Does Gold Tarnish

Pure 24k gold will not tarnish or rust. It remains shiny because oxygen and other chemical elements have little or no effect on it.

When gold does tarnish it is because the surface is corroding slightly causing it to become darker than usual on the surface, which creates a tarnish film. To answer the question, “Does gold tarnish?” some online sources claim that real gold does tarnish and others say the opposite. This blog was written in an attempt to clarify and answer the question so that people are no longer confused.

pure goldGold in its purest form is among the least reactive elements on earth. It will not easily combine with oxygen, which keeps it shiny. You do not have to worry about pure gold becoming rusted or tarnished. In gold jewelry pieces, it is not often that you will see a piece made of pure 24-gold since it is simply too soft to be effectively used in making jewelry. Therefore, gold is typically alloyed with other types of metals in creating jewelry. These other types of base metals being alloyed with gold are what cause the problem. They can and do react to moisture, sulfur and oxygen and this will in time tarnish gold jewelry.

High karat gold jewelry will tarnish less than lower karat gold jewelry, whereas 24-karat gold will not tarnish at all. Generally, gold jewelry that is tarnished is of a lower gold karat, most likely under 14 karats. If you have 14-karat gold jewelry pieces, you will notice some tarnishing, but very little in your 18-karat gold pieces.

When you see your gold pieces of jewelry tarnishing, it isn’t because it’s not really gold; it is just not pure 24-karat gold. You can expect that your real gold jewelry to tarnish in time. In very rare cases jewelry made of high karat gold has tarnished, but the higher the percentage of gold, the less likely it is to tarnish. When gold jewelry made of lower karat gold does tarnish, it is still at a far slower pace than sterling silver. There are certain conditions that will hasten gold to tarnish:

gold tarnishTypical causes of tarnishing

When compounds of oxygen and sulfur mix with moisture it will cause gold to tarnish. Everyone has different body chemistry and this is why certain people’s jewelry has a higher tendency to tarnish or may tarnish faster than gold jewelry worn by other people. Other things that can cause 14- or 18-karat gold jewelry to tarnish would be, if it is exposed to potent chemicals, like those in hairspray, deodorants, perfume and cleaning products such as detergents and chlorine.

Items of food can also cause tarnishing. Foods that contain high levels of sulfur compounds and/or acidity like fruit juices, spices, pickled items and onions can contribute to tarnishing.

Steps to prevent tarnishing

  • To keep gold jewelry looking its shiny best for as long as possible, avoid having it come in contact with the items listed above.   
  • Remove your jewelry whenever you wash your hands with soap and water. Soap can cause a dull finish to gradually build up. In time it can be very difficult to clean.
  • Gold jewelry must be carefully stored in separate compartments so they do not mix together and cause scratches. Place a tiny packet of silica inside your jewelry box to absorb any moisture.

On very rare occasions there have been reports of 21- and even 22-karat gold pieces being tarnished. Experts have inferred that these pieces might have somehow been exposed to a caustic environment. It doesn’t mean the jewelry isn’t made of real gold. Your lifestyle and the environment in which you live can contribute to tarnishing.

remove gold tarnishRemoving tarnish on gold jewelry

To remove tarnish on the surface of gold jewelry, mix a few drops of very mild dishwashing liquid (non-phosphate) with warm water. Using your fingertips or a cotton ball, gently wipe away the tarnish. You don’t want to use an abrasive like baking soda or toothpaste. Once the tarnish is removed, use a soft cotton cloth to dry your jewelry. You can also allow it to air dry by laying it flat on a clean cotton cloth. Once it’s dry, polish with a clean cotton cloth or you can use a jewelry polishing cloth to give it some shine.

If over a long period of time you notice that your gold jewelry looks dull, you can certainly take it to a jeweler you trust for a thorough cleaning. Do not hastily grab some jewelry cleaner to do it yourself because you could damage your piece in the process. The best person to tell you what you should and should not use for cleaning your jewelry is your jeweler.

