Jewelry Care & Maintenance

How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last?

Rachel Akmakjian

Author

Rachel Akmakjian

How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last? Plus Everything Else You Need to Know Before You Add Gold Plate Jewelry to Your Wardrobe 

If you’ve shopped around for solid gold jewelry and subsequently balked at the price tag — whether because you’re looking for a jewelry deal or you don’t think your lifestyle or how often you wear jewelry supports dropping a large amount of money on a jewelry purchase right now — you may be interested in gold plated pieces

More affordable, durable and just as gorgeous, gold plate jewelry is, for some shoppers, just a more attractive option, compared to traditional gold jewelry. To see if you’re among those shoppers, here’s everything you need to know.

What You Will Learn

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What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Gold-plated jewelry is a type of jewelry that consists of a base metal that’s covered with a thin layer of real gold. Since its advent, this jewelry making process has been used to create a range of pieces that, to the naked eye, appear to be made fully from various different metals, gold and sterling silver being just two of the most popular layering choices.

Depending on the type of pieces being created, the gold plating layer will be thicker or thinner. Pieces that see a lot of friction or wear and tear (like rings) often feature a thicker layer of gold. 

Since gold plated jewelry only contains a small amount of gold, it’s much more affordable than solid gold jewelry. However, an artfully crafted gold plated piece will look nearly identical to the real thing, so you’re not sacrificing style in order to save a little cash.

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Does Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish?

Depending on where you purchased your layer gold plated jewelry, you could see some fading and tarnishing over time. So, if you’re wondering will gold plated jewelry tarnish, the answer is really dependent upon the maker. 

Some gold plated jewelry is made with certain base metals that help prevent tarnishing over the years (like stainless steel). Beyond this, the rate at which your gold plated jewelry tarnishes or fades will depend on whether or not the piece is heavy gold plated jewelry or if the gold layer is on the thinner side. Tarnishing happens when the gold is worn through and the base metal changes color. The thicker the gold layer, the longer it takes for you to see any tarnishing or fading. 

Do gold plated rings tarnish? Since rings get a lot of friction, they often have a thicker layer of gold. But once that wears down, gold plated rings can tarnish.

How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last?

The one thing you will be sacrificing when you purchase gold plated jewelry? Value. Unlike fine jewelry, whether crafted from pure gold or any other precious metal, that makes a smart investment piece or family heirloom, gold plated jewelry won’t retain much value over time.

Additionally, depending on the quality of your layer gold plated jewelry, you could see some fading and tarnishing sooner or later.

In general, though, most gold plated jewelry will begin to tarnish within a few years of regular wear. 

The good news? If your gold plated jewelry begins to fade or tarnish, you can take it to a jeweler for re-plating, a quick and easy repair that will keep your favorite pieces looking like new.

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Need Some Glamorous Gold Inspiration? Check These Out:

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How to Make Gold Plated Jewelry Last as Long as Possible

There are a few ways you can help your gold plated jewelry last as long as possible without tarnishing, even if you’re unsure what base metal the creator used. 

Keep your gold plated jewelry clean

Like most jewelry, gold plated jewelry requires occasional cleaning, but you’ll want to be careful not to use any cleaning methods that could potentially damage the thin layer of gold. Your safest option is to simply use a gentle jewelry cleaning cloth to buff away any residue or smudges.

Don’t expose gold plated jewelry to chemicals 

To keep your gold plated jewelry as clean as possible, and as tarnish-free and fade-free as possible, for as long as possible, don’t expose your gold-plated pieces to chemicals of any type. This means not just avoiding wearing your pieces while you clean or swim, but also when you’re showering or simply washing your hands. Even something as seemingly inconspicuous as body wash or shampoo can deteriorate that thin layer of gold.

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Store your jewelry appropriately 

Proper jewelry storage is key to extending the life of any piece, no matter what it’s made of. While some types of jewelry (pearls and certain gemstones, for example) require very specific storage methods, storing your gold plated jewelry is easy. Just store your pieces in a soft-lined jewelry box, particularly one that allows each piece its own separate space, to prevent scratching and nicking. Store your pieces away whenever you’re not wearing them, including when you’re sleeping.

Gold Plated Jewelry FAQs

Have more questions about gold plated jewelry? We’ve got more answers. 

What are the benefits of choosing gold plated jewelry?

The primary reason that most shoppers buy gold plated jewelry is to save money. The appearance is identical to pure gold jewelry, for a fraction of the cost.

What are the downsides to buying gold plated jewelry?

The downsides to buying gold plated jewelry include the fact that the jewelry will not retain any value over time, as well as the fact that most gold plated jewelry will deteriorate, tarnish and fade over time, albeit slowly. Additionally, depending on the base metal with which a piece was made, you may experience an allergic reaction to the piece, if the gold rubs away and the base metal is exposed. 

What’s the difference between gold plated jewelry, gold filled jewelry and gold vermeil?

Gold vermeil is a type of gold plated jewelry that always uses sterling silver as its base metal. Gold filled jewelry, another type of gold plated jewelry, differs from gold vermeil due to its production process. Gold filled jewelry is bonded to its base metal via high heat and pressure. Gold filled jewelry is generally considered more durable than gold vermeil.

Keep Your Most Valuable Pieces Safe

Many jewelry wearers choose to wear gold plated jewelry regularly in place of more valuable pieces. For example, if their wedding ring is a family heirloom, but they work in a hands-on environment that exposes them to the elements, they might not want to risk loss or damage by wearing their ring on the job site, so they store it away for special occasions and wear a gold plated piece in its spot on a daily basis. 

While this is a smart idea, don’t just rely on proper storage to keep your most precious pieces of jewelry safe. 

The right jewelry insurance can keep you covered in the event of all sorts of unforeseen tragedies, from mysterious disappearances to thefts or fires. Plus, much like gold-plated jewelry, jewelry insurance might be far more affordable than you think. 

Check out BriteCo’s comprehensive coverage options today, to learn more.

Also Check:

How long does permanent jewelry last?
What is Permanent Jewelry?
Most Expensive Jewelry in the World? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
Unveiling the Truth: How to Tell if Gold is Real Using a Lighter
Does Clear Nail Polish Keep Jewelry From Tarnishing?
Is Gold Worth More Than Diamonds | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.