Here is what we will review in this blog post:


  • Does gold vermeil tarnish?
  • What is vermeil gold?
  • What causes gold vermeil to tarnish?
  • How to store gold vermeil to prevent tarnishing:
  • How to clean tarnished gold vermeil:



DOES GOLD VERMEIL TARNISH?


Gold vermeil is a popular choice when it comes to jewelry. It looks like real gold, and can be a great way to get the look of gold without breaking the bank. But is it worth the investment? Does gold vermeil tarnish? Let's take a look.

 


WHAT IS VERMEIL GOLD?


Gold vermeil is an alloy of sterling silver plated with a layer of real gold – usually 14k or 18k. The thickness of this layer varies between manufacturers, but it should be at least 2.5 microns thick for it to be considered genuine vermeil. The combination of sterling silver and gold gives you the best of both worlds - the affordability of sterling silver with the beauty and elegance of real gold.

 


WHAT CAUSES GOLD VERMEIL TO TARNISH?


1. A chemical reaction between the sulfur in the air and the gold vermeil causes tarnishing.


2. The amount of tarnishing depends on the type of gold vermeil, the environment, and how often the jewelry is worn.


3. Gold vermeil crafted from lower karats of gold is more likely to tarnish than those crafted with higher karats because higher karats contain more pure gold (which never tarnishes).


4. Environments with high humidity can cause quicker tarnishing. Humidity causes oxidation in metals, which leads to tarnish on surfaces like gold vermeil. This oxidation reacts with oxygen and water molecules in the air, causing the surface of the metal to corrode or discolor over time. In addition, exposure to high humidity levels can cause metals like silver or copper used in gold vermeil pieces to react and turn green, making them look unsightly.


5. Environments with heavy pollution rates can have a devastating effect on gold vermeil jewelry. The primary culprits are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, both of which are common pollutants.


6. If you wear gold vermeil regularly, it is more likely to tarnish than those pieces not worn as often because wearing gold vermeil exposes it to harsh elements (sunlight, humidity, pollution, etc.) more often.


7. Tarnishing is more likely to occur if you expose your gold vermeil to harsh chemicals. These chemicals break down the thin layer of gold plating, leaving exposed silver underneath, which will quickly oxidize and turn into tarnish. In addition, the acids found in everyday items such as lotions, perfumes, and even household cleaners can cause discoloration or damage the plating on your gold vermeil jewelry.


8. Sunlight has an erosive nature that can wear on your gold vermeil jewelry over time, leading to tarnishing and surface discoloration. This is because UV rays cause oxidation - a reaction between oxygen molecules in the air and the metal itself - causing a chemical reaction that ultimately causes discoloration on your jewelry's surface. Additionally, if your piece contains gemstones or crystals, they are also susceptible to fading due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.

 


HOW TO STORE GOLD VERMEIL TO PREVENT TARNISHING:


Storing gold vermeil is important in order to keep it looking like new and to prevent tarnish. Gold vermeil is a type of gold plating over sterling silver, and if not taken care of properly, it can be prone to tarnishing. Fortunately, it's easy to ensure that your gold vermeil jewelry stays beautiful for years to come with only a few simple steps.


  • CLEAN YOUR JEWELRY BEFORE STORING IT. The first step before storing your gold vermeil jewelry is to clean each piece with a soft cotton cloth after each wear. This will help remove oils and dirt which may be deposited onto the surface of your jewelry during wear and may also contribute to tarnishing if not cleaned off regularly.


  • AVOID DAMAGING LIGHT SOURCES. It's important to store gold vermeil away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat or humidity, which can cause the metal to oxidize more quickly. Opt for a cool, dry place – such as a box or pouch – when storing your jewelry.


  • PLACE IT IN AN AIR-TIGHT CONTAINER. When storing gold vermeil, make sure to use an air-tight container to protect it from moisture and dust. This will also keep air pollutants away, which can cause oxidation—the process that causes tarnish on metal jewelry.


  • CHOOSE THE RIGHT JEWELRY BOX. It is best to store your gold vermeil jewelry in a closed jewelry box lined with soft fabric to prevent scratches and exposure to harsh sunlight, moisture, dust, and dirt. You should store each piece in its own compartment. Avoid keeping multiple pieces together, as this can cause them to rub against each other and wear down the plating more quickly.