I hope I was able to answer your question, “Does gold tarnish?” adequately in this blog post. If you have any further questions about gold jewelry please do not hesitate to contact me through my website:

Gold and Its Various Alloys

Gold, in its purest form, has a unique yellow color which is too fragile to be used in jewelry. This is why it is mixed with various metals to form alloys and give it a different look and appeal. In its pure form, gold doesn’t tarnish or easily fade off which makes it expensive when compared to gold mixed with other metals. You must be wondering “does pure gold tarnish?”, no, 24k gold (pure gold) does not rust. Here is an altimate guide for you to understand gold tarnish questions.

As stated earlier, when gold is mixed with other metals, it forms an alloy which makes it stronger than when it is in its pure state. The good thing is that alloys are cheaper than pure gold since the gold’s karat must have reduced. In spite of this, the desirable jewelry properties are retained by the alloys like being stronger and not tarnishing easily while they still have that shining effect.

Gold is known to come in various forms like yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, gold plated, gold vermeil, gold filled and the popular 14k gold. This article focuses on each of these forms of gold mentioned above and therefore looks at each individually.
They are as follows:

1. Gold Plated
What is gold plated jewelry? This set of jewelry is made by the use of chemicals or electricity which deposits and binds a thin layer of gold over another metal. The layer of gold might be as thin as 1/1000 to 3/1000 of an inch. Metals used most of the time is either copper or silver depending on the affordability.

Gold plated jewelry seems to be the most suitable option for people who love gold jewelry but observing a tight budget. The disadvantage of gold plated jewelry is that it fades off with time because the base metals eventually transfer their molecules to the gold layer.

2. Gold Vermeil
What is gold vermeil? Of course, a lot of people don’t know what Vermeil is. This is a term to describe jewelry or any item made from silver but coated with gold. It is coined from a French word which is pronounced as “ver-may.” Vermeil jewelry is made from a silver base coated with gold through the process called electrolysis. The lifespan of the jewelry depends on the gold plating thickness while its durability depends on the gold layer’s karat.

3. Gold Filled
What is gold filled jewelry? This is made by pressure bonding a layer of gold onto another metal. It is a more economical option since it has the same look and desirable properties with gold. It also doesn’t tarnish and wears off.

4. White Gold
What is white gold? White gold is simply formed from the combination of gold with metals such as silver, palladium, and silver, with properties depending on proportions of the metals used. Normally most white gold jewelry is mixed with rhodium because of the tint of yellow on it. Rhodium gives the white gold the white color desired and makes the gold more durable.

5. Rose Gold
What is rose gold? This is simply a combination of gold with copper which gives it the pink color it possesses. A higher copper content would certainly make the pink color stronger.

6. Yellow Gold
What is yellow gold? Yellow gold is made from a combination of gold with other metals like silver, zinc, and copper which produces the distinct yellow color. Yellow gold actually looks like pure gold and is softer than the other alloys which make it scratch easily. Although it can be polished occasionally, it still loses a certain amount of metal from each polishing process.

7. 14K Gold
What is 14k Gold? 14 Karat gold is made from the mixture of gold with metals such as zinc, nickel, copper, etc. with the aim of making the alloy more durable. Arriving at the gold content percentage in a 14K gold piece is easy. All that is needed to be done is dividing the karat number (14 in this case) by 24, the maximum possible karat which gives us 58.3%, the percentage of gold jewelry of 14K contains.

8. 18K Gold
What is 18K Gold? 18 Karat gold is made from the mixture of 75% gold with 25% metals such as zinc, nickel, copper, etc. with the aim of making the alloy more durable. Arriving at the gold content percentage in a 18K gold piece is easy. All that is needed to be done is dividing the karat number (18 in this case) by 24, the maximum possible karat which gives us 75%, the percentage of gold jewelry of 18K contains. 

14K gold and 18K Gold are the most popular gold alloy for fine jewelry, but actually there are more gold alloy choices, such as 9K gold, 10K gold, 22K gold, here is a post for you to understand almost all gold alloys.

Knowing the several alloys of gold is very important especially for people who love buying gold jewelry. Most of the names mentioned above are used to describe pieces of jewelry, it is, therefore, important to know them before purchasing so as to avoid any form of disappointment after purchase. When you own a piece of gold jewelry, you must need the guide to clean gold jewelry and keep it new, here is a guide for gold jewelry cleaning.

