Gold plated brass is a type of jewelry that consists of a thin layer of gold over a base metal of brass. Gold plating is a process that involves applying an electric current to bond the gold atoms to the surface of the brass. Gold plated brass is popular and affordable because it gives the appearance and shine of pure gold without the high cost and weight.
However, many people wonder: does gold plated brass tarnish? The answer is yes, gold plated brass can tarnish over time, but there are ways to prevent or fix it.
Does Gold Plated Brass Tarnish?
Yes, gold plated brass does tarnish.
Tarnishing is a chemical reaction that occurs when the metal reacts with the oxygen and moisture in the air, or with other substances that come in contact with the jewelry. Tarnishing can cause the metal to lose its luster, change its color, or develop a dull or dark coating.
Gold plated brass can tarnish for two main reasons:
The brass base metal reacts with moisture and chemicals. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and both of these metals are prone to oxidation and corrosion. When brass is exposed to water, sweat, perfume, cosmetics, or cleaning products, it can form a greenish or blackish layer of copper oxide or copper carbonate on the surface. This layer can also affect the gold layer on top of it, making it look dull or discolored.
The gold layer wears off due to abrasion and exposure. Gold plating is very thin, usually between 0.5 and 2.5 microns, which is equivalent to 0.00002 to 0.0001 inches. This means that the gold layer can easily wear off or scratch off due to friction, rubbing, or scratching. When the gold layer wears off, the brass base metal becomes exposed and vulnerable to tarnishing.
How to Prevent or Delay Tarnishing?
The best way to prevent or delay tarnishing is to take good care of your gold plated brass jewelry. Here are some tips to follow:
Store the jewelry in a dry and cool place. Avoid exposing the jewelry to heat, humidity, or direct sunlight, as these can accelerate the tarnishing process. Keep the jewelry in a ziplock bag, a jewelry box, or a cloth pouch to protect it from dust and moisture.
Avoid contact with water, sweat, perfume, and cosmetics. Remove the jewelry before showering, swimming, exercising, or applying any products to your skin or hair. These can contain chemicals or minerals that can damage the gold plating or the brass base metal.
Clean the jewelry gently with a soft cloth or mild soap. If the jewelry gets dirty or stained, wipe it gently with a soft, lint-free cloth or a cotton swab. You can also use a mild soap and warm water to clean the jewelry, but make sure to rinse it well and dry it thoroughly afterwards. Do not use any harsh or abrasive cleaners, such as alcohol, ammonia, or vinegar, as these can strip off the gold plating or corrode the brass base metal.
How to Restore the Original Appearance of Tarnished Jewelry?
Now that you know the answer to the question of does gold plated brass tarnish, here’s how to fix it.
If your gold plated brass jewelry has already tarnished, do not worry. There are some options for restoring its original appearance, depending on the extent and type of tarnishing.
Replate the jewelry with a new layer of gold. This is the most effective and long-lasting way to restore the shine and color of your gold plated brass jewelry. However, this option is also the most expensive and requires professional service. You can find a reputable jeweler or a plating company that can replate your jewelry with a new layer of gold, either by electroplating or by dipping. The cost and time of replating will depend on the size, shape, and quality of your jewelry and the gold plating.
Polish the jewelry with a jewelry cloth or a polishing agent. This is a cheaper and easier way to remove the tarnish and restore the shine of your gold plated brass jewelry. However, this option is also less effective and more temporary, as it can also remove some of the gold plating and expose the brass base metal. You can use a soft, lint-free jewelry cloth or a polishing cloth that is specially designed for gold plated jewelry. You can also use a mild polishing agent, such as baking soda, toothpaste, or lemon juice, to gently rub the tarnished areas. Be careful not to over-polish or scratch the jewelry, as this can damage the gold plating or the brass base metal.
Seek professional help from a jeweler or a repair service. If the tarnishing is too severe or too deep, or if the jewelry has other damages, such as cracks, dents, or broken parts, you may need to seek professional help from a jeweler or a repair service. They can assess the condition of your jewelry and recommend the best solution for restoring its original appearance. They can also advise you on how to maintain and care for your jewelry in the future.
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How Long Does Gold Plated Brass Last?
According to some web sources, gold plated brass jewelry can last for about two years on average, depending on how often it is worn and how well it is cared for.
However, some factors can shorten or extend the lifespan of gold plated brass, such as:
The thickness of the gold layer. The thicker the gold plating, the longer it will resist wear and tear.
The quality of the gold plating. The higher the karat of the gold plating, the more durable and resistant it will be to tarnishing.
The type of the brass base metal. Some brass alloys are more prone to oxidation and corrosion than others, which can affect the gold plating as well.
The environment and exposure. Heat, humidity, sunlight, water, sweat, perfume, cosmetics, and cleaning products can all damage the gold plating or the brass base metal over time.
Gold plated brass is a beautiful and affordable type of jewelry that can last for a long time if you take good care of it. However, gold plated brass can tarnish over time due to the reaction of the brass base metal with moisture and chemicals, or the wear and tear of the gold layer. The answer to the question: does gold plated brass tarnish? is yes, but it can be prevented or fixed.
To prevent or delay tarnishing, you should store the jewelry in a dry and cool place, avoid contact with water, sweat, perfume, and cosmetics, and clean the jewelry gently with a soft cloth or mild soap.
To restore the original appearance of tarnished jewelry, you can replate the jewelry with a new layer of gold, polish the jewelry with a jewelry cloth or a polishing agent, or seek professional help from a jeweler or a repair service.