Cleaning plated jewellery

Plated jewellery can fall under several catergories.

  • Silver plated
  • Soft gold plated (yellow or rose)
  • Hard gold plated
  • Nickle plated
  • Rhodium plated
  • Electro-formed jewellery

There is little danger in washing plated jewellery.

Plated jewellery can usually be safely washed either in an ultrasonic cleaner or by hand washing. Use a mild jewellery cleaner, like LilyJewels SparkleClean. Do not leave in the ultrasonic for more that a five minutes.

Rinse thoroughly after washing and dry the jewellery, before storing in a zip-lock plastic bag.

Washing plated jewellery regularly is a good practice.

DO NOT use silver dip or similar.

Polishing plated jewellery

Extreme caution should be practised in polishing plated jewellery.

With the exception (generally) of rhodium plating, most jewellery is plated to make a less expensive metal appear to be a more expensive one. This means below the thin layer of plating is a metal you probably do not want expose.

The metal below can be sterling silver, brass, nickle silver, copper or other materials including plastics. If you are in any doubt about what the base metal is, DO NOT POLISH the piece.

A Yellow Sunshine Polishing Cloth will probably remove a plated finish. This will be particularly true for silver and soft gold (yellow & rose) plating. The same cloth will sometimes be able to remove the yellow layer of hard gold plated jewellery. Generally speaking the Yellow cloth won’t be able to remove nickle or rhodium plating.

I advise using a soft untreated polishing cloth on plated jewellery, though even these will remove the plating off some pieces of jewellery. Try polishing a less obvious area of the jewellery first.

A special note on electro-formed jewellery.

Electro-formed jewellery is not very common. The process involves coating an item, say a flower, with a conductive paint and then plating different metals (copper, then nickle) in layers before finally plating the piece with gold, silver or rhodium. This jewellery should never be heated, put in an ultrasonic or polished.

If in doubt have a professional jeweller clean your plated jewellery.