Which Gold Doesn't Tarnish (2023)

If you're looking for gold that doesn't tarnish, then you're in luck! There is a type of gold that won't suffer from discoloration. Read on to find out what it is!

What Karat Gold Won't Tarnish? Pure Gold

The answer is 24K gold or pure gold! Tarnish occurs when molecules from the air interact with metals and change their color. But since 24K gold is the highest karat (100% pure gold) possible, it doesn't contain other metals that can react to the environment. So, if you're looking for a piece of jewelry that won't tarnish, 24K is the way to go! Just make sure you take proper care of it, as pure gold can still be damaged over time (scratches, dents, etc.)

Most gold jewelry is made of an alloy, a mixture of two or more metals. Gold itself is too soft to be used in its pure form, so it's mixed with other metals, such as silver and copper, to create a more durable material. But the downside of this is that when exposed to air and moisture, the alloy can tarnish or discolor over time.

The higher the karat amount of pure gold, the less likely it will tarnish. For example, 24-karat gold is 100% gold and, therefore, will not tarnish at all. 18-karat gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals, and it will take much longer to tarnish than 14-karat gold, which is only 58% pure gold. So if you want gold that won’t tarnish, go for the highest karat level possible.

Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Tarnish?

Gold plating​ is when a thin layer of gold is chemically bonded to a base metal using electricity. This procedure repeats several times to create multiple layers of gold for high-quality gold plating. When done correctly, gold plating prevents tarnishing by using pure gold to shield the more reactive base metal from the environment. In this case, discoloration won't happen until the plating completely fades to reveal the base metal underneath.

Plated jewelry quickly tarnishes from lower-grade plating, which uses a low-grade gold alloy. This typically results in a thin layer or improperly bonded layers that fade quickly, exposing the base metal underneath to gold tarnish.

What Does Tarnished Gold Look Like?

Tarnished gold typically has a dull, grayish color and may appear discolored or have darker patches; sometimes, a tarnished gold color can even be greenish.

Tarnish in gold results from a reaction to oxygen in the air. The reaction produces gold oxide, which is a black substance. When gold comes into contact with other metals, such as copper or silver, it can also produce a tarnished gold color that is greenish-black.

Does Gold Tarnish Black?

All gold purities below 24k gold contain other metals such as silver, copper, zinc, and nickel because these alloys increase the metal's hardness and help the metal gain a higher polish and brighter luster. The other alloy metals react to oxygen, sulfur, and moisture, causing tarnish spots in gold.

Does Real Gold Tarnish in Water?

Yes, alloyed gold can tarnish in water, but not pure gold. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:

  1. It's essential to remember that not all water is the same. Different types of water have different levels of minerals, which can affect how quickly it tarnishes metals.
  2. The rate at which gold tarnishes also depends on its type. For example, 14-karat gold contains a lower pure gold percentage and is more likely to tarnish than 18-karat gold.
  3. How you store your gold impacts how likely it is to tarnish over time. If you live in a humid environment or expose your gold to chemicals, it will be more susceptible to discoloration.

Can You Clean Tarnished Gold?

Are you dealing with some seriously tarnished gold? No worries! Cleaning your bling doesn't have to be a chore. Here is a simple method that will get your gold sparkling in no time:

  1. Mix juts a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid with warm water in a bowl.
  2. Submerge your gold jewelry into the solution and let it soak for about 15 minutes.
  3. Gently scrub your jewelry with a soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt or grease that may be stuck on it. Do not use a regular, hard-bristle toothbrush as this might damage your jewelry.
  4. Take the jewelry out of its bath and rinse it off with cool water.
  5. Dry the gold completely with a soft, cotton cloth.

How to Store Gold to Prevent Tarnish?

There's nothing worse than taking off your beautiful jewelry only to find it's tarnished. Here are a few tips on how to store your jewelry, so it stays shining bright.

First, keep your jewelry away from moisture.

Avoiding moisture means taking off your rings before you wash your hands and your necklace before you go swimming. If you must store your jewelry in a humid environment, consider using a silica gel packet to help absorb the moisture.

Second, keep your jewelry away from chemicals.

These chemicals include perfumes, lotions, and hair products. Perfumes and other chemicals can corrode the metal alloys that make up gold jewelry even if they don't directly react with pure gold. The chemicals in perfume frequently cause discoloration of this precious metal or merely dull its brilliance, both of which have an immediate effect.

Third, store your jewelry in a cool, dark place.

The molecules in the air around us are constantly moving. When they come into contact with the metal surface of your jewelry, they cause a chemical reaction that produces tarnish stains. The rate of this reaction is increased by heat, so it's important to store your jewelry in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

Fourth, use a jewelry box or pouch to protect your jewelry from scratches.

Scratches can cause tarnish stains because they allow oxygen and other chemicals to come into contact with the metal's surface. When this happens, a chemical reaction causes the metal to tarnish. The best way to prevent this is to store your jewelry in a place where it won't get scratched, like a jewelry box or pouch.

How Can I Polish Tarnished Gold?

If your gold is looking dull, you can polish tarnished gold with a soft cloth to make it look new again. By buffing and polishing, you can restore the brilliance of your gold jewelry.

1. To start, you need a piece of clean cloth that's soft to the touch and lined with rouge.

2. Next, using the rouge-covered side of the cloth, rub the tarnished gold in circular motions.

3. To prevent damage, use only light pressure.

4. To finish, buff the gold to a shine using the clean, polishing side of the jewelry cloth.

How to Fix Tarnished Gold?

If you notice your gold jewelry is losing its' luster, don't despair. You can easily fix tarnish with a little elbow grease.

Replating metal is a quick, affordable process that can restore tarnished gold instantly. Replating entails coating the jewelry with a fresh layer of pure gold. This treatment will restore the gold to its original color and shine.

Wrapping Up

Gold is a beautiful metal that can last a lifetime with proper care. However, like all metals, it is susceptible to tarnishing. Tarnish is a chemical reaction that occurs when gold comes into contact with oxygen or other chemicals in the air. The good news is that there are ways to prevent tarnish from happening and to clean it up if it does occur. With a little effort, you can keep your gold jewelry looking like new.



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