Jewelry Metals That Don't Tarnish - Smart Mom Jewelry (2023)


When we want to buy jewelry, it’s our every dream to buy the ones that are durable, shiny, and good-looking. Sadly, some materials will cause tarnishing in the jewels.

I know we talk a lot about the tarnished treasures, so you most probably know them all. Today we are focusing on the wealth that doesn’t tarnish.

Contrary to what you would expect, the jewels are not always expensive. You will find affordable options, as well. Notice that you may have limited options in this case, but that’s okay.


  • What does tarnish mean?
  • Does gold plate jewelry tarnish?
  • Does gold-filled jewelry tarnish?
  • Does sterling silver tarnish?
  • Does pure silver tarnish?
  • How long does it take for silver to tarnish?
  • What does tarnished silver look like?
  • Why is my silver tarnishing so fast?
      • Metallic abrasion
      • Corrosion
      • The compounds in the air that you can’t as much resist
      • Storage
  • Are you sure it was sterling silver?
  • Does stainless steel jewelry tarnish?
  • Does brass tarnish?
  • Does gold tarnish?
  • Does titanium tarnish?
  • Does pewter tarnish?
  • Does platinum tarnish?
  • Does copper tarnish?
  • Does alloy tarnish?
  • Does zinc alloy tarnish?
  • Does aluminum tarnish?
  • Does vermeil tarnish?
  • How to stop jewelry from tarnishing?
      • Always dry the jewels.
      • Don’t shower with the jewels.
      • Store it right
      • Put it down sometimes.
      • Apply a thin layer of polish
      • Keep it clean
      • You can also use the tarnish protectant spray.

What does tarnish mean?

This is thin layer corrosion that forms when metals like copper react with the air. This layer forms over the jewel surfaces because of the chemical reactions.

It looks dull; thus, it removes the shine and luster. It’s going to develop a gray or black film, thus creating a coating.

Jewelry Metals That Don't Tarnish - Smart Mom Jewelry (1)

Jewelry tarnish

Basically, the term tarnishing is about the layer that causes the loss of shine and brightness. Nonetheless, they may sometimes corrode or rust too.

The one thing that makes anyone like any jewels is that they are shiny and bright-looking. But when it tarnishes, then it loses its shine.

Does gold plate jewelry tarnish?

One of the most common jewelry styles is to plate them without using any material but gold. This often gives your jewels the perfect shine brightness and color, making the ornaments look valuable.

Besides, it will provide you with a luxurious and expensive look without you needing to break your bank for it.

So here, you will bond a thin layer of gold onto the base metals. And this is where the problem comes in. It’s not common for gold to tarnish, but when you are using the plated method, then you can be sure it will.

With time the gold plating since its thin will peel off, and the base metal then will cause the tarnish. Notice that the base molecules will seep onto the gold plating, breaking it down, and the tarnish will then seep out.

With that said, if you really like to have gold and yet you don’t have too much money to buy real gold. You can use these gold-plated ones; they will still give you the gold feeling but remember they’ll tarnish.

Does gold-filled jewelry tarnish?

It’s important to note that gold-filled jewelry is never sold as real gold, but then it looks so much like real gold. The difference you notice with the plated option is that gold-filled has a thick layer of gold that you bond with the base metals. It will mostly look like you bought the real gold.

You may also want to know more about Gold Vermeil Vs. Gold-Filled Vs. Gold Plated.

Notice too that it will not tarnish just like the real gold doesn’t. It’s very close to the real gold jewel even though it’s not.

Unlike the previous kind of gold, this one won’t tarnish or change the colors. The good thing is that it will stop the possibility of skin allergic reactions.

Did you know that it can even last 30 years comfortably? It will look shiny and more expensive than the plated choice.

Does sterling silver tarnish?

We all love sterling silver for how shiny and beautiful it looks. It’s one of the top precious metals in the market.

You will further buy it at a cheaper rate than other precious metals. But with all the goodness, you also have to remember that sterling silver tarnishes more than any other metal.

Jewelry Metals That Don't Tarnish - Smart Mom Jewelry (2)

Don’t worry, though; it will still be as durable as some of the precious metals with the only difference being that you need to polish it from time to time. The fact that the sterling silver tarnishes doesn’t mean that it’s a bad metal because it’s still good.

Does pure silver tarnish?

Silver is one of the most popular kinds of jewelry metals in the market. But it never comes as pure silver since silver is very soft. The jewels you see that are silver-made will contain other metals to make them manageable.

The alloy then is the one that tarnishes a lot. The presence of other metals like copper will cause the tarnish more.

Pure silver, on the other hand, is resistant to tarnish, but the thing is that you will never have a jewel made using pure silver.

The metal that people refer to as silver is sterling silver, and that one tarnishes because of the presence of other minerals in the alloys.

Nonetheless, today you can use Argentium silver too, which is tarnish-resistant. This is to say that it depends on the silver you are choosing.

How long does it take for silver to tarnish?

The best answer to give you in this regard is that it will depend on how you take care of the silver. Notice, though, that it will take two months to 3 years to start noticing the tarnish. It will matter to the kind of environment you subject it to.

