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The Honest 411 on 14k Gold-Filled Jewelry Quality & Care

Written by GLDN Team — June 10, 2020

The Honest 411 on 14k Gold-Filled Jewelry Quality & Care

It’s simple... We're confident that we offer the absolute top quality 14k gold-filled jewelry available.  We also know that gold-filled is second only to solid gold in terms of quality.  So when it comes to the durability of our product, it stands to reason that it's your best affordable option for gold jewelry.  We're therefore not afraid to be totally honest about its longevity and performance…

Other people might tell you "gold-filled will never tarnish, and it lasts forever," and while that’s certainly feasible in theory, in reality it's rather optimistic. Our 14k gold-filled jewelry can absolutely last you a lifetime (after all, we only use the best quality 14k GF)...but can and will are different things. The fact is, there are a variety of things that can affect your jewelry—and who you are and your lifestyle have a massive effect on the longevity of 14k gold-filled pieces.

Our goal is to offer advice base don the realities of daily life rather than on the theory that gold-filled will last a lifetime (as you live the life of a boring princess).  We feel this is a far more practical approach.  

How long 14K GOLD-FILLED lasts comes down to three things: 

1.  What touches it: what chemicals end up on the jewelry from wearing it
2.  What stays on it for longer periods of time (or gets taken off with cleaning)
3.  How you store it: more airflow = more chance for oxidization


Read on as we delve into these 3 factors and share reliable knowledge and care tips to help your gold-filled jewelry last as long as possible.  If you're a master caretaker with ideal body chemistry (or a boring princess), it might even last you a lifetime.

Caring for 14k gold-filled jewelry, PART 1:

Know what causes tarnish:

14k gold-filled can last beautifully for many years.  But we’ve found that the wrong chemicals, when left on the surface of your pieces, can cause the gold to darken more quickly than it should.  There are chemicals in a lot of things (even you!), and it’s important to be aware of the factors that could potentially cause tarnishing. We’ve included a list below of some of the worst and most common factors that cause tarnish.  You’ll notice an XXXXX rating beside each—the more bold Xs, the harder it is on your jewelry—XXXXX is the worst!

Pools & Hot Tubs:

Just don’t do it with jewelry’s like a nasty chemical bath that will most likely party (in a bad way) with your gold. The chemicals used to kill bacteria in pools create a harsh environment for jewelry, and they’re even more concentrated in hot tubs.  

Tarnish Rating:  XXXXX


Body Chemistry:

The dreaded “body chemistry” is a bit of a wild card.  The simple fact that people’s hormones are different and a variety of things may come out of their pores makes this a difficult factor to nail down.  But it’s a real thing that can cause gold to tarnish more quickly for some people.

Unfortunately, unless you have experience with 14k gold and know how it works with your skin, the only way to know is to try it.  For 90% of people, it’s a love match.  For the other 10%, pieces might not be quite as sparkly after a few months.  

Tarnish Rating: XXXXX to XXXXX…it’s very individual.


Getting Sweaty:

There are a lot of chemicals in your sweat, and depending on your personal body chemistry (or medications you may be taking), it could be hard on your pieces, so it’s best to take jewelry off to work out. 

Tarnish Rating: XXXXX to XXXXX…depending on body chemistry.



Perfume, hairspray, lotions...and worst of all, sunscreen!  Try to minimize these kinds of things ending up on your jewelry by putting your jewelry on last or taking it off for certain activities.  Here are a list of some common products and their tarnish ratings:

Sunscreen: XXXXX
Perfume: XXXXX
Unscented Lotion: XXXXX
Perfumed Lotion: XXXXX
Cleaning Products with Bleach: XXXXX
Mild Dish Soap (if rinsed off): XXXXX
Nail Polish Remover: XXXXX
Hairspray: XXXXX


Personal Experience:

I have been wearing some of my 14k gold-filled necklaces for over two years now and they're still gold and lovely. A few chains aren't as sparkly as when they were new, but it's not as noticeable against my skin (vs on white paper, for example).  

Truthfully, I’m not the best at taking care of things like this, although I'm pretty good at taking my pieces off to sleep (most of the time) and am careful to not get product on them like perfume, sunscreen and hairspray.  I do shower with them on because I think it helps clean them, but I know my shampoo and soaps are mild enough (so be careful about that detail)!  

Overall, to give an idea of how well the necklaces have lasted after a year (with reasonable care), I'd say they're at about 80% awesomeness vs. 100% when they were new.  

Notes: I wore one of my bar necklaces for a week straight in Maui without taking it off to swim, and it looks bad now.  I'm sure sunscreen ended up on it as well.  The chain is pretty dark (although the bar part still looks nice).  I think this kind of environment has got to be the hardest—humid & sweaty, sunscreen, salt water—the only thing worse would be if I wore it in the hot tub!

Caring for 14k gold-filled jewelry, PART 2:

Day-to-Day Maintenence

After each wear, gently remove makeup and oils from your skin by wiping with a soft cloth, like a flannel or lens cloth.  If you know you've been sweaty that day or the piece might have product on it (especially sunscreen!), it would be great to give it a quick rinse in lukewarm water and dry it with a soft cloth.  Also, taking your jewelry off to sleep will do a great deal to help it last longer.


Deep Cleaning

If you know your piece got caked in sunscreen, sweat or some other product, it's best to give it a nice, deep clean, asap.  

• Get a bowl of warm water with a touch of gentle soap (I use Dove) or mild dish soap.
• Let the piece soak for about a minute.  
• Give it a scrub with an ultrasoft toothbrush, making sure to really get into the chain where the dirt and product like to build up.  
• Rinse it in lukewarm water a few times to make sure all the soap is off.  
• Dry it well afterward, and especially make sure it's nice and dry before storing it.

Caring for 14k gold-filled jewelry, PART 3:

Store It Right

The number one best way to store your gold-filled jewelry so it lasts is in something airtight.  (Less airflow = less chance for any chemical reactions that cause tarnish!)  

  • Store it clean, after your day-to-day maintenance (see above).

  • Ideally, a little ziplock bag works best—they're compact, and we know they don't contain any chemicals that cause tarnish.

  • Store in a low humidity environment.

Reduce Tangles:

If you want to reduce the chance of knots/tangling, here are some things to note:

  • Use a small container (less room for the piece to move around = less chance to tangle).

  • Make sure clasp is closed (I’m sure there’s some fancy reason but this is a huge factor, so just do it). :)

Verdict: Seriously, just go with a little ziplock baggie!  The only significant downfall we can see is they aren't very protective for some pieces that might need it, such as when you're traveling—in which case we'd suggest putting the little ziplock in a small, hard container.  Although they might not be fancy or look as pretty as some other storage solutions, they have a ton of (more important) things going for them:

• Simple, inexpensive and easy to get
• Easy to store or travel with: can't find anything more compact than this!
• Airtight and non-tarnishing
• You can get them nice and small so your piece won't have room to tangle.

We hope this was helpful!  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have!  For more information, you may find one of these other posts helpful:  "What is 14k Gold Fill" or "Gold-Filled vs. Gold-Plated Jewelry." 


Saualofa Simram_

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