Jewelry Guide

Does Gold Plated Sterling Silver Tarnish? (Hidden Truth)

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Do we know that many of the readers have this main confusion and question pondering in their heads regarding does gold-plated sterling silver tarnish? In this piece of writing, we are going to give you a detailed answer to it. If you have such a jewelry collection, then do read each detail of this post.

There are many jewelry types that do get tarnished and fade their color over time. Furthermore, the biggest fear of keeping expensive and highly costly jewelry is that they tend to fade and tarnish with the passage of time.

If you do not want to buy a kind of jewelry piece that gets tarnished, then make sure to do careful research before. And prefer buying that jewelry that gets less tarnished. Here we will only talk about gold-plated sterling silver and its tarnishing aspect!

It is because of this gold plating process that sterling silver jewelry tarnishes after some time. In other words, the gold plating process results and leads to the gradual fading of the respective color and thus brings the problem of tarnishing.

It is true that the overall popularity of gold-plated sterling silver jewelry is getting the highest attention. So, let us have a look at the below-mentioned details and get to know how often this jewelry type loses its original shine and glitter. Do not get hesitant to ask any of the questions as well from your side:

What Is Gold-Plated Jewelry?

What is gold plated jewelry

The very first fundamental and basic that you should know is that what gold-plated jewelry actually is! Here you can check out the details! We all know that gold plating is one of the popular techniques that is opted by almost every single jeweler out there. In this technique, a gold layer is usually and generally deposited on any metal surface. This metal can be sterling silver or any other kind of metal. In addition, just a thin gold layer is deposited and injected into the metal. Common metal surfaces used in this plating technique are silver and copper.

Most importantly, this whole gold plating process is done with the help of chemicals. Keep in mind that the electrochemical plating process is utilized in this regard. If you are using sterling silver and want to gold plate it, then keep in mind that this plating process involves as well as incorporates the overall diffusion of the silver atoms right into a gold layer.

If a thick layer of gold is plated, then your sterling silver jewelry will not get tarnished or lose its natural shine. On the other hand, if you have plated a very thin layer of gold on any metal surface, then it might lead to witness tarnishing at some point in its life. Thus, we can say that the whole experience and situation of seeing tarnishing depends on the gold layer thickness.

What Is Gold Plated Sterling Silver Meaning?

What is gold plated sterling silver meaning

This jewelry type is worn by Hollywood celebs like we have  Emilia Clarke . Now, many people prefer gold plating their metal jewel pieces. No matter, you are interested in plating solid silver or you want to gold plate a sterling silver, such a combination is given much praise.

All in all, we can say that the gold-plated sterling silver jewelry type comes with a gold layer right at its top part. It entirely depends on the maker and manufacturer that how much gold thickness he or she wishes to deposit! In addition, the gold plating process is not just one, they are much more and it depends on the person what kind of plating process he wants to follow!

Giving you more of the details on gold-plated sterling silver! Whenever you see and spot that a silver jewelry piece has gold plating on it, then such a plated silver jewelry piece is given the name of a parcel-gilt. On the other hand, when silver utensils or sterling silver vessels are gold plated, then this plating process is titled and identified as a gold wash. Lastly, a gold inlay is a kind of plating technique when the gold is plated on the basis of substantial thickness content and also the gold material is being inlaid on manual terms completely onto the sterling silver surface.

These days, we no longer see and witness the manual gold plating process and this whole of the jewelry world has made a shift to a faster and quicker plating process. And it is given the name of  electroplating!  This plating process is comparatively simpler, faster, and quicker to complete. You can well understand that in electroplating, the silver jewel pieces are immersed into the liquid and this liquid has already gold content in it.

Furthermore, electric current runs and flows through that dissolved gold liquid content so that gold plating can get injected into the silver jewel piece. In other words, this flow of electric current manages to allow gold to get adhere and stick with the sterling silver’s surface.