Gold Filled vs Gold Plated

Diamonds are known to be girl’s best friend, however; gold has always been the main symbol of beauty and elegance for both men and women. There is various terminology used when buying jewelry such as gold plated, gold filled and solid gold, which is all used to describe pieces of gold jewelry. The most expensive among the lot is solid gold because it is the purest with the highest quality. The next in ranking is gold filled because it is cheaper but still a valuable alternative while gold plated is cheapest which gives jewelry that gold appearing.

solid gold

Solid Gold
As stated earlier, this is the highest in quality and purity, its value is in its shine and radiant color. Another great feature is that it doesn’t fade or tarnish with time. However, solid gold may not be the best option when shopping for jewelry because it is soft and malleable, qualities which are not recommended for jewelry used on a daily basis.

Normally, gold is mixed with other metals to make it an alloy so as to produce a stronger metal of which the alloys are cheaper than pure gold since the gold karat (gold purity measure) reduces. The advantage with this is that the alloys retain the properties of solid gold such as color, shine, doesn’t tarnish, etc.

gold filled

Gold Filled

Purchasing a gold filled jewelry is more economical than purchasing solid gold and a very good option. Gold filled jewelry is created by jewelers by pressure bonding the main layer of gold to that of another metal. Gold filled is not solid gold but it retains the desirable properties of solid gold.
It doesn’t tarnish or fade and people who have sensitive skin to certain metals can wear it because it doesn’t cause any form of allergy. However, it should be noted that the gold layer of gold filled pieces vary depending on how it is manufactured but in most cases thicker than gold plating. Jewelry that is gold filled can be worn on a daily basis without having to worry about fading or tarnishing for a very long time. 

Gold Plating
For people who are obsessed with wearing jewelry but have a tight budget, gold plated jewelry is the best option for them. It gives one the opportunity to purchase any nice looking necklace or bracelet without spending too much. It is made by using chemicals or electricity to deposit and bond a thin gold layer which breaks it down. Tips on how to prolong gold plated jewelry life can be gotten on “Tips On Caring For Your Gold Plated Jewelry”

gold filled vs gold plated

Gold Filled vs Gold Plated: What should you buy?

If you are still pondering on which of them to buy, then you should consider several factors. Solid gold and its alloys have a high price tag but are very good gifts for special people. Also, since sold gold retains its value for a lifetime, it is a great investment. Gold filled is also a great option, although not as valuable as solid gold, can be presented as a gift as well. Gold plated jewelry, on the other hand, shouldn’t be discredited because it gives people with a low budget the chance to keep up with the latest trend. However, people wearing it should be ready to face the consequences of it losing its shining and shimmer when it starts fading.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry?

Though gold does not easily tarnish, there is still the possibility that grime and dirt accumulate to make the jewelry dull and look tarnished. Gold jewelry needs to be properly maintained so that it shines beautifully every time you wear it. It is a simple process to keep your gold jewelry clean and you can do it on your own at home. Here we will introduce some effective methods for you to clean plain gold jewelry items.

Water and Soap( Method for Plain Gold Jewelry)
clean gold jewelry with water and soapUsing water and soap is the most effective cleaning method for you to clean gold jewelry at home. You might doubt ” how could soap clean gold jewelry”? Yes, it is true. Water and soap works best on solid gold jewelry items which have no gemstones. Here is the steps to clean gold jewelry with soap and water:

  • 1. Fill a bowl with warm clean water and add some mild soap.
  • 2. Dip the gold jewelry item into the water.
  • 3. Soaking the jewelry in water for 20 minutes.
  • 4. Take the jewelry out and wipe it with a clean dry cloth.

This method will effectively eliminate the oils on the gold jewelry item which accumulate from daily wear. Why there are oils on the jewelry? Because you daily use beauty products and wash dishes. Water and soap method is a quick way to bring back the beauty of your gold jewelry without much hassle.

