Non-tarnish or tarnish-resistant jewelry are pieces designed to preserve their shine and luster over time, withstanding the natural process of tarnishing.
Jewelry tarnishes primarily due to a natural process called oxidation, which dulls the luster of metallic surfaces.
When metals in jewelry come into contact with elements in the air, such as oxygen and moisture, a chemical reaction occurs, leading to the formation of oxides on the metal's surface.
This oxidation process results in discoloration and the loss of shine.
Through careful material selection, protective coatings, and specific alloy compositions.
Most non-tarnish or tarnish-resistant jewelry’s effectiveness lies in the ability to form a barrier against tarnish-inducing elements.
Non-tarnish jewelry is sometimes coated with protective layers, such as rhodium or lacquer, acting as a barrier between the metal and external factors.
They are also often crafted from materials known for their resistance to oxidation and environmental elements like stainless steel, titanium, and more.
Some jewelry manufacturers may even use specific alloy compositions that naturally resist tarnishing.
Arguably the best example of this is eco-brass, which in addition to being environmentally-friendly, doesn't oxidize easily.
The Millie Gold Ring, made with eco-brass
To remove tarnish from your jewelry with a cleaning solution, you can start by mixing a small amount of mild soap with warm water.
Then, simply dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently rub the tarnished areas.
According to Wirecutter by The New York Times, “For lightly tarnished pieces, you may find this is all you need to do (which is preferable since it’s less abrasive than using polishes).”
Additionally, jewelry polishing cloths are perfect for ongoing maintenance, as these cloths are designed to polish and restore shine without the need for additional solutions.
Here's how to use the Penny Pairs polishing cloth to clean your pieces:
Store your favorite pieces in airtight containers to shield them from air or moisture, and steer clear of sprays, lotions, and harsh chemicals, as they can speed up the tarnishing process.
When it's cleaning time, opt for gentle methods like mild soap and water, and consider using a specialized polishing cloth for that extra shine.
And, believe it or not, wearing your jewelry often can help maintain its natural luster, thanks to the protective oils from your skin.
Finally, avoid overdoing it with harsh cleaning methods or excessive protective measures.
As this Monica Vinader guide warns, “Some methods can actually cause more damage to the jewelry than the tarnish did in the first place."
Check out stainless steel – it's corrosion-resistant, making it perfect for everyday wear.
The Morgan Gold Necklace, featuring a stainless steel base
Titanium is another winner; it's naturally resistant to tarnishing and lightweight.
The Gabbie Huggies, made with titanium steel
Sterling silver or 925 silver is a classic choice – it's resistant to tarnishing with proper care.
The Venus Hoops in sterling silver
You also can't go wrong with eco-brass, which is hypoallergenic and doesn't rust or corrode easily.
The Prosecco Huggies, made with eco-brass
And if you're into gold, consider gold vermeil – a thick gold layer over sterling silver gives you the luxe look without the worry of tarnishing.
The Trina Studs, designed with 18K gold vermeil
It can help to ask these questions:
Is it made with silver? Silver is more tarnish-resistant than some materials, like copper. However, it oxidizes quickly when exposed to moisture, even moisture in the air.
Does it have a thick layer of gold? How many microns thick? Penny Pairs gold-plated jewelry, for example, has a gold layer 10x thicker than what you usually find out there, between 1 to 2.5 microns.
What's the base material? You can prioritize choosing pieces with a base of steel or eco-brass, since these don't corrode easily.
And there you have it!
For jewelry that won't lose its shine, remember these 3 tips: store your pieces away from air or moisture, keep in mind that materials (both inner and outer!) matter most, and consider Penny Pairs jewelry, which comes with a 180-day guarantee and free shipping at no minimum spend.