Will Gold Plating Wear Off?

There is this confusion that whether gold plating wears off or not, so to sort out this confusion, you can stay tuned and connected with us. This is an unfortunate and sad situation that gold plating does wear off. It does not retain for a long time and actually wears off after a short span of time. Lots of queries and this same question came from countries like  Bangladesh 

and our answer is the same that gold plating does wear and tear off.

It really does not matter that you have plated on the best and top-notch notes or you have used the best quality gold and high-end sterling silver, this technique does wear off after some time. This is the biggest and noticeable drawback of this plating process. In other words, it naturally tarnishes and fades. If you are thinking that how this wearing-off and tarnishing process happens, then we tell you about it!

With the passage of time, the sterling silver base metal surface molecules slowly and gradually come on the top gold plated layer and push this gold plating to fade away and completely disappear. This is how the person notices and observes the signs of wearing off and fading away of her gold plating.

This gold plating wearing-off situation also depends on the fact how often and frequently you wear those gold plated jewel pieces. Like, if you wear them less often, they will get tarnished after a long time. Besides, if you wear and put on those gold-plated jewel pieces frequently, then they will for sure wear off in a quick time.

In addition, the kind of gold plating that you have gone for determines whether your gold plated jewel will wear off or not. Just keep in mind you’re your sterling silver jewelry can either be gold-filled plated or it can be gold vermeil plated or it can also be gold plated.

If you have opted for gold-filled jewelry, then remember that its base metal is always copper and a thick layer of gold carrying 5% content is injected into it. Gold vermeils carry and composed of a sterling silver base and 2.5 microns of thick gold are plated on them. And if one is going for gold-plated jewel pieces, then note down that their base metal is made of copper and a thin gold layer is embedded on them.

In any kind of gold-plated jewelry, when we say that a very thin layer of gold is injected, then we mean to say that 1/1000 to 3/1000 gold is plated. Hence, thin gold-plated layers often wear off and thick gold plated do not get tarnished easily.

Will Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Will sterling silver tarnish

Now, you have got to know whether gold plating wears off or not. Here you can know whether sterling silver tarnishes or not! So, the answer is yes from our side. Sterling silver jewelry pieces do get tarnished and they wear off as well. This happens because this metal type is not an inert metal. When you expose a sterling silver jewel to air, then sooner or later on it gets oxidized and eventually gets tarnished.

But the same point is that if you take excellent care of your sterling silver jewelry, then it may not wear off and loses its charm. You can reduce and ideally bring down its tarnishing appearance if you take very good care of this specific metal jewelry type.

Will Gold Plated Sterling Silver Turn Green?

Will gold plated sterling silver turn green

If any of you has bought a gold-plated sterling silver jewel piece, then this jewelry item will also change its color. Keep in mind that both the gold plated layer and also the sterling silver content will get tarnished and may turn into green color. By tarnishing, we mean that your jewel piece will change its color and it will get transformed into the green.

There are many people out there who have put up this question that why gold-plated sterling silver eventually turns and tarnishes into green, here we will tell you. This green filming layer looks very much messy and annoying on any jewelry piece. But the unfortunate times and situations are that the appearance of the green tarnishing layer cannot be controlled.

Remember that not all kinds of metal tarnish and changes their color into green, but gold-plated sterling silver jewelry pieces are one of the common and biggest targets of this situation. In this situation, the gold plated becomes disappear and a green layer gets created on the metal base surface. This chemical reaction occurs when your gold-plated jewelry gets exposed to harsh conditions or you fail to take care of them.

So, if your sterling silver is made of copper and nickel, then it will definitely be going to develop a green filmy layer on it. This problem occurs because sterling silver is only and just 92.5% pure silver and the rest of the induction and composition is 7.5% copper.

