Tarnish-Free Gold Jewelry: 101 Guide


Gold jewelry often tarnishes because of a natural process called “oxidation.” This happens when jewelry metals come in contact with elements in the air, like oxygen and water. The reaction results in the creation of oxides on the metal’s surface, making the jewelry discolored.

Anti-tarnishing Gold Jewelry

Generally, tarnishing causes beautiful jewelry pieces to lose their shine and luster, meaning that you won’t be able to wear them for as long as you wanted.

To avoid this, we’ve prepared this guide to enlighten you on everything you need to know about tarnish-free gold jewelry.

Common Gold Jewelry Types

Explained below are the most popular types of gold jewelry on the market:

  • Gold Plated Jewelry: It’s made from bonding a thin layer of gold onto a base metal (copper, brass, or nickel). It’s a low-quality gold jewelry that tarnishes quickly, as the applied gold layer is usually not more than 0.5 microns.
  • Gold Vermeil Jewelry: This is an upgraded version of gold plated jewelry, with thicker gold layer and better durability. For gold vermeil jewelry, sterling silver is used as the base metal and a minimum of 2.5 microns of gold is applied onto it.
  • Gold-Filled Jewelry: This involves mechanically bonding a very thick layer of gold to the base metal (copper, brass, or nickel). The bonded gold layer must be at least 5% of the jewelry’s total weight.
  • Solid Gold Jewelry: Also known as 24K gold, this type of jewelry is made of pure gold. However, pure gold is too soft and might not be able to hold its shape over time. Hence, they are alloyed with a small percentage of stronger metals, like copper for improved hardness.

What Does Tarnish-Free Gold Jewelry Mean?

Tarnish-free gold jewelry is defined with specific properties, such as anti-scratch, waterproof, sweat resistance, sunscreen resistance, and skincare resistance.

Layered Tarnish-free Gold Rings

They are further explained below:


Tarnish-free gold jewelry is designed with a protective layer that improves its strength and makes it highly-resistant to scratches. The anti-scratch characteristic prevents abrasions that may result in the dullness of your fine pieces.


Tarnish-free gold jewelry supports safe use in every condition, including wet environments. It won’t fade or lose its shine when exposed to water like during bathing, swimming, rainy climate, etc.

Sweat Resistance:

Sweat are wastes from the body that contains chemicals like salt and acids, which are dangerous to jewelry metals. Tarnish-free gold jewelry is treated with protective layers, ensuring it doesn’t corrode even when you wear it for intense workouts or in hot environments.

Sunscreen Resistance:

Usually sunscreens are made with strong chemicals that repel the impact of sun on your skin. These chemicals also react with any metallic object you wear, including gold jewelry. But tarnish-free gold jewelry is manufactured to resist these chemicals, making it suitable for outdoor activities.

Skincare Resistance:

Many skincare products, like lotions, perfumes, and soaps, are produced with ingredients that are harsh and capable of degrading your jewelry. However, tarnish-free gold jewelry is specially made with these effects in consideration, allowing you to wear your sparkling pieces without worries about discoloring.

What Type of Gold Jewelry Doesn’t Tarnish?

The two major types of gold jewelry you can depend not to tarnish no matter the situation they are exposed to, are solid gold and gold filled. They are made with a higher percentage of gold, making them less likely to react to oxygen, water, or chemicals.

  • Solid Gold: Made of gold but in different purities, such as 14K and 18K solid gold jewelry, or 24K (which is 100% gold). Ordinarily, gold is a noble metal, meaning it doesn’t tarnish like other metals that cannot survive against oxygen, moisture, and chemicals. Even when solid gold becomes dull or scratched due to carelessness, it can easily be polished to restore its shine and brilliance.
Solid Gold Necklace and Bracelet
  • Gold Filled: This is an affordable version of solid gold. It involves mechanically bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal, but offering the same durability and anti-tarnishing properties as solid gold jewelry. For certification purposes, custom gold filled jewelry is often tested to ensure the applied layer of gold is at least 5% of the jewelry’s total weight.
Gold Filled Link Chain

Is Gold Vermeil Jewelry Tarnish-Free?

Yes, but only higher grades of gold vermeil jewelry are non-tarnishing. We recommend 14K and above gold vermeil jewelry. They contain higher gold content, making them more durable and capable of withstanding everyday wear and tear.

Will Pool Water Tarnish Gold Jewelry?

Gold jewelry is designed NOT to tarnish in pool water. However, the reverse might be the case if:

  • High Chlorine Level: Pool water is often treated with chlorine to make it neat and conducive. If the pool contains high chlorine, your anti-tarnish gold jewelry will react to it, causing it to discolor over time.
  • Exposure Time: The longer your tarnish-free gold jewelry is inside chlorinated water, the lesser its durability and strength.
  • Purity Level: The more the gold content in your gold jewelry, the lesser the chances of tarnishing. Hence, why higher purity gold jewelry like 18K and above is recommended.

Will Shower Water Tarnish Gold Jewelry?

Gold jewelry is designed NOT to tarnish in the shower. But, it depends on some factors, like:

  • Water Quality: Hard water, which contains high levels of minerals with reactive ions, like calcium and magnesium, can enhance tarnishing.
  • Bathing Agents: Soap, shampoo, and other bathing agents are made of ingredients that can accelerate gold jewelry dullness. Residue from them can further make your beautiful piece lose its luster.

Key Takeaway

Tarnish-free gold jewelry is a great investment for individuals who love to experience the beauty of gold at all times without worrying about any damaging elements. There are 2 types of gold jewelry you can trust to be tarnish-free: solid gold and gold-filled. Do well to contact a sustainable jewelry manufacturer to get pieces that will remain shiny and beautiful for a lifetime.


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