Golden jewellery versus your 197-step skincare routine: a saga
A sticky layer coats your favourite gold pendant; the colour on your gold vermeil plated hoops is fading quickly and they feel tacky to touch; your brass ring is turning black; and your diamond studs are lacklustre. Sound familiar?
You don't put your body cream on over your trousers or wear a t-shirt in the shower, so why do you do this with something as precious as your golden jewellery? Metals and gemstones are often strong but never invincible. They require an element of care and maintenance just like everything else you wear. Whether you find yourself reaching for gold vermeil plated jewels or solid gold pieces, it's important to know how to properly care for what often are the most expensive items in your wardrobe. This will lengthen their lifespan and ensure that your gold jewellery always does what it was bought to do: shine.
Wearing jewellery in the shower and when washing your hands
UNEARTHED Lamina signet ring in brass by Lunaflux
Exposing jewellery to water speeds up the tarnishing process and makes it more likely that your jewellery will turn your skin green. Brass jewellery is the most common offender as, while an excellent choice for less expensive golden jewellery, the copper in its alloy can react with water and leave a green mark. To avoid this, we recommend removing brass rings before washing your hands and if the worst does happen, using makeup remover to lift the colour from your skin.
Gold vermeil platings are also vulnerable to water and soaps, which can result in the gold layer wearing more quickly and can tarnish the silver underneath the plating. Always remove gold vermeil plated jewellery before showering or washing your hands.
Wearing jewellery when applying creams and perfume
Collection of solid gold jewellery by Feathers + Wings, Jo Wood, and Tokë
We've all done it: whipped our hand cream from our bag and applied it over our rings, or spritzed perfume on our neckline and over a pendant and earrings before leaving the house. While a seemingly innocent act that doesn't appear to have an impact on our jewellery, allowing the chemicals in these products to sit on our gold necklaces, earrings, and rings can cause them the most harm.
The solution is simple. Apply your potions and lotions before putting on your jewellery, and if you're out and about or otherwise in a situation where it might not be possible to remove your pieces, apply a product, and then put the jewellery back on, consider a fortnightly cleaning routine for your jewels. This will mean less gunk in gemstone settings from creams and will remove that sticky layer from golden surfaces that reduces their shine and damages gold platings.
Wearing jewellery when washing your hair
Collection 1 Long Head hoop earrings and Head and Sun signet ring by Ruaridh Litster-Campbell
When you wash your hair, shampoo and conditioner gets caught in the ridges of jewellery designs, the butterfly, and inside gemstone settings. Over time, this can build up and stop gemstones from sparkling and damage designs and surfaces. We recommend removing earrings in particular before washing your hair because as well as the damage from hair products, there's also a chance that they can fall out and get lost down the drain.
Prolonged exposure to water can impact brass jewellery in particular, not only potentially leaving your skin green, but also damaging the structural integrity of brass alloys and making the metal more likely to break if dropped or subjected to impact. Similarly, gold vermeil platings can be damaged and worn away when wet, which shortens their lifespan significantly.