Gold vermeil has become a popular choice for jewellery enthusiasts who seek a beautiful and affordable alternative to solid gold. Despite its allure, some people find their gold vermeil pieces turning black over time. But what causes this discolouration?
Let’s unravel the mystery and learn our top tips to maintain your gold vermeil’s lustre.
Before diving into the reasons for gold vermeil turning black, let’s explore what gold vermeil is. Gold vermeil is a type of jewellery made from sterling silver coated with a layer of gold. The gold coating must be at least 10 karats and 2.5 microns thick to qualify as vermeil. This combination of precious metals offers a stunning appearance and increased durability.
The Science Behind the Blackening
Now that we have a grasp on gold vermeil, let’s explore why it may turn black. The primary reason is the tarnishing of the underlying sterling silver. When the silver comes into contact with moisture, air, or chemicals, it reacts with sulphur-containing substances to form a dark layer called silver sulphide. This tarnish can show through the gold layer, causing the blackened appearance.
Factors Contributing to Blackening
Several factors can speed up the tarnishing process:
- Exposure to chemicals: Household cleaning products, cosmetics, and even natural body oils can cause gold vermeil to darken.
- Humidity and moisture: Damp environments can accelerate tarnishing, so it’s essential to store your jewellery in a dry place.
- Abrasion: Frequent rubbing of the gold layer can wear it down, exposing the silver beneath to tarnishing agents.
Caring for Your Gold Vermeil Jewellery
Preserving the beauty of your gold vermeil jewellery is crucial to ensure it stays stunning for years to come. To help you in this endeavour, here are some detailed care tips to follow:
Shield Your Jewellery from Chemical Exposure
Gold vermeil can be susceptible to damage from various chemicals found in everyday products. To minimise the risk, consider the following precautions:
- Remove your jewellery before cleaning: Household cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that can tarnish or erode the gold layer. Make sure to take off your gold vermeil pieces before using any cleaning solutions.
- Keep away from chlorinated water: Swimming pools and hot tubs contain chlorine, which can discolour gold vermeil. Remove your jewellery before taking a dip.
- Be mindful of cosmetics: Lotions, perfumes, and other beauty products can contain ingredients that react with gold vermeil. Apply your cosmetics first, then put on your jewellery once they have been fully absorbed into your skin.
Storing Gold Vermeil in a Dry Environment
Proper storage plays a vital role in maintaining the lustre of your gold vermeil jewellery. To keep your pieces in optimal condition, follow these storage guidelines:
- Use an anti-tarnish pouch or airtight container: These storage solutions can protect your gold vermeil from moisture and airborne pollutants that contribute to tarnishing.
- Add silica gel packets: Including desiccant packets in your jewellery storage can help absorb excess moisture and maintain a dry environment.
- Keep pieces separate: Store your gold vermeil items individually to prevent scratches or abrasions from other jewellery pieces.
Cleaning Gold Vermeil with Care
Regular, gentle cleaning can keep your gold vermeil jewellery looking its best. Here’s how to clean your pieces without causing damage:
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth: Gently wipe your gold vermeil with a microfiber or other non-abrasive cloth to remove dirt, oils, and fingerprints.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners or polishing cloths: Harsh cleaning agents and abrasive cloths can strip away the gold layer, exposing the underlying silver to tarnishing agents.
- Be cautious with water: While it may be tempting to wash your gold vermeil with water, doing so can introduce moisture and lead to tarnishing. If you must use water, dampen the cloth slightly and dry the jewellery thoroughly afterwards.
By following these care tips, you can ensure that your gold vermeil jewellery remains radiant and eye-catching for years to come.
A: With proper care, gold vermeil can last for years. The lifespan depends on factors such as the thickness of the gold layer, frequency of wear, and adherence to care guidelines.
Q: Can gold vermeil be restored if it turns black?
A: Yes, in many cases, a professional jeweller can restore the appearance of blackened gold vermeil by cleaning the tarnish or reapplying the gold layer.
A: Gold vermeil is generally considered hypoallergenic because it is made from sterling silver and gold, which are both low-reactivity metals. However, some individuals may still experience reactions, especially if they have a sensitivity to metals.
Gold vermeil turning black can be an unexpected and disappointing experience. However, by understanding the reasons behind the discolouration and following the care tips outlined in this article, you can keep your gold vermeil jewellery looking stunning and maintain its radiant shine