Clean Method for Gold Jewelry with Gemstone

clean gold jewelry with gemstoneIt requires more care and steps to be done to clean gold jewelry which are mounted with gemstones. You should never submerge a gemstone gold jewelry into the water because the water can be trapped in the jewelry setting, thus causing discoloration or rust of the metal setting as well as cause the gems to fall out after some time. Use the following steps to clean gold jewelry with gemstones:

1. Fill a bowl with warm clean water and add some mild soap.
2. Moisten a clean try cloth with the mixture of water and soap.
3. Use the moistened cloth to clean the jewelry by rubbing gently over the gemstones and setting.
4. Repeat the step 2 and step 3 several times until you see the gold jewelry shine like new.
5. Try the jewelry with a clean try cloth.

Clean Gold Jewelry with Ammonia

Clean Gold Jewelry with AmmoniaAmmonia is wildly used to clean gold jewelry. You can also buy a small bag of ammonia to clean your gold jewelry items at home on your own. Though effective in removing grim and dirt, ammonia can also cause damage on jewelry. So it should be used cautiously with this method. Here is items needed and steps for this cleaning method:

Items needed:
1. A soft polishing cloth.
2. A small bowl.
3. Some water.
4. Ammonia.

1. Combine a solution that is comprised of 1 part ammonia with 6 parts water in the bowl.
2. Soak your gold jewelry into the solution for around 1 minute.
3. Remove the cleaning solution by washing the jewelry under running water.
4. Dry your gold jewelry with a soft polish cloth.
5. Put the gold jewelry upside down so that it will air dry.

dry gold jewelry with clean clothThis method works for plain gold jewelry items as well as gold jewelry with gemstones. You can use a soft toothbrush or a toothpick to dip with the solution in order to clean the hard to reach spots on the jewelry. When rubbing, cleaning and washing, please remember to do it gently and slowly with patience and care. After following these methods you will not have any worry for gold jewelry cleaning. At GetPersonalizedJewelry store, we have gold necklaces, gold bracelets and earrings.

What is 24K Gold, 18K Gold, 14K Gold and 10K Gold?

Karat is the weight unit of gold and its abbreviation is K. Pure gold is 24K/ 24 karates, so 1 karat of gold is 1/24 gold, which equals to 4.16% gold. The higher the karat is, the more gold is contained and the more yellow the gold looks.


What is 24K Gold?
24K gold is 100% pure gold, but it is too soft to be made into jewelry items. So jewelers need to alloy or combine pure gold with other metals to make it harder. 24K gold is usually used in costum jewelry by plating on silver or brass to make the jewelry looks like gold. In some countries, 99.9% gold is considered pure gold and is traditionally favored to craft jewelry items, such as India and China. Jewelry designers like Chow Tai Fook produces the most popular and beautiful gold jewelry in China.

gold content of 24K Gold, 18K Gold, 14K Gold and 10K Gold

Gold content composition

What is 18K Gold?
18K gold means it contains 75% gold and 25% of other metals. 18K gold is highly recommened for fine jewelry. Compaired to 14K gold, 18K gold color is brighter and more yellow because of higher gold percentage it contains. So 18K gold is more expensive than 14K gold. The other 25% metals is usually silver, zinc and copper. When jewelers want the 18K gold to be rose gold, they use copper. For white gold, they use silve and zinc. Since 18K gold (75%) has a higher gold content than 14K gold (58.3%), it is softer and less durable than 14k gold. For jewelry items of daily wear, like wedding bands, bracelets, cuffs or bangles, 14K gold is a better choice because of its hardness. However, 18K gold is also strong enough to be used for any daily jewelry as long as you give proper care.

 18k gold ring

18K Gold Monogram Ring Sold at GetPersonalizedJewelry

What is 14K Gold?
14K gold means it contains 58.3% gold and 41.7% of other metals. 14K gold is mostly used for gemstone jewelry because of its hardness. 14K gold is the most popular gold for fine jewelry because it wears well. 14K gold is resistant to scratches and more durable than the higher karat gold, such as 24K gold and 18K gold. Why it is harder? Because pure gold is a very soft metal, so the more the gold contained, the less durable it is. Compared to 24K and 18K gold, 14K gold has the least gold content, so it is harder for jewelry designs. Moreover, 14K gold represents a beautiful gold color which is the most desirable color for jewelry.

