Sara Golden Jewelry

Jewelry Care

All Plating is Not Created Equal

In the Studio, Jewelry CareSara Golden2 Comments
Thick gold plated jewelry.JPG

Maybe I should back up just a second. What, exactly, is plating? 

You probably already know that it’s gold over another material, but I’m willing to bet that most people who sell gold-plated jewelry couldn’t tell you much more than that. Why not? Probably because there’s so little gold on there that it’s not something they even want to talk about. 

But I’m proud of how much gold-plating is on my jewelry, and I’m not afraid to talk about it!


Plating is when a layer of gold (or silver, or rhodium) is added on top of another metal. Jewelry is usually plated to cover up the original metal color, to provide a more even color, or to prevent tarnish. But because it’s a coating, it will wear away over time. How fast that happens, though, depends on how thick the plating is.


Here’s how much gold-plated jewelry makers typically use:

Gold plating thickness chart.jpg

Jewelry from mass retailers (think mega-huge stores with rock-bottom prices) usually aren’t using gold at all, but a coating meant to imitate gold. It’s so thin that it rubs off after a few wears. 

Specialty retailers (think fashion and designer brands) will use actual gold — most of the time — but not even enough to technically qualify as gold plating, according to the Federal Trade Commission. While it’s usually thicker than what you’d find on jewelry from mass retailers, it’s still pretty thin.

I want you to be able to enjoy your jewelry for a long time, so I make sure to go thick with my gold plating. I use 3-4 times as much gold as most designers, ensuring that your jewelry stays looking great longer.


Treat gold-plated jewelry like you would other jewelry — keep it away from harsh chemicals (like taking it off before going for a swim, or doing any cleaning), store it in its own pouch to prevent scratches, and if it gets wet, dry it off completely to prevent dark spots. With a little bit of care, you’ll be able to hold on to these pieces for years to come.

Taking Care of Your Sterling Silver

Jewelry CareSara GoldenComment
Cleaning Sterling Silver.jpg

Sterling silver is a classic metal, and a matte finish makes it feel well-worn and well-loved. I’ve been using it more and more lately (have you spotted it in the Starscape Collection?), and love that solid, un-plated sterling silver is pretty easy to keep clean, too. 

Looking to freshen up your silver jewelry? Try these tips:

  1. If it has a matte finish, lightly polish it with fine steel wool using circular motions. The steel wool mimics that matte finish while removing tarnish.

  2. If it has a shiny finish, use a polishing cloth (my personal favorite is this Sunshine cloth). Stones don’t like polishing cloths, though, so cover them up with your finger while you use the cloth.

  3. To get into nooks and crannies, scrub it with a soft toothbrush and warm, soapy water. Always be sure to dry it well, because any wet spots will leave splotches.

  4. Take off your jewelry before doing any household cleaning. Those chemicals can quickly tarnish the metal and harm any stones.

  5. Wear it often. The natural chemicals in your skin actually help to keep it cleaner than when it’s stowed away.

Some pieces in the shop are plated sterling silver, so be sure you know the difference before you start scrubbing!

Any questions? Shoot me an email (, I’m always happy to chat jewelry!

Caring for Your Opals

Jewelry CareSara GoldenComment

Opal, October’s birthstone, has been mesmerizing people for thousands of years with its bright flashes of rainbow colors. It’s said to be a stone of prophecy, and symbolizes hope and truth. While beautiful, they are a little sensitive and require some extra care:

They’re porous and will absorb liquids they come across. Avoid cleaning with any chemicals, but instead with room temperature water, mild dish soap, and a soft cloth or brush. Don’t let opals sit in water, and take them off before exercising or showering. 

They’re sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity (kind of like your skin), so avoid spending too much time right next to fireplaces or outside on especially cold days while wearing them. 

They’re relatively soft, too, so store them in a soft dust bag or plastic baggie so they don’t scratch against your other jewelry. 

But don’t be intimidated! Just keep in mind that they need a slightly delicate touch, and you’ll be able to enjoy your opal jewelry for even longer. Looking for an opal of your own? Try the Birthstone Star Necklace with opal.


Jewelry CareSara Golden

I can’t live without perfume, but the chemicals in it can cause jewelry to tarnish faster than usual. Disaster! Here are some tips to prevent that from happening:


Put on your jewelry on after you’ve put on perfume, once it’s had a chance to dry. That’s especially true for anything with pearls — they’re especially sensitive and eagerly absorb any chemicals they rub up against.


If you wear necklaces a lot, you might want to avoid perfume at the base of your neck where they’ll come into contact. Instead, spray a brush with perfume before combing. Don’t apply perfume directly to your hair, it tends to dry hair out.


Instead of applying perfume to your wrists where bracelets and watches are, try applying it to the inside of your elbow. Because it’s a pulse point just like your wrists, your body naturally amplifies the scent of perfume there.

Go forth and smell amazing.