An inexpensive alternative to gold jewelry, gold-plating is an electrochemical process that involves layering several thin strips of gold over a stronger base metal, often silver. Although gold doesn't corrode, the base metal can darken if exposed to moisture, such as excessive perspiration or if the piece is worn in a humid climate. Clean and store your gold-plated jewelry correctly to remove the dirt and oil from the piece, and prevent nicks, scratches or other severe damage.
Create a mixture of 1 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 teaspoon mild dish detergent in a small bowl. Stir the water until it suds. A mild detergent contains no dyes or perfumes and will clean the gold-plating without causing any damage.
Dampen a lint-free cloth with the soapy water and wipe down the gold-plated jewelry. Use a light hand to prevent scratching the piece or removing a layer of the gold plating. Clean any dirt, grime or debris from nooks and crannies, such as behind a setting, with a cotton swab soaked in the soapy water.
Dampen a separate lint-free cloth with plain water and wipe down the jewelry to rinse away the soapy water. Never submerge the gold-plating, especially if it features a setting, to prevent damage.
Dry the jewelry with a lint-free cloth. Set the piece on towel and allow it to air-dry overnight in a cool spot. Never use paper towels to dry the gold-plated piece. The abrasive texture might scratch the delicate plating.
Store your gold-plated jewelry in a separate drawer or compartment of your jewelry box or armoire. Protecting the piece inside a velvet bag or small plastic baggie is another option. Whatever your choice, store the piece separately to avoid scratches, chips or damage.
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- Wipe off your gold-plated jewelry each time after you wear it with a lint-free cloth to remove any lotion, dirt or natural body oils that can darken or damage the piece.
Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.
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