 14k gold earrings

14K Gold Monogram Earrings Sold at GetPersonalizedJewelry

What is 10K Gold?
10K gold means it contains 41.7% of gold and 58.3% of other metals. 10K is the legal karat limit for a gold to be considered real gold in the United States. Because it contains the least gold, 10K gold color is a paler shade of gold than 14K gold and 18K gold. The jewelry piece which made of 10K gold is very durable because of the high percentage content of other metals in 10K gold. Usually jewelers use silver, zinc, copper and pure gold to make 10K gold. 10K gold jewelry may tarnish easily because of the silver content, but one can polish it to restore its gold color. The gold color will not fade or wear off because 10K gold jewelry is a solid gold jewelry.

10k gold necklace

10K Solid Gold Necklace Sold at GetPersonalizedJewelry

Does Real Gold Tarnish?
24K pure gold does not tarnish,but pure gold can not be made into jewelry. So legal real gold, such as 10K, 14K, and 18K gold can tarnish, but it can be polished to restore its original gold shine. The higher the karat value, the less likely the gold will tarnish. So 18K is the most anti-tarnished gold, followed by 14K and 10K gold. Since gold is alloyed with other metals to make it stronger, such as nikel, zinc, silver, and copper, these metals cause the gold to tarnish. Perfume, soap, perspiration, body chemistry, and chemicals can react with other metals in the gold jewelry, thus the tarnishing happens. 14K and 18K gold jewelry pieces can be used for years without tarnishing as long as you give proper care.


Where to Buy Personalized 14K and 18K Gold Jewelry?
The best place to buy personalized 14K or 18K jewelry is
It offers nearly 3000 different personalized jewelry items to choose from 14K white gold, 18K white gold, 14K yellow gold, 18K yellow gold, 14K rose gold, 18K rose gold, 24K gold plated and sterling silver! You can choose from monogram, nameplate, infinity symbol, initials and more.


What is Gold Vermeil, Gold Plated and Gold Filled?

When you search jewelry pieces online, do you always come across gold vermeil, gold plated and gold filled jewelry descriptions for the jewelry pieces? You are confused if they are the same material? Here is an article for you to understand them.


gold vermeilWhat is gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is 0.925 sterling silver layered with a thin plating of gold. A vermeil coating is 100 millionths of an inch gold over sterling silver. Gold vermeil jewelry pieces shine will not be easily worn down because they have the exact same shine and richness of real 14K gold. You can simply polish your gold vermeil jewelry piece with a clean cloth and machine polishing or chemical usages are no never required to clean a gold vermeil jewelry piece.


What is gold plated?
Gold plated means a thin layer of gold is applied to a less expensive piece of metal, such as copper, brass or silver. So the actually material can be brass, copper or silver. You can say gold plated silver, gold plated copper or something else. The difference is the actual material under the gold plating. Industry standards for gold plating is that 0.15 to 0.25 millionths of gold be applied during the plating process. Gold plated jewelry pieces tend to chip off its base metal and they are not as durable as the jewelry pieces made of pure gold or gold filled. However, you can simply re-plate a gold plated jewelry piece at the jeweler to restore the gold shine.


What is gold filled?
Gold-filled items are constructed in two three layers. The base metal is brass and then a gold alloy is bonded to both surfaces of the brass core. Gold filled jewelry pieces are legally required to have 5% gold content by weight. Such jewelry pieces are marked as “gold-filled”, usually 19k, 14k gold are used for gold filling.


What is 24K gold electroplated over brass?
24K gold electroplated over brass means a brass item which has had a layer of 24K gold mechanically plated over its surface. Usually 24K gold electroplated over brass items can be a clock, a piece of jewelry, or a watch. The items look as if they are gold, but at a much lower cost because the actually majority metal is brass. A gold finish on the product may not last as long as a solid item, but the gold looks with cheap price makes these products very attractive to many people.


