Gold and Purity: 5 Ways to Fix Tarnished Gold Jewellery
Gold: The Noble Element
Gold has been hailed as the most noble of all metals. It is one of the most sought-after and also one of the most valuable elements ever used in modern jewellery! The history of this precious material is unparalleled. It was as beloved as it is now since the ancient times. Coins and jewellery in antiquity were mostly made of noble metals like gold and silver. Gold was a metric of value for centuries, due to its rarity, special colour and chemical inactivity! This means that gold itself is not reactive with its surroundings -hence the term noble-!
Paired with many precious and semi-precious stones, gold has been the number one choice for jewellers throughout the ages. Pure Gold is malleable and with enough force you could shape it with your bare hands. It can also form gold alloys when mixed with other metals and takes new properties when alloyed with them, like hardness and chemical activity. It can mix well with Platinum, Palladium, Zinc, Nickel, Copper, Iron, Silver and more! The higher the percentage of the foreign metal in the alloy, the harder and more durable gold becomes! All these factors, when put together (Impeccable shine, brilliant colour, rare, durable material in alloy form, non-reactive) create a truly sought-after material for jewellery. Here you can find some fine white and yellow gold jewellery gift ideas for all budgets.
Does Purity Actually Matter?
Yes, it does! Carats are the indicator of purity in gold. With 24 carats being close to 100% pure gold, 18K Gold can be translated as “18 parts out of 24” pure, which means 75% purity! Pretty simple isn’t it? The lower the carats, the higher the percentage of foreign metals in the gold alloy. To be more specific, purity of a 9K gold alloy means it contains 37.5% pure gold. Interestingly enough there are some naturally occurring gold alloys like electrum that are used in jewellery due to their interesting colours. Other alloys of interest are rose gold and white gold with main components copper and platinum or palladium respectively!
The most common purity standards in gold jewellery are 9K, 14K, 18K gold. The consensus is that 9K gold, while more durable due to the inclusions, is less bright. Alloys with a higher gold content will have a colour that is more saturated and yellow. In contrast, low-carat alloys will look less bright and vibrant. The colour in 18K yellow gold will appear brighter and jewellery with 18K gold will be more valuable due to the increased purity but would be more susceptible to wear and tear or other kinds of damage!
Do your Due Diligence Before You Buy!
It is always advised to do your research if you intend to buy expensive jewellery! Before buying new jewellery, it is best to have a clear view of what you want to buy and the reason behind your choices! That way, you may avoid disappointment in the future. For example if you want to get a Gold Diamond Tennis Bracelet, 18K yellow or white gold could be the right choice! In this case, shinier is better! If you are going for Sapphire Earrings on the other hand for example, it could be wiser to get 9K gold because of the durability and price! This way, you could save up some money and go for a higher carat stone (in gemstones, more carats mean heavier and subsequently bigger gemstones).
If you need help on choosing a piece of jewellery that suits you, you can also contact us and send us your questions. This is one of the reasons we are here! You could also bookmark our blog and visit regularly to learn fresh and interesting stuff that will help you navigate through the brilliant world of diamond jewellery. The secret is to stay curious!
5 Ways to save your tarnished Gold Jewellery:
Every material has its own properties and researching them before you buy is never a waste of time! While still being the most durable and inexpensive option, 9K gold can become tarnished over time. Do not worry though! This can be easily fixed! We will explore your options in the next part of this article! 18K gold on the other hand, offers an excellent purity and shine while still being durable enough. 9K gold can get tarnished because of the higher percentage of reactive metals in the alloy. Thus, it oxidises more often than 18k gold!
With the basics about Gold out of the way it is time to share some secrets with you! No doubt, tarnished Jewellery can be a pain! However, there is always a way to fix things without being an alchemist!
Below, we will explore 5 different ways to fix your gold jewellery depending on the severity of the tarnish!
Severity of Tarnish: Low-Mid
This option is low-cost and can restore slightly tarnished jewellery pretty efficiently. In order to accomplish the restoration, you will have to follow a few simple steps. Pour about 3 drops of a mild dish soap into a bowl of warm water (you could also follow the rule of 1 drop per half glass of warm water). Stir to mix and then, place the gold jewellery in the solution for about 5-7 minutes depending on how tarnished it is. After this, take your jewellery out of the bowl and rinse to remove the soap and dry with a soft cloth or a towel (personally, I use a microfiber cloth to be sure it will not scratch the jewellery). Continue rubbing the gold jewellery with a microfiber cloth or any other polishing cloth until it sparkles.
Severity of Tarnish: Low-Mid
Another low-cost option that can restore mildly tarnished jewellery with relative ease. In order to accomplish the restoration, you will have to follow a few simple steps. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into a glass of warm water and stir. Then, place the gold jewellery in the solution for about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the amount of tarnish. After this, take your jewellery out of the bowl and rinse well to remove the toothpaste residue. Proceed to dry with a soft cloth or a towel. Rub the gold jewellery with a microfiber cloth or any other polishing cloth until it is back to its former glory!
Severity of Tarnish: Mid
Corrosive! Be careful, as this substance can damage your jewellery and should be used only occasionally. Use ammonia after having seen the procedure in a video or you have full understanding of what you are doing. To clean tarnished gold jewellery with ammonia, mix one bottle cap ammonia with six bottle caps water (or 1 part ammonia 6 parts water). Soak the jewellery in the liquid for 1 minute. Try not to forget your jewellery in the solution! Letting it sit there longer can ruin your jewellery, so be sure to check constantly or set a timer! Remove the Jewellery from the solution and then rinse it a lot to ensure no ammonia is left on the piece. Then, dry with a cloth and polish with a polishing cloth or microfiber cloth until it shines bright once again!
4.Commercial Gold Cleaners
Severity of Tarnish: All
You can easily find many different brands of Commercial Gold Cleaners depending on the severity of tarnish on your jewellery. Be careful though, because some are highly corrosive. Only clean gold jewellery with professional cleaning creams or liquids when you are 100% sure you are using them correctly! If you are sure that the commercial gold cleaner of your choice corresponds to the severity of the tarnish on your jewellery, then go for it! Be sure to strictly follow the instructions or else your precious jewellery could get severely damaged! If you are not confident you can restore your jewellery on your own or you have expensive vintage jewellery that has tarnished, then no. 5 could be the option for you!
Severity of Tarnish: High
This option is for people that are hesitant to clean their jewellery on their own. It is also an appropriate way to clean very expensive or vintage jewellery, or gold jewellery that has tarnished a lot and traditional cleaners are not effective anymore! Keep in mind that if you overdo it with the home remedies, there is a chance to cause more harm than good on your precious jewellery! Sometimes it is best to leave cleaning in the hands of an expert!
There are many jewellery stores that offer repair services but, if you are unsure, you can find dedicated jewellery restoring services online and even pay a visit to their physical location!
Fixing Tarnished Gold Gemstone Jewellery:
There are some dangers in cleaning gemstone jewellery on your own. First and foremost, the corrosive effect of a strong base can damage the surface of some stones. So full submersion in basic solutions is not advised! Another issue with cleaning tarnished gemstone jewellery is that the stones may be attached to the jewellery piece with glue or any other type of adhesive. Basic solutions and warm water will most certainly destroy the bond between the jewellery and the stone! There are two approaches when restoring tarnished gemstone jewellery. You could do a local area cleaning with some mild soap solution and a microfiber cloth, but make sure to stick to the metal part of the jewellery. Alternatively, you can refer to a cleaning expert for a professional deep clean as we mentioned in the 5th option of this blog post!
Until the next post, Merry cleaning, and once again stay curious!