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Gold-plated jewelry is a great way to achieve a more luxurious look without breaking the bank, but one downside is that these pieces are more likely to tarnish than their solid gold counterparts. Jewelry is essential to any accessories collection, so once you've found your favorite pieces, you'll want to know how to maintain them so they look their best for years to come.
Given how often many of us swap out our pieces, we should be giving our collection the much-needed TLC it deserves, and cleaning your pieces is just the start of it. To maximize the lasting power of your gold-plated jewelry, you'll want to handle it carefully overall, but the good news is it's not too complicated if you follow a few key tips. To cover all the bases, we spoke with stylist Mija Knezevic and strategist Idalia Salsamendi, both fashion experts who have shared their best jewelry maintenance advice. Keep reading to learn how to keep your gold-plated jewelry looking like new, as well as some of our favorite pieces to shop now.
Meet the Expert
Let Fragrance Dry Before Putting on Jewelry
If your gold-plated necklaces or bracelets tarnish faster than your other pieces, fragrance may be to blame. “When wearing gold-plated jewelry, I stick to a pretty strict regimen so the pieces last as long as they possibly can," Salsamendi says. "I used to always put on jewelry right after I spritz my perfume. After some time, [it would] start to erode.”
Due to the chemicals within the formulas of fragrances, lotions, and other products, they can cause jewelry to tarnish more quickly. To avoid this, simply apply any fragranced products a couple of minutes before jewelry, and wait until everything dries so it doesn't interact with your pieces.
Keep Pieces Away from Sweat and Water
If you've considered leaving your jewelry on while you work out, shower, or enjoy a beach day, think again—sweat and water have the potential to damage the finish of your pieces, so taking them off first goes a long way. “My number-one top tip would be to not shower or exercise with gold-plated jewelry on," Knezevic says. "Not only will your jewelry last longer, but also you won't harm the environment by throwing it away as soon as the color fades."
Clean After Each Use
Just as your skin accumulates dirt and bacteria daily, so does your jewelry, so cleaning your favorite pieces is as important as washing your face. While you should try to wipe down jewelry after each wear, remember to be gentle—use a soft microfiber cloth to achieve an effective polish without scratching off the gold plating.
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Soak Pieces from Time to Time
Periodically, gold-plated jewelry could use some more thorough cleaning. Using warm water and a gentle soap, soak your pieces for a couple of minutes to loosen up any dirt and grime that has accumulated over time. From there, gently wipe everything dry with a soft cloth, which will also restore shine.
Find a Smart Storage Solution
Take some inspiration from Marie Kondo by making sure your jewelry collection sparks joy with a clean and efficient storage solution. Storing similar types together helps to avoid different materials rubbing off against one another. Individually wrapping your pieces will also help to keep them looking fresh for longer. Don't have a good jewelry case on hand for travel or other storage? Try one of the options below.