Are you considering buying some 18k gold-plated jewelry but are worried it may tarnish? Then you're in luck! We've got the ultimate answer to this age-old question, "Does 18k gold-plated tarnish?"



Gold plating is a process where a metal, such as silver or brass, is electroplated with a thin layer of pure gold, giving the jewelry piece a shiny golden appearance and preventing tarnishing. In simpler terms, gold-plated jewelry is not solid gold but rather an item with a thin layer (0.5 to 2.0 microns thick) of pure gold. 18k gold plating usually contains 75% pure gold mixed with 25% other alloy metals. The longevity of the 18-karat gold coating depends on how thick the plating is and the habits of the person wearing it; if you frequently sweat or have oily skin, the coating will wear away faster than someone who doesn't sweat often and has dry skin.


Yes, over time, 18k gold-plated jewelry can tarnish. Pure gold is the only type of gold that doesn't tarnish. When a base metal like brass or silver is coated with actual gold, the coating is typically between 0.5-2 microns thick. This process is known as gold plating. It's a more cost-effective approach to acquire the appearance of genuine gold jewelry without breaking the bank. It is a thin covering of gold, so eventually, it might wear off and become tarnished or discolored.

To keep the protective gold coating from deteriorating, it's critical to care for and store your 18-karat gold pieces properly.

  • Gently wipe your 18k gold-plated jewelry with a soft cloth to eliminate oils and sweat after every wear.

  • Avoid storing your jewelry near UV rays, moisture, humidity, extreme heat, or chemicals.

  • Store your 18-karat gold jewelry pieces in separate compartments to keep them from scratching each other.

  • If you want to keep your jewelry in pristine condition and avoid any negative skin reactions, limit your jewelry's exposure to cosmetics, perfume or cologne, sunscreen, soap, detergent, and other household chemicals. These products contain harsh chemicals that will cause 18k gold-plated jewelry to react.

  • Wearing gold-plated jewelry in salt or chlorinated water will eventually cause the metal to become dull. The constant exposure to salts, chlorides, and other chemicals found in these bodies of water will gradually break down the protective coating.

  • Also, remove your 18-karat gold-plated jewelry before getting in the shower because tap water, shampoo, soap, and steam can dull the gold finish.

  • If you want to keep your gold-plated jewelry shining, don't wear it while working out, as sweat will cause it to oxidize.

  • Wash your 18k gold-plated jewelry in warm water with a tbsp of dish soap once a week to keep it sparkling. For the best results, deep clean your jewelry at least once a month.

  • If you must use a commercial jewelry cleaner, choose one specifically designed for gold-plated jewelry.

  • Drying your 18-karat gold jewelry with rough materials (such as a paper towel, napkin, etc.) will cause scratches on the surface of the jewelry and will accelerate oxidization. Use a soft, lint-free cloth instead.

  • Check your 18k gold-plated jewelry regularly for any wear or tear, and take it to a professional jeweler immediately if you notice any damage.


So, does 18k gold-plated tarnish? Yes, it can. Even while 18k gold is of greater quality than 14k or 10k gold, it can oxidize and become discolored with time. Take precautions to shield your gold jewelry from the elements and clean your pieces frequently to keep them looking their best for as long as possible. Your 18k gold-plated jewelry should last you for many years if you take good care of it.