Caring for Plated Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry is an affordable option for fine jewelry, but not the only one, especially if you’re looking to add some gold to your collection. For that, we turn to plated jewelry!

Plated jewelry is made of a base metal like steel, brass, or a zinc alloy. It goes through an electroplating process where the piece is submerged until it is thinly covered in another metal, like gold or silver. Sterling silver jewelry can be plated with rhodium, like BISOULOVELY’s silver Melody, to maintain its luster and help it tarnish slower. On the other hand, gold plated jewelry is a great alternative to buying solid gold jewelry if that just isn’t in your budget right now! But like all jewelry, it does require its own care to keep it looking beautiful. Luckily, caring for plated jewelry is incredibly similar to caring for sterling silver! 

Even though the base metal is plated, plated jewelry (even gold!) will still tarnish because the molecules of the base metal eventually begin mixing with metal used for plating. So just like sterling silver, your jewelry will tarnish when exposed to things like household cleaners, as well as your sweat or cosmetic products. Plus, gold by nature is a soft metal, which means it scratches easily.

To prevent this from happening, always keep your jewelry stored when you’re cleaning, exercising, or doing other labor intensive tasks. Make sure to use something that will combat tarnish, like an anti-tarnish strip, in your storage of choice. Try to keep each piece of jewelry stored separately in order to avoid scratches while it’s put away. You should also follow the last on, first off rule: your jewelry should be the last thing you put on after your makeup, lotion, and perfume and the first thing you take off before the rest of your nightly routine. (For more tips on storing your jewelry and how to prevent damage while wearing it, see our post about caring for sterling silver jewelry!)

The biggest difference in caring for plated jewelry is in the cleaning. While there are specially made solutions for cleaning sterling silver, you should never use them for plated jewelry, or any other cleaning solutions containing harsh chemicals or abrasives for that matter. Not only does this tarnish the plating, but it can actually rub off the gold or silver color since it’s such a thin layer. Instead, stick to these tips:

  • Use warm water. Optionally, you can mix in a few drops of dishwashing detergent but don’t use something like an antibacterial hand soap, as the chemicals in that may cause your jewelry to tarnish. 
  • Clean your jewelry with a damp, soft cloth or cotton ball. Dry it afterwards with a clean, dry towel.
  • Finish it off by using a soft jewelry polishing cloth, and then store it appropriately.

We hope this helps with your jewelry care! Let us know if you have any questions, or if you want to share some of your own tips!