How to Clean Gold Rings: A Guide Just for Gold

how to clean gold rings

Gold is a beautiful and versatile material for making jewelry like rings. But did you know that most of the gold on Earth is actually the result of meteorites that hit the planet over 200 million years after it was created?

Gold is durable enough to wear every day, but you’ll still want to keep your gold rings in good condition. By following some proper cleaning tips, you can keep your gold rings looking their best for as long as possible.

If you’re looking for details on how to clean gold rings, then keep reading this guide for more information.

What Is Gold?

Gold is an element on the Periodic Table with the atomic symbol Au. It has an ideal malleability, meaning it can be easily pounded into thin sheets and formed into other items such as jewelry.

Gold is also the only metal that is naturally golden or yellow in color without the process of oxidization or reacting with other metals. Gold is a noble metal that requires a special mixture of acids to dissolve since it is stronger than most other metals.

The different ways how to clean gold rings will vary based on the types of gold they are made from. 

Types of Gold

Essentially, solid gold is gold that is melted down into gold jewelry and is then formed into jewelry pieces like gold rings. Pure and solid gold on its own is beautiful, but it is prone to scratching due to its softness. Solid gold is also quite expensive. 

Jewelry that is gold-plated has a thin coating of pure gold over a metal alloy. These gold-plated jewelry pieces are less expensive than solid gold because there is less gold being used to make them. Gold-plating offers more design possibilities and it is easier to make than other gold jewelry types.

In relation to one of the types of gold jewelry, the term gold-filled is misleading. Gold-filled jewelry does not have a solid gold core, but rather a thick layer of pure gold covering an alloy base. At least 5% of all gold-filled jewelry must be made of gold or 1/20 gold parts by weight.

Gold Vermeil is a type of plating that involves the placement of multiple layers of pure gold over a base of sterling silver. The base of Gold Vermeil is made of Sterling Silver and it is plated with at least five layers of 10 karat gold, this makes it more durable and longer-lasting. Gold Vermeil jewelry costs less than solid gold, but it can still be quite expensive.

Colors of Gold

Gold naturally comes in a golden hue, but mixing it with other metals it can change the color and tone of the gold. Yellow gold is a classic and timeless metal style for gold rings. 

White gold is one of the more popular metals for gold rings. It is a mixture of yellow gold with silver-colored alloys like zinc, nickel, steel, and platinum to achieve a white to silvery appearance. This gives it a more modern style.

Rose gold comes from mixing yellow gold with copper. The addition of copper gives rose gold its rosy pink coloring. Rose gold is great for the vintage appeal of gold rings.

Common Gold Karat Measurements

Pure gold on its own, is much too soft to make sturdy enough jewelry like gold rings. So, it becomes necessary to combine it with other metals to increase its durability. 

The amount of pure gold contained in a piece of jewelry will influence its number of karats. The higher the amount of pure gold a piece contains, the higher number of karats it will contain. One karat pertains to 1/24th of the total part of the whole.

Pure gold is 99.9% gold and has no fillers, it contains 24 karats of gold. 24 karat gold is the highest possible count of pure gold. However, because of the high gold content, it also comes with a much higher price tag that is too expensive for many to afford pure gold rings and other jewelry.

18 karat gold is 75% pure gold with 25% made from metal alloy fillers such as copper, zinc, iron, nickel, palladium, silver, and platinum. 

14 karat gold is 58.5% pure gold with 41.5% containing metal alloys. While 10 karat gold is made from 41.5% pure gold with the remaining 58.5% comprised of metal alloys. 

Information About Metal Allergies and Skin Sensitivities 

For individuals with allergies or sensitivities to metals, it is important to note that nickel is the most widely known cause of skin issues and allergies. Allergies to nickel may include rashes, hives, blisters, and severe itching.

24 karat pure gold on its own is hypoallergenic, but the extreme softness and expense of it are often too much to warrant its purchase. Hence, the need to combine it with other metal alloys. 

In order to avoid these issues, it is necessary to make sure that your jewelry items, such as gold rings, are nickel-free for their base alloy. A metal alloy like copper is naturally hypoallergenic, this means it will not cause allergic reactions or skin irritations. 

Helpful Tips for How to Clean Gold Rings

You will need to make certain that your gold rings are pure gold first before you attempt to clean them. If they are gold-filled or gold-plated, attempting to clean them may cause the layers of gold to flake or chip off and expose the alloy base underneath.

If you are uncertain about the origin of your gold ring, check to see if there are any identifying stamps. These will show if it is a certain karatage or contains any gold plating or filling. 