It takes too long for even the tarnishing to start occurring. Remember contrary to most beliefs, although people think that when the silver tarnishes then it’s poor quality, it’s not. Also, the good thing is that you can clean the tarnish and polish the silver to make it shiny again.

So it can start tarnishing sooner if you neglect it always, but if you protect it, care for it and store it right as you polish it often, it won’t tarnish.

What does tarnished silver look like?

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Why is my silver tarnishing so fast?

I know why this question often arises. We all want only to have the best jewels that will also last long, remember. Of course, if this is your prized possession, you don’t want to lose it as it has a deep meaning to you.

Silver is the budget-friendly choice that would work in place of white gold and the likes. Sadly, sometimes it will tarnish a lot faster than you expect. Here’s why they will tarnish more quickly.

  • Metallic abrasion

When you use cosmetics and other chemicals, if they come to contact with your jewel, they will often tarnish and sometimes even the rubbing off. In fact, they also form black spots that will damage your jewels eventually.

One of the major causes of the abrasion is the chemicals like zinc and calamine that are normally present in makeup. Such chemicals then are harsher than the ones you will find in the jewels.

So it’s upon you to only wear your jewels when you use makeup with mild compositions of chemicals.

Learn to put on your jewelry last and after everything you need is already on.

  • Corrosion

Sometimes when the metals start to deteriorate, they begin to tarnish. Remember, corrosion will often occur if you subject the jewels to a wet and humid temperature. Sometimes, the salts in our sweat may react to the jewels leading to corrosion and ultimately tarnishing.

Remember, with sufficient salts in your body, the sterling silver will start the corrosion or tarnishing. To be safe, just remember to remove the silver when you are going to handle the harsh climate. Also, you should remove it when going to bathe or go to the swimming pool.

  • The compounds in the air that you can’t as much resist

Remember, the presence of hydrogen sulfide or natural gasses is the main cause of the tarnishing. Now we are talking about the sulfur in the air and any other material that contains sulfur. It may include food or any other chemical, even the soap you use will cause the tarnishing.

Sometimes even food like eggs will cause tarnishing. Also, be careful about the perfume you have since if it has sulfur, then it will cause tarnish.

The difference, therefore, is, that when you polish the silver to make it look perfect at all times, then you will sustain it regardless.

  • Storage

Silver will tarnish if you keep it exposed to the air and do not store it in a Ziploc bag to keep all the air out. Remember, we have said that when it comes to contact with hydrogen sulfide; then it immediately starts to tarnish.

Also, don’t store several jewels together that will cause tangling and thus abrasion causing the tarnishing eventually.

Are you sure it was sterling silver?

Sometimes the quality of the silver may cause quick tarnishing. If it wasn’t the real silver, then it will start to tarnish. Sometimes people pose a kind of silver with low purity levels. Such options then will cause the tarnishing always.

In a nutshell

How you store the silver, the type of silver quality, corrosion metals abrasion, and the compounds in the air will either cause corrosion.

Does stainless steel jewelry tarnish?

Stainless steel is one of the rare alloys that won’t tarnish. While most people think that it’s pure metal, it isn’t. The stainless steel metal features an alloy of steel and chromium.

Also, you will have different grades of stainless steel. But if you will get the best quality that makes most jewelry, then you can be sure it will serve you better.

It’s further one of the few metals that will never corrode or tarnish. The only reason people like it is that it maintains a silvery look with a mirror-like finish.

The good thing is that it will sustain this look through the time you have it. It’s also one of the best and most durable options, especially if you choose surgical steel.

You won’t even scratch this jewel, but neither will it corrode.

Does brass tarnish?

From the brass composition, you can quickly tell that it will naturally tarnish if you expose it to oxygen. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and remember copper will cause tarnishing when it oxidizes to form copper oxide.

It may be surprising to you, but there are a few people who like the patina that forms over the brass. Nonetheless, the shine will be gone. Thus, if you want the shine and luster, you can easily clean it to get rid of the tarnish.

Brass is one of the base metals that most brands just use the plating method to make a shiny and expensive-looking jewel.

Does gold tarnish?

I know different people have different answers to this. Some people think that the real gold tarnishes while others don’t believe this happens.

Like silver above, when gold is in its purest form, it will never tarnish. However, you will never find pure gold-making jewels as the gold is very soft.

When your gold jewel tarnishes, you can expect a dark discoloration. Gold is popularly known to be an unreactive metal, but if you mix copper or nickel in the gold, you can expect it to tarnish. This then means that the karat of the gold may guide you; for example, gold at 24K doesn’t tarnish because it’s at its purest form.

However, if you bought 14K gold, then you can expect to tarnish if, for example, it comprises other metal elements like copper and nickel.

So in the presence of oxygen and sulfur, the gold will start to corrode or tarnish. Also, in the presence of even chemicals with sulfur or oxygen, then you can expect tarnishing if it has sterling silver.

There’s a myth that if the gold tarnishes then, it’s a low-quality type. I’m here to tell you that this is not true. It only depends on the alloy content. Nonetheless, it’s not every day that the gold will tarnish.

