping the pearls with a soft cloth dipped in soap suds and then rinsing them in clean water. And absolutely no harsh brushes or abrasives!

If you have an expensive piece with large natural pearls or amber stone, it is better to entrust the care of your jewelry to a master.

Products with semi-precious stones

Semi-precious stones like aquamarine, amethyst, garnet, morganite, opal, tourmaline, topaz, and citrine can all be washed in soapy water and cleaned with a soft brush. To prevent the stones from becoming dull, you need to protect the gems from light, heat, and high humidity.

Cubic zirconia does very well in water. In fact, if you constantly wear jewelry with cubic zirconias and take a shower in them, you will likely never even need to clean them.

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How to Keep the Shine of Gold Plated Jewelry?

Since I have gone over how to clean your gold plated jewelry, it is also important to note how to keep them looking shiny and new.

Minimum friction

Friction is a mechanical process that thins the gold plating. Most often, jewelry rubs against the skin of its wearer. In order for you to minimize the risk of discoloration and fading, it is a good idea to remove your gold plated jewelry at night and then put it on again in the morning.

Less contact with water

Alloy metals are involved in the creation of gold plated jewelry. Unfortunately, these very metals are prone to oxidization from prolonged contact with substances such as sweat and water. To protect your gold plated jewelry from early deterioration, you need to take off your products before bathing, swimming, as well as any type of athletic training.

Keep your gold plated jewelry away from harsh chemicals

If there were one absolute “no-no” I could tell you when learning how to care for gold plated jewelry, it would be to avoid all contact with aggressive cleaning chemicals and detergents. Before you start cleaning the house, you need to either put on gloves or remove jewelry so that you don’t ruin the sensitive surface of the thin layer of gold and keep the sparkle and pristine brilliance for as long as possible.

How to Store Gold Plated Jewelry Correctly?

Storing your gold plated jewelry is an essential aspect of proper care since jewelry can become damaged if not cared for over long periods of time.

  • Always go over the piece’s entire surface with a soft cloth, like flannel or suede, to help remove any superficial dirt or grease.
  • Avoid placing the jewelry in contact with other pieces by using special cases or separate boxes.
  • Be sure to store the gold plated jewelry away from heat and bright sunlight to keep the piece from fading and losing its luster.


Gold plated jewelry is a fantastic alternative to the pricier solid gold jewelry pieces. Not only is it affordable, but it can also look just as expensive, and you can give your gold plated jewelry a long-lasting lifespan with the right quality care. All you need to do is be sure to use caution and avoid substances that could damage the thin layer of gold and know how to properly clean and store your jewelry.

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