14 karat gold jewelry is among one’s most prized possessions. Which is why, all owners should know how to properly take care of their valuables. Here’s how to maintain and clean your 14 karat gold.
What is 14 Karat Gold?
To start us off it’s worth explaining what exactly 14 Karat Gold is and what the differences are between karatages. 24-Karat gold is pure gold that is not mixed with any metals. The result is an extremely soft gold with a very high luster and shine. While beautiful, it is largely impractical to make jewelry from 24-karat gold, which is why you’ll frequently see 18 and 14 karat gold in jewelry, which mix in more alloys for durability. 14-karat gold is often the favorite for jewelers, due to its affordability, high durability, and still-beautiful shimmer. It is composed of roughly 58% gold, and 42% alloys like nickel, copper, silver, and zinc. At Jewelmak we always recommend 14k since it's the ideal balance of luxury and durability.
You may also see items like vermeil and gold plated, which is usually 14 or 18 karat gold over sterling silver or other metals. These are not the same as solid 14 karat gold, and generally tarnish and wear much faster.
Best Ways to Clean and Maintain Your 14 Karat Gold
I’ll say before diving into these tips, that 14k solid gold can survive many years of everyday wear, but better safe than sorry! The best example I can offer is my own 14k necklace that I’ve worn daily for over 12 years, including oceans, pools, showers, exercise. You name it! (We used a polishing cloth before taking these photos for this article).
Avoid Contact With Soaps and Detergents
Soaps and detergents can be corrosive and damaging to 14 karat gold. They contain chemicals, which can erode the metals in the alloys mixed in with gold.
Also, you should avoid contact with chlorine. This means taking off your jewelry when you’re going swimming. This is exponentially more harmful to gold plated jewelry, but can still reduce the longevity of your 14k gold piece. Household cleaners and washing powders are all abrasives to gold surfaces. If you insist on doing the dishes while wearing your jewelry, we recommend wearing rubber gloves.
The key is to avoid contact with your jewelry surface. This means that you should also remove all jewelry while showering or bathing so that your gold doesn’t wear off or tarnish.
Soak and Clean with a Soft Brush
While regular water isn’t the best cleaner for 14 karat gold jewelry, it’s great for day to day cleaning. You can soak your jewelry in water for 3 hours and scrub them gently with a soft brush. This rinsing technique can help keep your jewelry looking fresh.
Also, make sure that you’re working with clean, distilled water. Hard water or contaminated water can tarnish 14 karat gold jewelry over time. This is a very important point when it comes to maintaining and cleaning your 14 karat gold.
Use a Polishing Cloth
Polishing or rubbing cloths are great for cleaning 14 karat gold. Soft and regular cleaning can keep the gold from tarnishing as well as getting dirty. A polishing cloth is much better than a paper towel or tissue since they can actually scratch jewelry. With a polishing cloth, you get a softer surface and a less abrasive cleaner to work with. We include a polishing cloth with every order here at Jewelmak Shop, but you can always find more online or at your nearby retail store.
Rubbing Alcohol is Your Gold’s Best Friend
Rubbing alcohol is a dry cleaning liquid which can help remove stains from your 14 karat gold jewelry. It evaporates almost instantly so it won’t stain the gold either.
Note: Stay away from bleach. Like detergents and soaps, these are detrimental to 14 karat gold.
Why is 14 Karat Gold Better than Gold Plated Jewelry?
While you may know the differences between solid gold and gold plated, you may not know exactly why 14k is better.
14 karat gold is better than gold plated jewelry for a few main reasons:
- 14 karat gold contains more gold mass while gold plated jewelry only contains a covering which can come off easily.
- 14 karat gold survives longer wear and tear. This means chipping, scratching, and tarnishing is
- The thickness of 14 karat gold prevents tarnishing.
Here is a graphic to help show the differences:
With these techniques and proactivity, you can maintain the sheen and freshness of your 14 karat gold jewelry for a long time. Regular cleaning and a little personal care can do wonders for your entire 14 karat gold jewelry set. So, make sure that you follow the tips mentioned in the article and keep your 14 karat gold shine alive.