A great compromise is gold-plated brass. It has the same lustre as solid gold but is far less expensive. Gold plated brass tarnish is a popular choice for many who want to get the stylish, elegant, high-end look of gold at a cheaper cost.
Almost no one can identify the difference just by looking, so your little secret is secure — at least for now.
If this describes you, you most likely have a lot of questions about your newly discovered treasure.
Is it possible for gold-plated brass to tarnish? Yes, gold-plated brass tarnishes over time and must be replated with gold to regain its original appearance.
You may extend the life of the plating by carefully storing and caring for it, keeping it clean, and selecting higher-quality parts in the first place.
This site is dedicated to answering any and all questions about gold-plated brass, particularly whether it will tarnish. To properly grasp what to expect with this form of jewellery, you must first understand the procedure, which we will also go through.
Let’s get started immediately by looking at why and how gold plating is done.
What Is Gold-Plated Brass?
What exactly is gold-plated brass jewellery? Gold plated brass tarnish jewellery is an ornament made of brass that has a real gold outer layer or coating. It appears to be solid gold, but it is actually brass dressed up in a lovely coat, making it far less expensive.
Brass is a copper and zinc alloy. It has some worth, but not as much as gold or silver. It is typically prized for its antique appearance, and while there are some fine enough jewellery items made of brass, it is not a popular metal of choice for high fashion.
Because brass contains copper, it tarnishes and can even tint the skin green. It creates a green patina after oxidation, which turns off many jewellery aficionados.
Regardless, the cost of solid gold is exorbitant and beyond reach for the typical woman or man. Brass and gold are nearly at the opposite extremities of the price spectrum.
So, how do you shine without emptying your bank account? One excellent approach is to wear gold-plated brass jewellery, which appears to be the ideal solution to the problem. The plating of brass in gold improves its aesthetic appeal while keeping the price low.
How Gold-Plated Brass Is Made
The piece of brass jewellery is first cleaned before it is gold-plated. To achieve maximum fusion with the gold, the brass must be cleaned of oils and debris. After that, it is negatively charged by hanging from a cathode bar.
The brass item is then immersed in a molten gold solution with an additional electric charge applied to the bath. The positively charged gold ions are drawn to the negatively charged brass component and coat it with the precious metal.
The thickness of the gold layer varies depending on how long the brass sits in the tank. This gold plating brass procedure is also known as electroplating.
It should be noted that the gold plating technique does not turn the brass into a gold filling. Gold filling is not the same as gold plating.
Gold Plating Vs Gold Filling
In gold filling, two metals, one of which is gold, are fused into one alloy by being pressed. The resulting metal is rich in gold. It has all of the qualities of gold and will never tarnish or fade.
The item of jewellery is still brass after gold plating, but it is brass that has been plated in a thin layer of gold. Nonetheless, gold accounts for less than 1% of total metal composition and diminishes over time.
Do jewellery collectors mind? No, not at all. At least, not all of them. Gold-plated brass is still very popular among the general people.
It is still difficult to detect the difference between gold-plated brass and genuine gold with the naked eye — except perhaps in terms of price. Fortunately, no one wears the price tag on their jewellery.
Will Gold Plated Brass Tarnish?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Gold-plated brass will tarnish and require replating over time.
The layer of gold, which is generally quite thin and delicate, becomes tainted with brass molecules. Because of the super thinness of the gold, the brass beneath slowly leeches into it.
Because the copper component of brass oxidises and tarnishes, the gold plating will follow suit due to the existence of brass molecules that begin to leech into it.
Furthermore, as the top gold coat chips, flakes, scratches, and comes into constant contact with the skin and other materials, it will rapidly deteriorate. Exposing the brass beneath causes it to tarnish faster.
Tarnishing, on the other hand, is a slow process that does not happen overnight. If the brass is combined with other metals to increase its corrosion resistance before being plated in gold, the plating will remain practically indefinitely.
What Is The Best Way To Keep Gold-Plated Brass Jewellery From Tarnishing?
The most common method jewellers use to prevent gold-plated brass jewellery from tarnishing is to prevent brass from leeching into the gold.
