Let me start off with a fun fact. Except for real gold and platinum, all jewellery is plated, even most of the times sterling silver. If you don’t plate silver, it turns black very quickly. All costume jewellery is plated either with imitation gold or rose gold, rhodium or real gold, rose gold or silver plating.
How long that plating lasts depends on three things.
- The thickness of the plating. Cheaper costume jewellery has a very thin layer of plating, which doesn’t tend to last long. When the plating starts coming off, the jewellery looks “tarnished” but what you are actually seeing is the base metal. Your more premium brands usually insist on thicker plating so that the jewellery lasts a lot longer. This does come with a higher price but you tend to get more value for your purchase as you can generally wear the jewellery for anywhere from 6 months up until 2 years.
- The base metal. Plating lasts much longer on semi-precious metals such as brass and silver, as well as stainless steel. Also plating items with real gold or silver helps with sensitivities as well the longevity of the plating
- How you take care of your jewellery plays an important role in the longevity of the plating. And that is what I am here to help you with today 😊
There are 3 things that will cause your jewellery to lose its plating and tarnish
Alcohol, water and air
- Most beauty and hair products (and sanitisers) contain alcohol or chemicals that will remove the plating from your jewellery. Avoid getting these onto your jewellery as they will make your jewellery lose its plating very quickly. If you do, make sure you clean your jewellery as soon as you take it off (see cleaning instructions below).
- Remove all jewellery before you do things, like washing your hands, bathing, showering, washing the dishes, exercising, etc. All these activities will cause jewellery to tarnish quickly. Water and humidity, with air will remove plating a lot faster. Another tip; don’t store your jewellery in your bathroom as the steam will also cause it to tarnish.
- Don’t use silver or gold cleaning products on costume jewellery
- Let jewellery be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off – this is mainly to prevent it from breaking
- It’s very important to store your jewellery correctly. If possible, store your jewellery inside your jewellery box or curAtiv box or bag. Air will slowly oxidise the jewellery, so if you keep it sealed in a small space, it will last longer
Clean your costume jewellery before storing them
Keep your fashion/costume jewellery looking fresh and fabulous by cleaning them with basic soap and water and then wiping them clean and patting them completely dry before storing them.
Follow the steps below:
Add a tiny bit of dish detergent to a soft bristled toothbrush.
Run a bit of water over the toothbrush.
Gently scrub away any smudges or grime.
Rinse/wipe away with a cloth dipped in plain water.
Lay the jewellery on a clean piece of tissue or soft cloth and wipe/pat dry.
Store jewellery pieces in a small bag or box
Add a dehumidifier into your jewellery drawer. You can get these at most of your local pharmacies for around R30
About stainless steel
Although stainless steel does hold plating for a much longer time and the plating can withstand most of the above substances and conditions for a longer period of time, up until now there were no regulations surrounding Stainless Steel jewellery and its content. Stainless steel will keep it’s plating for around a year to 18 months. However, it contains high amounts of toxic substances such as nickel, cadmium and lead.
If you have a nickel allergy you should avoid stainless steel and wearing items that contain nickel often may cause you to develop an allergy to the nickel as it is absorbed by your body.
If you do want to purchase stainless steel, the best option is to ensure it is made from surgical steel which has very little nickel. To find out if jewellery is safe for you to wear if you have a nickel allergy, look out for jewellery marker 316L (surgical steel) or 304 stainless steel which must be stamped onto the product. This type of stainless steel jewellery is however more expensive
I hope this is helpful and helps you keeping your jewels for as long as possible
Leave a comment and tell me what you think?