How to Care for Gold Jewelry

Are your trinkets tarnished? With this easy primer, you can make sure all that’s gold glitters once more.

  • N. Jamiyla Chisholm

How to Clean

Jewelry experts swear that this homemade concoction works as well as chemical cleaners do: In a large bowl, mix 2 parts dish soap and 10 parts warm water. Soak jewelry for 3 hours, then gently scrub with a soft, clean toothbrush. (This method is also safe for any pieces with diamonds.) Rinse in hot water. Dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth, then polish with a jewelry cloth (available at most jewelry stores). Repeat as often as needed. And rejoice, squeaky-clean types: You can’t overclean gold. See our video for a demonstration of how to clean gold jewelry.

How to Maintain

Ideally you should take gold pieces to a jeweler annually to have them checked for loose parts. And while you’re there, get them steamed and buffed until they’re super shiny.

How to Store

Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you take off at night. That way, your necklace won’t get spritzed with perfume and your earrings won’t get caught in your clothes. To prevent scratches and tangles, separate pieces on velvet-lined trays, in boxes with compartments, or in small zippered plastic bags.

3 Common Problems, Solved

  • A knotted chain: First, undo the clasp. Next, dab olive oil on the knot and lay the chain on a flat surface. Using two pins, set to work untangling the knot. Then clean the chain using the method above.
  • A broken chain: Take it to a professional, who will solder the pieces together and add more gold as necessary. The price depends on the complexity. Simple solderings start at $20.
  • Scratches: Cleaning and polishing with a jewelry cloth will minimize the appearance of scratches. To remove a deep mark, seek out a pro. Prices start at about $35.