Now if you’re anything like me, adding a touch of golden glitz to my outfit… a simple gold ring, a chunky hoop or a full stack of ‘drippin’in gold’ necklaces… it’s like, the olive to the martini… the bruise to my last night out dancing… the cherry on top, if you will… You get me, right? Can’t be without it.

Anyway, you can imagine the HORROR, when I’m 5 mins to leaving (and 15 mins past the time I was supposed to have left) to find my prized dainty gold disc choker necklace is well… rather dull, actually *missing* that ‘I’m full of flawlessness’ look…

“How on actual earth am I supposed to get my sauce on if my neckpiece is going to be sort of ‘wa-wa-waahh’ (you’ll have to say that out loud to understand the phonetics)”... is what I thought to myself.

You can imagine…

Anyway, I had time I thought, 5 mins, no problem, try me. I was not prepared to start making tarnished gold necklaces part of my appeal, no mam!

Take your lacklustre tarnished necklace and transform it back to its original golden glow:

Here’s what I did:

T-minus 5 mins to go: How to clean a tarnished gold-plated necklace at home in 5 mins:

1. First step: the base clean – how to shine gold plated jewellery

By far, the quickest option is to take a dry soft jewellery cloth and wipe the surface of the gold necklace. 8/10 times this will restore the shine. (If you don’t have one, try a clean sunglass cloth, or microfibre cloth you have for cleaning glass/windows).

Make sure to clean both the gold necklace chain and gold necklace pendant, it’s easy to focus on the pendant but with the chain making up the bulk of the necklace, you’ll want that to be looking flawless too!

2. Second step: for the really dirty gold-plated necklace - how to remove tarnish from gold plated jewellery

Unfortunately for me, I was the 2/10 and needed a real deep clean on this bad boy. By now I was t-minus 3 mins to heading out… ignoring the frantic buzzing in my back pocket I cupped my poor little dirty golden choker in my hands and grabbed a soft cloth.

Wet the cloth (ideally made for jewellery) with warm soapy water. (Don’t have this? I’ve used a facecloth or an equally soft flannel – it’s easier if its thinner and hand soap is fine!) 

Now, remember, this was a gold-plated sterling silver necklace – and gold plating deserves a gentle touch, you don’t want to be rubbing off any of that top golden layer, so gently rub the surface of your gold-plated jewellery or necklace with the damp cloth.

3. Third step: your gold necklace is clean!

Dry the jewellery, throw it on, quick kiss to the mirror, then run out the door. You’ve managed it.

Gold plated necklaces and rings on women

Tips to take your lacklustre tarnished necklace and transform it back to its original golden glow:

Now, hopefully, the above has worked and you’re already on your way out of the door wearing your chunky gold chain, or dainty drop choker. But if it hasn’t, or if you’ve got more than 5 minutes to spare, here are my tips for keeping your prized golden necklace glowing for longer.

Here’s how to look after your gold-plated jewellery:

What to do with your gold-plated jewellery:

  • Make sure your workstation, hands and tools are completely clean before use. It’s important that you don’t accidentally rub dirt or small stones when you’re trying to clean, scratching the gold vermeil layer on the necklace.
  • Clean your necklace ideally after every wear (but trust me, I know it’s easy to… let’s say, ‘forget’ to do this… oops!)… and trust me… I’ve been there, asking the question, ‘can you shower with gold plated jewellery?’… ‘will that clean my dainty gold necklace?’…unfortunately… that’s just a big no, no.
  • Give it a deep clean after (again, ‘forgetting’ to take it off whilst) wearing your gold jewellery during exercising and sweating, swimming in chlorinated or salt-water pools or preparing acidic foods.
  • Store separately and in a sealed bag from other jewellery to prevent scratching, tangling and tarnishing. Small zip locks are perfect.


What not to do with your gold-plated jewellery: 

  • Don’t spray perfumes, hairspray, or use lotions directly on the gold-plated necklace – this will seep into the top layer and wear down the top gold layer quicker.
  • Do not use a polishing cloth on your gold-plated jewellery as this will strip and wear down away the top gold layer! Remember, there’s a big difference between a soft cloth and a polishing cloth – the polishing cloth being more abrasive, and usually used to buff out small scratches and flaws.

woman wearing chunky gold necklace chains

Best tools you’ll have at home to clean your gold-plated necklace: 

If you’re prioritising buying the actual gold necklace, over the gold cleaner for the necklace, you’re on my level… and back in the beginning, I definitely didn’t own any professional cleaning equipment or a special magical cleaning cloth… so here’s how I ‘made do’ back then.

  • Don’t have a jewellery cloth or professional kit at home? 

Try soft microfibre, facial or sunglasses cloths, use cotton balls and cotton swabs.

  • What’s the best thing to clean my gold jewellery with at home, to make it shiny?

Gentle hand wash or dishwasher soap will work just fine. Make sure to not soak the items for too long (over 5-10 mins), especially if your dainty gold choker contains gemstones or adhesive elements, as the water can damage the glue.

Women wearing shiny gold necklaces

And there you have it, a quick guide to caring and cleaning your gold-plated jewellery – doesn’t matter if it’s for rings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces or gold earrings – this 5-minute fix will work for all of them!

And if your little item is simply just too old and worn down that cleaning won’t work, treat yourself to something new with 20% off Elk & Bloom jewellery - with the code ‘CLEAN20’!

February 08, 2023 — Elk & Bloom


ERI said:

For a deep-clean, dampen a cotton swab in a solution of water and mild soap and use it to clear away any dirt or debris. Wipe your gold plated jewelry softly using cotton balls.

Rachel said:

Great tips!

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Laura said:

Amazing blog – thankyou!

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