What Jewelry Doesn’t Tarnish?
When you buy a piece of jewelry, you want to know it’ll last the test of time – especially if it’s a gift or to mark a significant occasion. We’ve all had a piece of jewelry become tarnished over time, and it can be upsetting when a piece you once loved becomes unwearable. This article guides you through the best tarnish-proof jewelry and also explains what causes jewelry to tarnish in the first place. Our guide is a must-read if you’re thinking of buying jewelry for yourself or something else.
Why Does Jewelry Tarnish?
What is tarnishing? It’s a thin layer of corrosion that forms over the jewelry when the metal chemically reacts to substances it interacts with. Most of the fashion jewelry you buy will tarnish over time. Jewelry that is made using non-precious metals or brass is the most likely to tarnish - sometimes even within a few weeks. Once the tarnish has set in, it’s almost impossible to get rid of.
Tarnishing occurs when the metal in your jewelry oxides and reacts with water or air, causing it to lose its natural luster and become discolored. Almost every metal used for jewelry can tarnish unless it’s made of 100% pure silver or gold.
If jewelry is something you only treat yourself to on special occasions, you want to be extra mindful about tarnishing. This sort of jewelry is not intended for everyday wear and will have a short life span.
There are dozens of factors that contribute to jewelry tarnishing – from your country’s climate to your body’s pH levels. The alloy in your jewelry is what will ultimately cause it to tarnish, as it’s how it reacts to these factors that cause it to tarnish. One of the first signs that your jewelry will likely tarnish is if it turns your fingers green.
Some people will find that their jewelry tarnishes faster than that of their friends and family. Both you and your best friend could own the same piece of jewelry, and yours could tarnish weeks or months before theirs. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about your body chemistry or hormones, which can react with the metal and cause discoloration and tarnishing.
No one wants to go around wearing jewelry that has lost its shine or has an unattractive black coating around the metal. If you want to get the most of your jewelry and not have to worry about maintenance, it’s always best to shop around for tarnish-free jewelry pieces that you can enjoy with a care in the world.
What Type of Jewelry Tarnishes?
While these types of jewelry might catch your eye, you want to consider the fact that they will tarnish over time.
- Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, meaning that it will tarnish as copper oxidizes with your skin. This metal will almost certainly turn your skin green.
- Gold plated jewelry can tarnish once the plating has worn over time and the brass or non-precious metal underneath is allowed to oxidize.
- Rose gold is one of the most popular jewelry styles right now but is an alloy that will become discolored with use.
- Sterling silver will tarnish over time as it’s an alloy made up of 92.5% silver, with the other 7.5% made up of other types of metals, typically copper. It can take years for sterling silver jewelry to tarnish, usually only when the top layer has worn off. You can easily maintain sterling silver jewelry with proper care and a little TLC. If your sterling silver is finished with rhodium, it’s less likely to tarnish.
Just because you’ve paid a pretty price tag doesn’t mean that your fine jewelry won’t tarnish as well. If your gold or silver jewelry isn’t 100% pure, there is still a possibility that it can become discolored and tarnished over time. Fine jewelry that is less than 24k gold can tarnish when exposed to certain chemicals.
How to Stop Your Jewelry Tarnishing
While some jewelry will inevitably tarnish over time, there are steps you can take to slow down the process and get the most out of your pieces. More often than not, it may be your body that is causing your jewelry to tarnish prematurely. While your body chemistry may play a role, it’s also likely to be due to your own actions.
You want to always be mindful of the jewelry you’re wearing, even if it’s fine jewelry with a high concentration of gold or sterling silver. Changing your habits can help you get a few extra months (or even years) out of your jewelry.
There are a few steps you can take to look after your jewelry that you are worried about tarnishing:
- Take your jewelry off before getting in the shower or going for a swim. While you might think it’s cute to wear your favorite necklace to the pool, it’ll speed up the tarnishing process. The substances in the water will cause a reaction to the metal and cause tarnishing.
- Your jewelry should be the last accessory you put on before heading out the door. You want to do your hair, makeup and spray your perfume before putting on your jewelry. If the metal comes in contact with products like hair spray or makeup, it can cause discoloration or corrosion.
- Always store your jewelry in a clean and dry place. If you’re not intending to wear the piece again soon, you can store it inside a zip lock bag to prevent oxidization. Just because you’re not wearing the piece doesn’t stop the metal from reacting to oxygen.
- Keeping your jewelry stored away in a box with a soft lining or inside dust bags will help prevent discoloration and scratches. If you throw all your jewelry into a box, they’ll likely become tangled, and the metals will scratch against each other, speeding up the tarnishing process.
- You never want to wear your jewelry while working out, as the pH level of sweat can cause a reaction in the metal of your jewelry. If your pieces are more delicate, you can even break the chain or metal while working out. Take your jewelry off before you head into the gym and only put it back on after showering.
- Another time you shouldn’t be wearing your jewelry is when you’re sleeping. You want to only be wearing your jewelry (whether or not its tarnish free) when you’re awake.
