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May 23, 2022

How to Identify Gold Jewelry to Clean It Properly

Classic, timeless, statement-making. Gold jewelry goes with any wardrobe choice, which means it sees a lot of wear. Smudges from fingerprints, as well as dust, oils, grease, and dirt can build up and dull gold jewelry’s shine. To keep your staple gold pieces from looking dull, you’ll need to clean them weekly. Ahead, find everything you need to know about identifying gold jewelry to determine its best cleaning routine.

Yellow Gold and White Gold bracelets with different style variations


How to Clean Gold →

Cleaning Yellow, Rose, and White Gold

What is the difference Between Yellow, Rose, and White Gold?

Gold is one of the most popular precious natural metals because it’s so durable. In its natural, pure form, it’s colored yellow. When alloyed with other metals, gold can be white or rose. You’ll be able to detect what type of gold you have by its color.

Yellow Gold

How to Clean Yellow Gold →

Does not tarnish
Markings: 10kt, 10K, 416, 417 = 10kt gold (41.7% pure gold) 14kt, 14K, 585 = 14kt gold (58.5% pure gold) 18K, 750, 18kt = 18kt gold (75% pure gold)

Rose Gold

How to Clean Rose Gold →

Same as yellow gold but the alloy has a greater amount of copper. Does not tarnish.
Markings: 10kt, 10K, 416, 417 = 10kt gold (41.7% pure gold) 14kt, 14K, 585 = 14kt gold (58.5% pure gold) 18K, 750, 18kt = 18kt gold (75% pure gold)

White Gold

How to Clean White Gold →

Same as yellow gold but the alloy has a greater amount of white metals. Usually plated with rhodium to make it whiter, may eventually wear to a warmer color. Does not tarnish.
Markings: 10kt, 10K, 416, 417 = 10kt gold (41.7% pure gold) 14kt, 14K, 585 = 14kt gold (58.5% pure gold) 18K, 750, 18kt = 18kt gold (75% pure gold)

Connoisseurs Tip:

Want to discern the purity of your gold jewelry? Gold jewelry comes in 10, 14, 18, and 24-karats (parts per thousand). If you don’t know what karat your gold jewelry is, you can examine it for markings. All gold jewelry is stamped with a hallmark or marking to indicate its purity through the karat system: 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K. Check the back or underside of the piece for markings. If you can’t identify any markings, you can always take it to a jeweler who will look through a loupe and identify its specifications for you. Sometimes, the marking can be too small to identify with a naked eye.

Gold hallmarks and karat quality marks. The karat mark tells how much pure gold is in the piece.

How to Identify Gold Markings

Gold is sold by the karat and the highest form of gold you can get is 24-karat gold. But because gold is too malleable to be used in jewelry on its own, it has to be combined with another metal, so even 24-karat gold jewelry has some alloy in it.

“Hallmarks or markings are determined by a simple formula: take the karat and divide by 24. Then round that number up. For example, for gold that’s 10K, take that and divide it by 24. You’ll get 0.416 with a repeating 6. Round that up to .417. So, 10K gold is stamped with the numbers 417.”

When cleaning gold vermeil or gold-plated jewelry, avoid harsh chemicals. Dull gold jewelry can result from improper jewelry care

How to Clean Gold Plate and Vermeil Pieces

Gold jewelry can also be gold plated or vermeil. Its markings will tell you its specifications. Markings for gold plate pieces include GP, GEP, HGE. The marking for vermeil is 925, which denotes silver. Find more info below.

Be sure to follow the cleaning routines for gold plate and gold vermeil. Gold plated jewelry is typically constructed of brass or copper, and then electroplated with a thin layer of gold. Sometimes, jewelers use 20K or 22K in gold plate jewelry, so it can often be quite valuable.

Connoisseurs Tip:

Never use anything abrasive on gold plate, and refrain from scrubbing it to protect its integrity.

Gold Plate

How to Clean Gold Plates →

How to Identify Gold Plate: Will appear and feel just like gold but may eventually wear to expose inner metal which is a lower quality metal like copper or brass.
Markings: GP, GEP, HGE.

Gold Vermeil

How to Clean Gold Vermeil →

How to Identify Gold Vermeil: Vermeil is made from pure or sterling silver that uses a chemical process to bind a thin layer of gold to the piece. Standards ensure that the gold has to be 10K or higher. Vermeil jewelry is considered demi-fine jewelry.

Similar to gold plate but the inner metal is silver making it closer to fine jewelry.
Markings: 925.

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How to Clean Gold Jewelry with Gemstones

Gold jewelry can contain diamond, ruby, sapphire, and semi-precious gemstones, like amethyst, aquamarine, or rose quartz. To clean gold with gemstones you need to take into consideration the gemstone, if it’s precious, or delicate. Then determine the proper way to clean. Learn how to identify what your jewelry is made of for the safest clean.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry with Gemstones→

Larger, sculpture-like gold rings are the latest jewelry trend

When to Clean Your Gold Jewelry

It’s important to clean jewelry regularly because everyday activities can cause oils, lotions, soap, make up, food, sunscreen, hairspray and perfume to build up which can make it appear dingy and dull. Clean gold jewelry you wear everyday once per week to keep it shiny and prevent a build-up of bacteria. To stick to your weekly gold jewelry cleaning routine, consider adding the activity to your schedule. Routines yield the best results when they are followed consistently.

Remove everyday gold pieces for a weekly cleanse. Your weekly cleaning routine will dissolve debris, dirt, and build-up so your gold jewelry won’t appear cloudy, smudged, or dull. Because gold jewelry has been combined with another metal to make it wearable, it is strong enough to withstand frequent cleaning with the correct cleaning routine, which can help extend the life of your gold jewelry collection. Read on for recommended ways to clean gold jewelry every week.

How to Clean Gold →

For special occasion pieces, regularly inspect them to make sure they stay free of dust, chemicals, and other particles. If your gold piece shows signs of smudges or appears darker and reflects less light, it’s time for clean. Consider picking a date on a calendar and setting aside time in your schedule to keep your special occasion pieces as shiny as possible, and always ready to wear.

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