The other reason that why gold-plated jewels get a green layer on them is because of the fact that pure sterling silver is generally and usually liquid in nature. It can only become harder when some other metals are added into it. So, the induction and injection of copper and nickel in sterling silver is a must and in the same way, this tarnishing situation cannot be disregarded. It is just the addition of copper/ nickel that makes and hence transforms the sterling silver susceptible to wearing off as well as tarnishing.

Giving you more of the information, copper gets instantly and immediately oxidized when exposed to harsh air and it becomes copper oxide. In addition, this chemical process stains your skin and creates a green-colored tangy layer on it. Moreover, this is the natural reaction that turns copper into copper oxide and creates a green layer on your jewel piece.

This whole process further gets activated and speeds up when you expose your jewelry to perfumes. Such exposure speeds up and boosts the copper oxidation process.  This is how a green tinge appears and develops too much sooner on your gold-plated sterling silver necklaces.

How Long Does Gold Plating Over Silver Last?

How long does gold plating over silver last

If you are currently thinking about how long does gold plating over silver last, then the general answer is 2 years. Like, if you have gold-plated a silver jewel piece on  02-02-2019 , then this plating will remain there on your silver jewelry for about a time frame of 2 years. Furthermore, this time duration applies whether you have plated pure silver or sterling silver metal type.

After the time gap of 2 years, this gold plating will start to wear off or it may flake off. Sooner after the time gap, the base metal gets exposed and your silver jewelry piece will also lose its natural shine and luster. We again repeat to you that if you take extra care of your sterling silver pieces, then the gold plating on them will not take off.

Is Gold Plated Sterling Silver Good Quality?

Is gold plated sterling silver good quality

Yes, gold-plated sterling silver jewelry pieces are always of good and exceptional quality. It is generally seen that sterling silver is an excellent metal type. Furthermore, it is marked and also identified as a high-quality base metal. And if you gold plate this jewelry type, then it means you are putting the cherry on the top.

Besides, sterling silver carries  92.5% pure silver  in it, and for the reason that this metal jewelry type is of good and great quality. The resultant and final product always comes out to be good when you gold plate any sterling silver piece.

How To Care For Gold Plated Sterling Silver?

We have made this job quite easy for you regarding how to take care of your gold-plated sterling silver jewelry pieces. So, check out the details and see how you can maintain this metal jewelry quality:

  • First of all, you should not spray any kind of perfume on this jewelry type. Avoid its contact with lotion and creamy products. It is commonly seen that when such products interact and get closer to sterling silver jewelry pieces, they get tarnished instantly.
  • For cleaning these jewels, just rub them gently and smoothly with a cleaning detergent. Take a cotton ball and restore the overall shine and luster side of these jewelry pieces.
  • Furthermore, it is not recommended to use polishing cloth pieces on a sterling silver jewelry type. No matter, your jewelry needs extra and intense cleaning; you just need warm and soapy water for this purpose. Clean your sterling silver jewelry for 10 minutes duration and see how shiny they will come out to be!
  • Experts have suggested that it is not suitable to clean your gold-plated sterling silver jewels with any kind of harsh cleaner and harsh soaps. And at the same time, you should not use antibacterial soaps and antibacterial solutions on them.
  • Those who own sterling silver jewels and if this jewelry is gold plated, then  it is suggested to store and keep them in clean jewelry boxes .

Does Gold Plated Stainless Steel Tarnish?

does gold plated stainless steel tarnish.

As you have got a clear understanding that does gold plated sterling silver tarnish, now you can catch up with the details concerning does gold-plated stainless steel tarnish or fade away! Yes, this jewelry type is also tarnished and this happens because of the reason that gold plating is a fragile and delicate coating.

If you have bought solid gold jewelry, then tarnishing will not happen. On the same side, if you have gone for gold plating on stainless steel metals, then tarnishing will occur surely.

Just to give you more of the details on gold-plated jewelry, this is the kind of jewelry that is plated and completely surrounded by a gold layer. Furthermore, there are many plating techniques and among the common ones, we have this heavy gold plating process.