Even metals that don’t typically tarnish, such as gold, can still become discolored if you don’t look after them properly. If you are wearing tarnish free jewelry but spot some imperfections, you can clean them up with a soft toothbrush by using mild soap and warm water.
How Do I Remove Tarnish from Jewelry?
The only jewelry that you’re likely to be able to clean after it has tarnished is sterling silver and solid gold pieces. If the tarnishing has only begun to set, you can usually remove it using a silver polishing cloth with an anti-tarnishing agent. Rub the cloth against the surface of your jewelry, and you should be able to watch the natural color return to the surface. It’s worth keeping a polishing cloth on hand to use for all your jewelry, even if it is tarnish free jewelry.
If you don’t want to worry about polishing or maintenance, the best thing for you to do is to invest in tarnish free jewelry. While this can involve some hunting around, it’s worth it if you want to be carefree about your jewelry.
Types of Tarnish Free Jewelry
If you’re someone who forgets to take their jewelry off before jumping into the shower, then you want to invest in jewelry that doesn’t tarnish in water. Tarnish free jewelry gives you extra peace of mind and will make you less fearful about wearing and enjoying your jewelry. These pieces of art weren’t made to sit in a box and only be worn on special occasions. You can wear jewelry that won’t tarnish every day and even make them your signature accessory.
While fashion jewelry is known for being cheap and cheerful, it doesn’t always shave to leave you with a tarnished piece. Sometimes, even expensive fine jewelry can end up tarnishing if it’s not 100% gold or sterling silver.
You don’t have to break the bank and spend a fortune to have jewelry that won’t tarnish. You can still buy affordable jewelry that is stylish and on-trend. You just need to know what metals to look out for. Sometimes, these types of tarnish free jewelry can be cheaper than their other alternatives like rose gold. One benefit of investing in tarnish free jewelry is that it’s often hypoallergenic as well, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin.
When you’re shopping around, you want to keep an eye out for these tarnish proof jewelry types:
- Aluminum has a protective layer that does not react with oxygen, meaning it can make tarnish free jewelry. Although, aluminum alloys can still tarnish.
- Ceramic is a material that is lightweight and versatile, making it a popular choice for quirky costume jewelry. It can come in both a metal and non-metal form. You can usually save a pretty penny with this type of tarnish free jewelry, which can be painted in a myriad of colors.
- Cobalt is usually used to help bond nickel and copper, which do tarnish, but cobalt itself does not. This metal is more popular for men’s jewelry, and it’s also rust-free, although it is difficult to resize jewelry made of this metal.
- Platinum is a precious metal that is characterized by its silvery-white tone. It’s commonly used for engagement and wedding rings, bringing with it a high price tag. While it is more expensive, platinum is hypoallergenic and stronger than gold.
- Stainless steel contains chromium which acts as a protective layer to prevent discoloration and tarnishing. It has a similar appearance to platinum, making it a cheaper alternative. Stainless steel is easy to clean and scratch-resistant, as well as being hypoallergenic, although it’s not a common metal for jewelry.
- Titanium is a non-reactive metal, meaning it doesn’t interact with oxygen or water. It won’t corrode or tarnish over time.
- Tungsten carbide is four times harder than titanium and can have a grey or white finish. It’s made with 80% tungsten and 20% carbon, which makes it scratch-resistant.
One piece of jewelry that you want to make sure is tarnish free is your rings. When you think of how often you sanitize and wash your hands, you can guarantee you’re likely to forget to remove your rings at least a few times a day. Your hands are also more likely to come into contact with oxidative substances that can discolor or corrode your tarnish-prone jewelry. No one wants to walk around with green fingers, especially as it can take several days for your fingers to return to their normal color if your ring reacts with your body’s chemistry.
Jewelry Brands That Don’t Tarnish
24 Style offers a curated collection of tarnish free jewelry that will stay in your collection for years to come. Their affordable jewelry gives you high-quality pieces with the peace of mind that you don’t have to worry about tarnishing. The jewelry from 24 Style focuses on the wonder of aurora borealis, which catches the light and glimmers like a diamond. Aurora borealis is finished with a rhodium plating, which means it won’t turn your fingers green if you happen to be buying rings. Rhodium protects your jewelry from corrosion and oxidation, allowing you to wear it without a care in the world.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand what causes jewelry to tarnish and identified what kind of jewelry does not tarnish. The next time you’re in the market to treat yourself to a new piece, it’s always best to invest in tarnish free jewelry that will stand the test of time and allow you to enjoy it for years to come. Even with your tarnish free jewelry, you’ll want to follow some of the tips and tricks that we’ve mentioned in this article to help you look after your favorite pieces.
Is It Time to Update Your Necklace Collection?
Now that you know what necklace to wear with what neckline, do you have all the styles you need? Do you have a great outfit with a fun and flirty neckline but no necklace to pair with it? If you want to add a few more bold and beautiful pieces to your jewelry box, visit us at 24 Style today to check out our gorgeous jewelry line. From pendants to pearls, we have something for your unique style and neckline preferences.