All your jewelry should be cared for properly so that it retains its beauty for years to come. We can understand more about caring for gold-plated jewelry if we know exactly what gold-plated jewelry is.
Once we know about the various kinds of gold-plated jewelry, we can know how to care for it and whether to shower with it on.
What Is Gold-Plated Jewelry?
Gold-plated jewelry consists of a base of some metal with a thin coat of gold on top of it. The base metal might be sterling silver, which is itself a precious metal and is very valuable. Other frequently used base metals include copper, nickel, or zinc. Looking at a brand-new piece of gold-plated jewelry, you would not be able to tell the difference between it and a solid gold piece.
Characteristics Of Gold-Plated Jewelry
The thickness of the gold plating varies. It is usually between .17 to 2.5 microns. The thin layered pieces have just the tiniest amount of gold covering, but even the thicker layers don’t contain much of the precious metal. Even though it is not a lot of gold, the thicker plating is less likely to wear off quickly.
The purity of the gold in the plating also varies. The gold itself is usually mixed with other metals to make a gold alloy. 24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold, but it is too soft to use in jewelry, so it is mixed with copper or other materials to make it stronger. The more other metals used in the gold alloy, the stronger the result is. Therefore, a 10K gold plated piece will resist damage more than an 18K piece would. There would be less actual gold in the 10K piece, so the gold color will be diminished, but the jewelry will withstand more mishandling.
Type of Plating
Finally, the way the gold plating is applied is a consideration. Some items are dipped into gold. This method is the least secure with the most likelihood of chipping. There is gold plating where chemicals are applied to bond the gold to the underlying metal. Electroplating involves using chemicals and an electrical current, so this is a particularly good bond. There is also a type of jewelry that is called gold filled. Gold filled jewelry refers to a piece that contains a base metal that is fused to thick sheets of gold. There is much more gold in gold filled jewelry than in any gold-plated piece.
Will Showering With Your Gold Jewelry Damage It?
The general consensus is that it is not recommended to ever shower with gold-plated jewelry, but you should consider some factors such as the type of gold if you do decide to take the plunge.
18k Gold And Higher
18K gold and higher has more gold in it and this gold is soft and easily damaged. Lower karat gold, containing more other metals, is stronger so it can withstand any damage from abrasion or chemicals in the shower.
Lower Karat Gold
Showering with solid gold jewelry of a lower karat will not harm the metal, but it may dull the shine on it. A thick gold plate, or gold-filled piece is also more likely to withstand any damage from showering.
Thinner plating, dipped gold, and gold-plating with a high karat gold should never be worn in the shower. The water, detergents, and other chemicals can cause chipping and wear and tear of the gold so that more of the base metal is exposed.
With proper care, your gold-plated jewelry can look beautiful for years to come. It is best to take your jewelry off before showering under any circumstance, but definitely if it is thinly gold-plated with a high karat gold. At Luvari, we can answer any questions you have about caring for your fine jewelry or costume jewelry. Call or email us anytime. We’d love to help.