In this plating, 2.5 microns of the gold layer are immersed. Then we have a gold electroplating process where 0.5 microns of the gold layer is injected. In addition, we have a gold flashing or gold washing plating technique where less than that of 0.175microns of gold is injected.

Sterling Silver Vs Gold Plated

sterling silver vs gold plated

We can say that with respect to affordability as well as long-lasting-ness, the choice and option of selecting sterling silver is the best one.

  • Firstly, sterling silver is always  quite affordable  and this aspect is not seen in gold-plated jewelry. Though sterling silver is a precious metal. At the same time, it is much less expensive than that plated gold or platinum.
  • Secondly, sterling silver is  durable , and gold-plated jewel generally wears off. Sterling silver needs minimal care and also lasts a lifetime. This metal is known for its beauty, durability, as well as versatile nature.
  • Thirdly, sterling silver owns a good amount of reputation and remains to be on-trend! This metal is loved by top jewelry designers because it gives endless design possibilities.
  • In addition, sterling silver is hypoallergenic and builds up your jewelry collection as well. This metal does not irritate your skin and fails to bring an allergic reaction. It does not turn your skin red and marked to be an ideal option for people who have sensitive skin.

Does Gold Plated Sterling Silver Tarnish In Water

does gold plated sterling silver tarnish in water

Yes, gold-plated sterling silver tarnishes in water. We know that gold-plated jewelry when done on sterling silver and stainless steel always looks elegant as well as classy enough, but it does tarnish. You have to digest the fact that the gold-plated finish is extremely fragile and thus leads to tarnishing and wearing off in the water!

How Long Does 18k Gold Over Sterling Silver Last

how long does 18k gold over sterling silver last

18K gold over sterling silver lasts for 2 years! You should not be overconfident that high-end and highly expensive 18K gold over sterling silver does not tarnish and wear off. It does so as well! If you neglect the caring side of this jewelry type, then it will automatically wear off.

Thus, you can understand that pure silver is not somewhat susceptible to wear off and tarnish if exposed to a pure oxygen environment. But 18K gold over sterling silver is susceptible to tarnishing because this metal reacts to the ozone as well as hydrogen sulfide present in the air.

Gold Over Sterling Silver Durability

gold over sterling silver durability

The durability of gold over sterling silver remains for two years. However, if you do proper care of your gold-plated sterling silver, then this tarnishing and fading away situation may not occur for a long time. It is in your hands that you can prevent this situation.

With good care and proper maintenance, you can make your gold-plated sterling silver jewelry piece tarnished-free. Those who have followed strict care and maintenance routines are of this belief that their gold-plated jewel pieces do not wear off for at least a year and also for even a longer time.


The demand for such a gold-plated sterling silver jewelry type is rising day by day. But many women have complained that this jewelry type gets ruined and damaged its natural look. And some of the people possess a totally and entirely different opinion in this regard! We hope that this piece of writing has sorted out your queries.

Before you buy a gold-plated sterling silver jewel, you should keep and possess complete information on its fundamentals as well as basics. There are lots of people still out there who do not have a proper understanding of this specific jewelry type and this post may have given them proper understanding.

Just to give you a bonus tip!  Never mix your gold-plated sterling silver with any other jewelry type . Just store them separately. As an example, separate boxes should be made for storing your gold-plated jewelry and silver-plated jewelry. Even more, while you are swimming and exercising, take off your sterling silver jewels first of all and then perform your desired tasks. This is how they will not be tarnished. Keep tuned with us always.

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Jasmin Piterson

Hi i am Dr. Jasmin Piterson an Sole owner and editor of The Piercing Home. I works with expert piercer and writes original content based on their recommendations. Previously, I have done my doctorate from the University of California. I covered all kind of stuff related to piercing. My favorite things include Eyebro piercing, septum piercing and all kind of piercing for both male and female

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