How to clean and maintain gold
Gold. The metal thought most precious for thousands of years. Deemed fit for the worship of gods and kings. Gold has always been associated with beauty, prestige, and abundance. Fair to say, all of us at Hoskings are big fans too.
And when something is so revered, it’s only right that we take good care of it. That’s why we’re sharing some top tips to help you clean and maintain gold jewellery like a pro. We’ll discuss how to care for different types of gold, including yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. We’ll also share some advice about cleaning and maintaining gold plated and gold bonded jewellery, so that all of your gold jewellery will be well-looked after!
Why does gold tarnish and look dull?
The reason gold has been admired for so long is partly because it’s such an easy metal to maintain. In its natural state, gold stays shiny and bright. We call this ‘pure gold’ or ‘24 carat gold’. Although pure gold doesn’t tarnish, it’s quite soft, which means it’s not great for everyday use as it can scratch or bend out of shape very easily. To make gold more durable, so that it can be worn as jewellery every day, the pure gold is mixed (or “alloyed”) with other metals like silver, copper, platinum, or zinc. And it’s these metals that can cause gold to tarnish.
Tarnishing becomes more of an issue if the gold jewellery is worn in a humid environment or exposed to certain chemicals especially chlorine. Obviously, a harsh cleaning agent like bleach is never going to be good for your precious jewellery, but some of the biggest culprits are chemicals you might not even have thought of. For example, perfume, hairspray and some body lotions and fake tans are all bad news when it comes to keeping your gold jewellery clean and shiny.
How to prevent tarnish in your gold jewellery
The great thing is, it really is easy to clean and maintain gold jewellery to keep it looking gorgeous. At Hoskings we know that regular tender loving care makes all the difference. Wearing your jewellery pieces often is actually the best way to care for them because gold loves to be shown off! The more its’s worn, the more likely it is to keep its lovely lustre.
But of course, you’ll want to try new pieces every now and then, so cleaning your jewellery before storing it away will help to keep it looking sparkly. We’ll tell you how we like to clean gold jewellery and tips for storing it to avoid tarnishing.
Top tips for cleaning gold jewellery
The easiest way to clean and maintain gold jewellery is to wash it with warm water using a gentle liquid soap. A gentle hand soap or dishwashing liquid is perfect for the job. We suggest filling a small bowl with warm water and add just a few drops of the liquid soap. Then add your jewellery to the bowl and let it soak for about 15 minutes. If there are ornate details in your gold jewellery, you can use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently ‘scrub’ the crevices and shift any stubborn dirt. Be careful not to scrub too hard or use any abrasive products, as they might scratch your precious gold.
Once your gold jewellery is looking all shiny and sparkly, carefully remove it from the soapy water. We advise you stay away from the sink for this - the last thing you need is to drop it down the plughole! Then rinse the jewellery well in more warm water and pat it dry with a soft cloth or paper towel.
Great products for cleaning gold jewellery
Hoskings makes it easy to clean and maintain your gold jewellery with a collection of stress-free jewellery cleaning products. The compact Connoisseurs jewellery wipes are perfect for a quick polish to give your gold jewellery a glow-up.
And our Connoisseurs gold cleaning cloth is the best at keeping your gold jewellery looking fabulous! This generously sized gold cleaning cloth is ingrained with specialised product on one side to make cleaning gold jewellery easy. And the other side can be used to polish your gold jewellery to make it glisten!
How to clean and maintain different types of gold
We’re often asked if the same cleaning methods work for all types of gold. And the answer is no! When we talk about gold in general terms, we’re usually talking about yellow gold which is closest to its natural state. But gold comes in many beautiful guises! We’re lucky enough to stock a fabulous range of white gold, rose gold, gold bonded and gold-plated jewellery too. And these beautiful pieces sometimes require a little extra tender loving care.
Cleaning white gold
Hoskings gorgeous white gold jewellery gets its shine from a special process called rhodium plating. This makes the white gold even more durable and sparkly. But like other metals, rhodium tends to dull over time, so needs to be looked after with a little more care and a little more often.
We advise that you avoid any harsh cleaning chemicals and, if possible, bring your white gold jewellery in store to be cleaned and polished professionally once a year. Many of our customers bring their white gold engagement rings or wedding bands to us for cleaning every wedding anniversary. Then to keep your white gold jewellery looking in tip-top shape, we suggest you have them re-rhodium plated at least every one to two years.
Maintaining 9ct gold bonded jewellery
9ct gold bonded jewellery is jewellery that’s made from silver and then bonded with a sheet of 9ct gold. It’s a little like gold plating, but it’s stronger and lasts longer. However, because it’s not gold the whole way through the piece, so it’s important to look after your gold-bonded jewellery carefully. A gentle wash should be enough to keep it looking good. It’s best to avoid using commercial cleaning cloths (no rubbing) and ultrasonic cleaners with gold bonded jewellery.
Cleaning silver filled jewellery
Hoskings has some gorgeous pieces of 9ct gold jewellery that’s been filled with silver to make it extra strong and durable, just like this yellow gold, silver-filled bangle. These beautiful silver filled jewellery pieces should be cared for in the same way as regular 9ct gold.
How to clean and maintain gold-plated jewellery
Gold plated jewellery is a wonderful way to wear your favourite style of gold jewellery without breaking the budget on a solid gold piece. Plating works by adding a thin layer of gold over another type of metal, which means that, again, it’s best to be extra gentle with cleaning, no polishing for these beauties.
Caring for gold jewellery with gemstones
Just as gemstones vary in appearance, they also vary in durability. Some gemstones like pearls, opals and emeralds are quite porous and should not be cleaned with water, an ultrasonic cleaner or by using abrasive products. It’s best to use a soft, dry cloth to gently remove any grime that might have built up on the stone.
It's also possible to spot clean around the gemstone using our gold liquid cleaner that’s available in-store. For tougher precious stones - like diamond rings, we recommend soaking your jewellery in warm water with a gentle soap for a few minutes to loosen the grime that might have built up under the setting. Then remove from the soapy water and gently brush the hard-to-reach places with a soft toothbrush. Once it’s all cleaned, rinse it well with fresh water and give it a quick polish to make it really shine! You can’t go past our diamond dazzle stik, for the best and easiest way to get your diamonds sparkling within minutes.
If you’re worried about the best way to clean your gemstone jewellery, the safest bet is to bring your precious gold jewellery with gemstones into a Hoskings store for a professional clean. Not only will we make sure we’ll bring it back to it’s sparkling best, we’ll also check that the stones are still secure in their settings. That means you’ll be able to rest easy that your gems are safe for many years to come.
Maintaining your gold jewellery after it’s been cleaned
Once your gold jewellery is looking all clean and sparkly, there are a couple of things you can do to keep it looking that way. We recommend that you store your gold jewellery in separate compartments in a jewellery box so that they don’t rub against and scratch each other. Adding a little sachet of dessicant – (those little silica beads packets you get in shoe boxes), will help to prevent tarnishing from humidity.
This lovely wooden jewel box has a lift out compartment tray and special sections for smaller pieces to make separating your gold jewellery easy. Or, our stunning patterned jewel box is pretty enough to sit on your bedside table so you can pop your bling in before you fall asleep each night.
We’d love to help you clean and maintain your gold jewellery. Please feel free to pop in store where our friendly Customer Service Team will be happy to look after your precious pieces.
Call 1800 819 796 in VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS. Or (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by Niamh Hislop
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