Gold's Shiny Secret: Keep Your Gold Shining
If your gold isn't shining it isn't worth wearing it. Over time Gold has been known to dull, tarnish and smudge. But regular cleaning should bring out that shine. Here's how to keep that gold shining.
The whole point of gold is its shine. While it does not tarnish like silver, gold will over time develop a dingy, oily film from lotions, powders, soaps and the oils from your skin. And gold that has been alloyed with other metals, such as copper, silver or nickel, can tarnish and smudge. To revive your gold jewellery's lustre, clean it regularly.
The mildest method of cleaning gold—and it's also the easiest and most economical—is to mix a bowl of warm water and a little dishwashing liquid into a sudsy solution. Soak the gold jewellery briefly and then gently scrub crevices and design details using a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush. Place the jewellery in a wire strainer and rinse under warm running water (see below). Pat it dry with a chamois cloth. (Otherwise any clean, white, soft cotton cloth will do.)
For a stronger cleaning solution, mix equal parts cold water and ammonia (and save the money you would have spent on a commercial jewellery cleaner). Soak the jewellery in the solution for around 30 minutes. Again, gently scrub with the toothbrush or eyebrow brush. Rinse with water. Let the jewellery dry on a soft towel.
Having your gold jewellery professionally cleaned is the safest and most effective—if also the most expensive—method.
Take your jewellery to a jeweller and have it cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. They dip your jewellery in a container of liquid, send high-frequency vibrations through the liquid and, almost instantly, the dirt and grime drop off. Have several things cleaned at once, and you will save money on each piece. Or, if it's the same jeweller you bought the piece from, they might do it free of charge.
White Gold’s Shiny Secret
If your white gold is beginning to yellow, that probably means it was rhodium-plated.
Most white gold is. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such metal as white gold. Rather, white gold is gold (naturally yellowish in colour) alloyed with silvery metals, such as palladium, and usually plated with rhodium to increase its brightness even more. You normally won't see any worn plating on earrings and necklaces, but on white gold jewellery that gets physical abuse, such as rings and bracelets, you might notice yellow blotches on the surface. (Our gold-cleaning techniques will not remove the plating.) If so, simply have your jeweller re-plate the jewellery with rhodium.