If you notice any wearing or tarnishing on the surface of the gold piece, it is most likely gold plated or gold-filled. Tarnished jewelry is a dead giveaway to its true content as pure gold on its own is non-corrosive and doesn’t tarnish while metal alloys underneath the gold layer do.

Professional polishing by a jeweler or using specially formulated jewelry cleaners can help restore shine to your gold jewelry pieces, but you should make certain that they are not too abrasive on your gold rings first.

Clean jewelry frequently as it is easier to clean a little bit from time to time versus having to give a dirtier jewelry piece a deep cleaning that could damage it. Always opt for a slower and gentler approach for cleaning gold rings over a quick and aggressive method that could damage them.

How to Clean Gold Rings With Gold Plating

To clean gold-plated rings, you will need to be especially careful as the plating is much more delicate. Do not use harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaning tools or you could cause further damage to the gold plating. 

Do not use strong gold cleaners either as they are not well-suited for gold-plated items. Only use a soft cloth for buffing and removing oils and dirt from gold-plated jewelry.

Warm, not hot, water in a dish is your best bet. If you use hot water, it can also damage your gold plating.

Add a few drops of baby shampoo or liquid dish detergent soap and dab a soft lint-free cloth into the solution to gently clean the surface of your gold rings. Rinse the soap off and dry them with a clean cloth. Let them sit in an area out of direct sunlight and air dry the rest of the way.

You can reduce the need to clean your gold-plated jewelry by removing it before doing any strenuous activity such as exercising, swimming, cleaning, or gardening. You should also avoid using cleaning products while wearing gold-plated jewelry as they can be corrosive to the gold plating and cause discoloring.

Chemicals, dirt, body sweat, and cosmetic products can also wear down the protective gold plating. Use lotions and sprays sparingly and do not spray or apply them directly to the surface of gold-plated pieces to protect their sheen longer.

When taking off gold rings after wearing them, you should wipe excess dirt and oils from them with a soft cloth before storing them. This will also cut down on the amount of cleaning you will have to do later on.

How to Clean Gold Rings

For cleaning plain solid gold rings, use mild baby shampoo or dish soap in a bowl of lukewarm water. Place your gold rings into the cleaning solution. Leave them to soak in it for around 20-30 minutes.

After they are finished soaking, you can use a soft cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently buff the residue and dirt from off of your jewelry. Then, rinse the soapy solution off of your gold rings with plain water.

Once you have cleaned your gold rings, gently dry off your jewelry with a clean and dry lint-free cloth. It is important to leave the pieces out to allow your gold rings to completely air dry before you put them back on. This will ensure that even hard-to-reach places will dry well enough.

You can also opt to use an ammonia cleaning solution for your plain gold rings. Soak your gold rings in a solution made from 6 parts water and 1 part ammonia cleaner for about a minute in a solution. Then rinse the gold rings off well with clean water and dry them off with a soft cloth.

This is a faster method for how to clean gold rings quickly and restoring their golden sheen. It should be noted, however, that you should not use this method too often as it may cause your jewelry to discolor.

Regular and gentle cleaning can keep your gold rings looking good longer. 

How to Clean Gold Rings With Stones

For gold rings with gemstones, it is much the same process for how to clean gold rings with gold plating and solid gold rings. 

A bowl of lukewarm water with a little dish soap or mild baby shampoo is still preferred. But when it comes to gemstones on gold rings, you do not want to soak the gold rings. Some stones are more delicate or porous and being soaked in water will damage them.

Instead, you should dip a soft cloth into the baby shampoo or dish soap solution and clean the stones and metal of your gold rings. Do not rub the stones too hard or you could scratch or damage them. Gently buff the surface to remove the impurities. 

Once you have applied the dish soap or baby shampoo mixture to clean your gold rings and the stones, take a fresh and clean soft cloth dipped only in water and use it to remove the soap residue from your gold rings and their stones.

After the soap has been removed, wipe them with a dry cloth. Leave your gold rings out to fully air dry the rest of the way naturally before storing them or putting them back on. 

How to Store Your Gold Rings

How you store gold rings is just as important as how to clean gold rings. Improper storage of gold rings can lead to damage and wear over time. 

Keep your gold jewelry separate from other pieces in individual pouches or sections of a jewelry box. Gold jewelry stored too closely together will rub against one another and scratch the soft surfaces.

Any gold rings with gemstones should also be covered or stored separately to keep the stones from scratching against other metals as well. 

You must also keep gold rings in a cool and dry area free from humidity. Do not place gold jewelry in areas of direct sunlight which can fade or warp your gold jewelry items. 

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