  • AVOID EXTREME TEMPERATURES. First, heat can cause gold vermeil to expand, which weakens its structure and causes cracks in the plating. This makes it more prone to corrosion over time because the cracks provide pathways for oxygen and other elements to enter the metal underneath, causing oxidation and discoloration of your piece. Secondly, cold temperatures can cause shrinkage in gold vermeil, weakening its structure and leading to plating breaks. This also makes it vulnerable to corrosion because when there are cracks in the plating, oxygen can get inside and start oxidizing the metal underneath faster than normal.


  • AVOID HUMID AREAS. Humidity is another factor contributing to this wear and tear; when exposed to humid environments for long periods, the metal underneath (sterling silver) can react with moisture in the air and cause oxidation (rusting). This will cause the gold coating to break down and eventually flake off, leaving behind an unsightly piece of silver jewelry instead of something shiny and golden!


  • PLACE SILICA GEL PACKS INSIDE. Silica gel packs are small packets filled with moisture-absorbing beads that help keep items dry. They come in many shapes and sizes, but they all work in the same way: by absorbing moisture from the air around them. Also, unlike other anti-tarnishing products that contain harsh chemicals like formaldehyde or sulfur dioxide (which can be dangerous if inhaled), silica gel packs are non-toxic.


  • INSPECT REGULARLY. Check your stored pieces regularly for signs of discoloration or damage caused by improper storage techniques (e.,g., scratching). If you find any issues, address them immediately and adjust your storage methods accordingly!


  • DON'T STORE GOLD & SILVER TOGETHER. On the surface level, storing gold and silver together seems like a great idea—you can have all of your precious metal jewelry in one place! However, the chemistry behind it is a bit more complicated than that. Silver is incredibly reactive to sulfur compounds found in the environment (think: air pollution). These compounds cause silver to form a sulfide film on its surface—giving it an unsightly black or gray color. This process is known as tarnishing. Unfortunately, this reaction isn't limited to just silver; gold can become tarnished when stored with sulfur-containing materials. The best thing you can do if you own both gold and silver jewelry is to store them separately from one another.



HOW TO CLEAN TARNISHED GOLD VERMEIL:


1. POLISHING CLOTHS: 

Vermeil is gold-plated silver, so you must be careful not to rub off the gold layer too harshly. Frequent wear and abrasive cleaning can fade the gold layer. You should not clean your vermeil jewelry with a liquid cleaner. Instead, a jewelry polishing cloth is safe to use on vermeil and effective in removing tarnish. Make sure your polishing cloth is safe for use on gold and not too abrasive. Silver cleaning cloths may be too harsh on the gold layer, and rough fabrics can remove the gold prematurely. Practice patience; a polishing cloth may take a while, but don't rub too hard. A soft cotton cloth or towel may also remove tarnish stains if you don't have a polishing cloth.


2. SOAP + WATER:

You should clean your vermeil jewelry with mild soap and hot water, rinse thoroughly with hot water, and dry immediately with a clean cotton towel. You can then buff the jewelry with a soft cotton cloth. Repeat the process if the tarnished spots do not come off the first time until all tarnish is gone. As before, do not rub or scrub too hard, or you will risk removing the delicate gold layer.


3. JEWELER:

Suppose the vermeil jewelry means a lot to you, but none of the other cleaning options are working on the pesky tarnish. In that case, you may want to take the piece to a professional jeweler for a professional cleaning. A jeweler will have the right professional tools to remove the tarnish safely. Your jewelry may be tarnishing more because you have already removed some of the gold, so a jeweler may need to remove the deteriorating layer of gold, re-plate, and refinish the piece.



WRAPPING UP


Gold vermeil jewelry is a great way to add a touch of luxuriousness and sparkle to any ensemble. However, like other pieces of jewelry made from precious metals, it requires special care and attention to ensure its longevity. Clean your gold vermeil regularly using mild soap and hot water or by using a polishing cloth specifically designed for gold jewelry. To prevent tarnish, store your vermeil in a sealed container with silica gel packs and away from other pieces of jewelry made from silver or other reactive metals. With the right care and attention, your gold vermeil jewelry will remain in pristine condition for years to come!