Pros & Cons
Among the above four materials, the gold filled items are the most expensive, followed by gold vermeil and gold plated. Gold filled jewelry pieces will not be easily worn down because they contain the highest percentage gold than the other three materials. However, gold filled is a complicated process and the price is almost the same as solid 10k gold or solid 14k gold. Gold vermeil is the most popular for jewelry making because both silver and gold are precious metals. Gold vermeil jewelry can not be worn down easily because it is plated with a layer of solid gold and no chemicals required to clean a gold vermeil jewelry piece. Gold plated silver is the same as gold vermeil. A gold plated copper jewelry piece is less valuable than gold filled and gold vermeil ones.

clean gold plated jewelryHow to care for gold-plated items?
Choosing a gold plated item does not mean that it will be worn down immediately. Gold plating items can also last a long time as solid gold item does with proper care. Moreover, gold plated items are too much cheaper than solid gold with attractive looks. Same as gold jewelry cleaning method, the most effective way to care for a gold plated item is to wash it with mild warm soapy water. It is not good to use chemicals or jewelry cleaners to clean a gold plated product because the chemicals can break down the gold plating. In order to properly care for a gold plated item, try not to expose it to body lotion, perfume, cosmetics, and prolonged moisture because these items can break down the gold plating and cause tarnishing of the base metal.


What is Rose Gold?

Pure gold is a solid metal that shines with a yellowish color and it is very soft and malleable. Gold is one of the first known metals in human history and its element symbol is Au. Since pure gold is very soft, it is hard to be used for jewelry. So jewelers need to combine gold with other metals to make it strong.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold

rose gold name necklace    gold name necklace
Rose gold name necklace and gold name necklace

Rose gold is a combination of gold and copper alloy. Copper shines with a pink orange color, thus adding copper alloy to pure gold gives the gold a beautiful pinkish gold color. There can be rose gold, pink gold and red gold by adding different percentage of copper. When the metal contains 75% pure gold and 25% other metals, we call it 18K rose gold, 18K pink gold and 18K red gold. While 14K rose gold, 14K pink gold and 14K red gold means the metal contains 58% pure gold and 42% other metals. Usually jewelers add copper or silver to pure gold to make it hard. While the varying percentage of copper used determins the color of the gold. The more copper is used, the stronger the color will be. Among rose gold, pink gold and red gold, pink gold uses the least amount of copper, so the color is the lightest. While the red gold contains the highest copper and rose gold between them. Here is a clear chart to see gold and alloy percentage for rose gold, red gold and pink gold:

rose gold alloy percentage

As you can see from the above chart, red gold has the highest percentage of copper, so the color is deepest. Since rose gold, red gold and pink gold are alloys of gold, copper and silver, it is wrong to say “pure rose gold, pure red gold and pure pink gold”. Rose gold is very popular among today’s jewelry fashion, 18K rose gold and 14K rose gold are the hottest picks in recent decades.

What is White Gold?

White gold is an alloy of pure gold and one or more white metals. Commenly jewelers use palladium and nickel to mix with pure gold in order to make white gold. As you can see white gold is an alloy of pure gold and other white metals, so there is no “pure white gold”. There are 18K white gold and 14K white gold according to the percentage pure gold the alloy contains. Pure gold is 24K gold, thus 18K white gold means it contains 75% gold and 25% other white metals. While 14K white gold means it contains 58.3% gold and 41.7% other white metals.

white gold composition

Since the original color of gold is yellow, in order to enhance the whiteness, almost all white gold is plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a white shiny metal which is especially hard. The rhodium can be worn off during years of wearing and revealing the original metal color. So usually white gold jewelry need to be re-plated with rhodium to restore the whiteness. Below is the composition alloy of 14K white gold and 18K white gold:


14k white gold

white gold name necklace sold at GetPersonalizedJewelry


14K White Gold vs 18K White Gold
14K white gold contains 58.3% gold and 18K white gold contains 75% gold. Since gold is soft element, the less gold contained, the harder is the jewelry. So 14K gold is most recommened for jewelry, especially for gemstone jewelry. 14K white gold is resistant to scratches and more durable than the higher karat 18K white gold. For jewelry items for daily wear, like a wedding ring, charm bracelet, 14K gold can be a better choice than 18K gold. However, 18K gold also can be strong enough for daily wear with proper care.