Why does your jewellery tarnish

Why Does Your Jewellery Tarnish?

Why does your jewellery tarnish? Are you fed up with tarnished earrings and necklaces after wearing them just a few weeks? Are you frustrated when you're not able to get an honest answer from your retailers post purchase? Are you also tired of having to constantly polish your beloved jewels?

If the answer is yes, then you're at the right place. This simple guide will help demystify some of the issues you're encountering. 

Why does your jewellery tarnish

What Most Retailers Aren’t Telling You

Well, your fashion jewellery will tarnish for sure. We see over and over again people posting questions online asking how come the jewellery they’ve bought turn green just after a few weeks from their favourite brands. It seems that a lot of companies are not giving their customers the information they need.

The truth is the majority of these pieces are made with brass or other non-precious metals. Even though sometimes they are gold plated, the thin layer of gold wears off very quickly creating a horrible green residue on the surface that is very unsightly. And it stinks after the gold plating is gone. The BAD news is once the piece is tarnished, you cannot polish it off! Unfortunately, this is something most people are not aware of. You’ll end up with wasting all your money on something you will never want to wear again.

Does Fine Jewellery Tarnish?

925 sterling silver jewellery

You may ask, “OK, so why does some sterling silver jewellery still tarnish after a while and you’ll have to polish it every now and then?” This is because it is made with what we call plain silver without any extra coating. So yes, unlike brass, it is made out of 92.5% solid silver. But sterling silver can still tarnish fairly quickly unless it is finished with rhodium, a noble metal that is part of the Platinum group of precious metals.

Thanks to its durability, rhodium is often used with sterling silver to ensure the piece is highly lustrous and tarnish-free. But rhodium plated sterling silver jewellery costs a lot more to produce. Hence it’s not widely used in jewellery production.

So next time when you want to buy a piece of beautiful jewellery and you want to keep it for a long time, make sure you check what it is made of. Don’t fall prey to brass or gold plated brass. And if possible, always go for rhodium plated sterling silver pieces or metals like vermeil gold which has a thick layer of gold plated on sterling silver. So even when the coating eventually wears off, you can always polish the piece to restore its shiny surface.

At Pearl-Lang, all of our jewellery is made of 18ct gold and sterling silver. Our sterling silver collections are all finished with a thick layer of high quality rhodium. Rhodium plated sterling silver jewellery is the best type of sterling silver jewellery to buy because it will not tarnish and remain shiny for a very long time. But it’s worth noting that eventually the thick layer of rhodium will wear off over a very long time. Well, unless it’s made of 100% pure gold or silver, which is not practical for jewellery making because it’s too soft, you’ll need a polishing cloth at hand.

fine jewellery cleaning

General Tips For Preventing Tarnish On Your Jewellery

  • Avoid wearing your fine jewellery in swimming pools or expose it to any chlorinated water.
  • Store your jewellery in a dry and clean place. If you have some pearl jewellery, you can find more information on storing and cleaning pearls.
  • Remove your fine jewellery before doing housework, exercising or any intense physical activity that will cause too much sweat on your skin.
  • Don’t wear your jewellery when showering or sleeping.
  • Keep your fine jewellery away from any make-up, lotions, hairsprays, soap or any chemicals.