1. Coat the brass in nickel first.
By first coating the brass in nickel, which creates a protective anti-corrosion barrier, and then plating the pieces in gold. The nickel coating prevents brass molecules from moving to the gold.
With the recent outrage over nickel’s safety risks, several jewellers are opting for white bronze or palladium instead.
2. Take proper care of gold-plated brass jewellery.
To a significant extent, proper use, maintenance, and storage of your jewellery also help to protect it from tarnishing. It’s a good idea, for example, to avoid exposing your jewellery to excessive amounts of water, oils, and make-up.
As a general rule, your Gold plated brass tarnish jewellery should be the final thing you put on. We recommend applying it after your moisturiser has been completely absorbed, spritzing your hair, spritzing some perfume, and applying your make-up.
When performing cleaning tasks such as laundry or food preparation, it is important to remove any Gold plated brass tarnish jewellery from the hands.
Keeping the jewellery clean and dry in an airtight container, such as a zip-locked bag, also helps a lot. The removal of air reduces the possibility of oxidation.
Furthermore, storing each jewellery piece in its own compartment in a jewellery box avoids surfaces from brushing against one another and potentially scratching.
3. Add a protective coating.
Some do-it-yourselfers swear by a thin coat of transparent nail paint. Others will apply a clear coat to the gold top.
We haven’t tried one of them, but you could try it on less valuable goods. However, keep in mind that whatever you add may change the texture and appearance of your piece.
4. Re-plate it.
If you collect gold-plated brass jewellery, you may buy an at-home re-plating kit and not worry about it tarnishing. As a result, you may give your favourite pieces a fresh coat of gold as soon as they begin to tarnish, allowing you to wear them for longer.
Does Gold Plated Brass Turn Skin Green?
Yes, gold-plated metal will eventually colour your skin green.
Gold-plated brass will not first colour the skin green. Not while it is still in its infancy. The golden top that protects the brass functions as a barrier.
Gold is a non-reactive metal. It does not create an oxide when it reacts with oxygen. In addition, unlike brass, gold does not include any copper molecules as components. As a result, it cannot develop a patina.
However, when the brass eats into the gold and the copper in it tarnishes, the dreaded patina forms. As the gold plate wears away, more and more brass is exposed to the skin and oxygen.
Brass contains copper, which oxidises to generate a greenish-bluish oxide that colours the skin.
Natural oxidation occurs, forming the patina that leaves a green colour on the skin. The tint is usually safe, but unpleasant, and possibly revealing what your ostensibly “gold” jewellery actually is can be a bummer as well.
How Long Does Gold Plated Brass Last?
If all other circumstances remain consistent, gold-plated brass jewellery can last for at least a year before beginning to degrade.
The thickness and purity of the plating (as well as the general craftsmanship), how well you maintain your jewellery, and the type of jewellery all influence how long your gold plated over brass lasts (as this affects how well you can maintain it
Thickness And Purity Of The Plating
If you can find 18k Gold plated brass tarnish, it is a step down from gold filling and can last up to three years. As a result, you’ll have plenty of time to show off your statement jewellery before anything bad happens.
The gold coating’s thickness could range between 0.5 and 2.5 microns. Obviously, the thinnest layer will fade faster than the thickest layer.
However, be wary of gold washed brass masquerading as Gold plated brass tarnish. A gold washed brass has a gold coating that is thinner than 0.1 microns and will only endure for two or three uses.
Maintenance, Wear and Tear
The frequency with which you wear your gold plated over brass jewellery also has an impact on its longevity. We understand that the desire to show off your best collection is strong, but it may be preferable to save these for special occasions.
Every time you put on your ornamental pieces, you expose them to friction, chemical substances, dampness, and scuffs. Pieces that are worn frequently will wear out faster than those that are only worn infrequently.
Similarly, earrings or a brooch will most likely outlast a ring or a bracelet. The skin and other surfaces are constantly rubbed by hand jewellery.
In a word, we recommend handling your Gold plated brass tarnish jewellery with the same care that you would any delicate and costly item. This maintains it appearing shiny for a longer period of time.
Also Read: DOES STAINLESS STEEL TARNISH?