Does titanium tarnish?

In the jewelry world, one of the metals that people are buying a lot of today is titanium, and it’s all for good reasons. It’s lightweight, yet it’s reliable, which is also the reason for its durability.

It can further give you the silvery finish, but if you want it in other different colors, you can just anodize it. This is one of the rare metals that will never tarnish, you know, yet it’s cheaper. If you buy it in its purest form, you are sure it will last longer.

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s resistant to scratching, so you will need to take good care of it. If you are using it in its natural form, then you can be sure it can’t tarnish. But when you are talking about alloys, then you can expect them to tarnish.

Generally, we classify it in the list of those metals that don’t tarnish.

Does pewter tarnish?

Pewter is one of the oldest metals that comes in a mellow silver color and sometimes charcoal grey. Pewter will never tarnish in its pure form, and this means that it’s easy to clean and maintain.

But of course, it will react in the presence of oxidations, and the level will differ notably when you have an alloy that’s much affected by the oxidation.

Does platinum tarnish?

This is by far the metal that we are sure will never tarnish. Like gold and silver, platinum is an earth metal. Notice that the silvery white-colored metal is one of the favorite options when it comes to jewels. However, it’s never easy to find these metals and, therefore, the metal and jewel cost.

Nowadays, most people are looking for metal to use for their wedding rings because it’s durable and good-looking yet it won’t corrode or tarnish. Notice that platinum never reacts with oxygen and water unlike other metals, so you will have it lasting long. It has all the goodness, so could you just choose a platinum jewel?

Does copper tarnish?

Remember, copper is one of the most common metals that people use for different things in their houses, but people also use them for jewelry. Often we mix copper into other metals to make an alloy or just have it as a base material. You then have other stuff to cover the base material.

Copper is very reactive, especially in the presence of oxygen. It will quickly oxidize, and it turns black, but in the presence of water, then the copper will turn green. Worry not though like other jewels you can simply wipe out this tarnish and then polish the jewels.

Does alloy tarnish?

I would ask which alloy are we talking about because we have different kinds of alloys that make the jewels.

If you made the alloys with metals that in their pure form, don’t tarnish, then it won’t tarnish. However, the most common alloys include the use of copper, nickel, and lead is all elements that are common for causing tarnish. Expect the corrosion too to occur if you have such metals.

Does zinc alloy tarnish?

I know you may have worked to find the safe zinc alloy that’s free of nickel and lead, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t tarnish. It may take longer to tarnish, but mostly it will tarnish.

Notice that the zinc is made using brass and nickel silver. Brass is often made using zinc and copper, while nickel silvers are made using copper, silver, and nickel.

You see, the presence of copper and the nickels in the alloy are responsible for the tarnishing. Let’s not forget to mention that the zinc alloy is durable and ideal for those who are never affected by nickel.

More reading: Zinc Alloy Vs Stainless Steel

Does aluminum tarnish?

I know what you may ask, but isn’t these metals used in the kitchenware only? Well, we have jewels made using aluminum. This metal is nicely light, but it will never tarnish, remember.

Although this is the truth, you still have to take care of it if you want it to maintain the perfect shine and color.

Does vermeil tarnish?

This is almost the same as the gold-plated kind of jewel. And although you have the perfect gold look, then it will not free you from the tarnish depending on the base metals.

How to stop jewelry from tarnishing?

Although jewels made of metals like sterling silver will mostly tarnish, you can prevent or better yet slow it down.

  • Always dry the jewels.

When you have sterling silver jewels or the types that tarnish fast, you should wipe them dry, making them look perfect. When you wash your hands, make sure you dry them, this is if you wear jewels.

  • Don’t shower with the jewels.

Don’t go into the bathroom with the jewels to keep the treasures dry and free of unwanted chemicals. Also, make sure you dry the jewels if you forgot and went to shower \with them.

  • Store it right

The best way to keep the jewel free of tarnish is for you to store it right. You don’t want the moisture in the air to come to contact with your jewels. If you can store the ornaments in a Ziploc bag.

When you just wore it, make sure you polish it first, then once it’s clean and shiny, you can set it in your Ziploc bag.

  • Put it down sometimes.

You don’t have to wear the jewel all the time. Just balance everything and put that jewel down when you need to. Polish it and then store it for a few days. Of course, remember to give it some TLC every once in a while.

  • Apply a thin layer of polish

You can take a thin layer of clear nail polish and apply it to the jewel to make sure it doesn’t tarnish as often.

  • Keep it clean

You will need to keep the jewels clean if to maintain the same tarnish-free look. So you just need to take a microfiber towel to wipe its surfaces clean. There are various methods you can use to clean the jewels. Choose the appropriate one for you.

  • You can also use the tarnish protectant spray.

Sometimes you will need to use the tarnish protectant spray. This will release the mind bogging issue of tarnishing.

In summary, the following metals will never tarnish.

  • Titanium
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Stainless steel
  • Tungsten carbide
  • Argentium silver

Unless you create alloys that contain reactive metals, then you can be sure they won’t tarnish.



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