Nothing disappoints like a tarnished jewelry worn over just a few weeks. While the accessories are not shouting, they add a touch that completes your overall look. Luckily, not all jewelry materials tarnish and you can find great pieces that will last decades and possibly turn into family heirlooms. You want jewelry that is high-quality, easy to love and has minimal maintenance costs. What all this means is that your gold wedding band is better than platinum and will stay for months without ageing or looking dull. So, let’s take a look at some of the best metals for jewelry that don’t tarnish.
What Is Tarnishing?
Tarnishing is a result of gases in the air reacting with metal and making the metal turn brown or black. It can be removed as it only forms on the topmost layer of the metal and does not eat the rest of the metal.
However, do not confuse tarnish with rust. Rust is a process that eats away the metal and can even finish the entire metal. Tarnish can be removed by special chemicals such as polishing cream.
Things To Consider When Choosing Jewelry Metals That Don’t Tarnish
When looking to buy jewelry metals that don’t tarnish, it is important to know which factors are more important than the other. For instance, cheap metal can be of great use if it fits your budget while maintaining its durability. Here are a few factors you need to look out for in choosing jewelry metals that don’t tarnish.
Cost Vs Value
It is essential to know that the eraser the metal, the more expensive it will be. Precious metals are valuable because the process of mining them is tedious and costs fortunes. Also, the value of metal will entirely depend on you. Platinum is an expensive metal but has its own intrinsic value that many people fail to recognize.
Knowing the current demand for the metal you’re looking for will help you determine its price. Some metals are only as expensive as the market demand, so be careful not to lure yourself in buying something that may lose value in the next couple of days.
Sensitivity To Skin
When looking for anti-tarnish metals, it is important that you choose those that are safe for your skin. This is especially important for people with sensitive skin. Best jewelry metals for such skin are usually in their purest form.
Another way to check if a metal is hypoallergenic is to look for the “nickel-free” description. The name nickel-free is mostly used interchangeably with hypoallergenic but the ultimate way to know if a metal is good for your skin is to use the below types.
No one wants to choose a metal that does not tarnish, yet it will only last a couple of months before ageing. The most important factor in such metals is how long they will last. For instance, pure gold is 24K and is considered an anti-tarnish metal.
However, the metal is very soft in its purest form and can’t last for long. So, if you wanted something durable, you’d have to go for another alternative like brass. It is common for people to take 14k gold as a solid choice in getting wedding bands.
Care And Maintenance
How much maintenance does your jewelry need? Does it require extra items for care? Will you be visiting a professional jeweler for cleaning? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when considering jewelry metals that don’t tarnish.
White gold is stunning and needs less maintenance than sterling silver, which almost looks the same as the metal. Also, palladium and platinum are quite shiny and don’t need any form of polishing.
Jewelry Metals That Don’t Tarnish
It is important to consider the tarnish risk of any jewelry that you plan to wear most of the time. You don’t want something that won’t last for a while and end up spending more on maintenance. For instance, while silver is a precious metal, it tarnishes and needs regular polishing to keep its lustre.
Here are the best jewelry metals that don’t tarnish.
Stainless steel is a well-known metal that is used in jewelry crafts, kitchenware, and other industrial uses. The word “stainless” used in this metal means that it is able to resist any form of staining or tarnish.
Stainless steel is highly available, affordable, and maintains its shine and lustre forever. However, the metal is not valuable, so if you’re looking for something prestigious, this might not be your cup of tea. While most people think that stainless steel is a pure metal, it is actually an alloy of chromium and steel. The distribution is in the ratio of 90/10. Stainless steel is popular because it maintains a silvery-look and has a mirror-like finish.
For jewelry purposes, the best type of stainless steel is 316 stainless steel or surgical steel. It is hypoallergenic and shinier than other grades of steel. Hallmark signs for stainless stell include “SSL” and “SSTL.”
Platinum is one of the hardest metals to find on earth and also the most valuable piece. It is a popular choice in making wedding bands, due to its rarity and excellent lustre. Platinum is a chemically non-reactive metal so air or moisture doesn’t affect it negatively.
It is an expensive metal and susceptible to developing patina after l.ong periods of time. Patina is not tarnish, but rather forms after heavy use due to dents and scratches. It gives the metal an aged look and possibly can be removed by polishing the jewelry.
Despite the patina issues, platinum is very sturdy metal, hence its use in making wedding bands to symbolise a forever bond between two partners.
Gold definitely has to be on this list! Not only is it one of the best metals in jewelry-making, it is also good-looking and, of course, doesn’t tarnish. Gold does not have any iron in its aggregate and so does not corrode in any way.
Gold is also a point of criticism in terms of tarnish. That’s because pure gold is the only non-tarnishing form of gold and is not so much used in making jewelry. 24K gold is the purest form and is soft, so it is not durable. However, if you choose gold that’s mixed with other metals like cobalt or nickel, then you can expect to have tarnished over some time.
So, we are only considering the 24K gold as a jewelry metal that doesn’t tarnish. Though the 24k gold wouldn’t be a solid choice for wedding bands, it is a durable metal in terms of tarnish.
Yet another piece that is durable and quite strong is titanium. Due to its resemblance to platinum, it is often used as a cheaper alternative and makes it a great pick for budget-conscious shoppers.
It is a nice selection for those planning to use jewelry every day. Titanium rarely tarnishes and makes a great piece for someone with an active lifestyle. Titanium is very light thus comfortable to wear over long periods of time.
On the flip, titanium is so hard it cannot be engraved. So it is a perfect piece for those planning to wear something subtle, yet so durable. Plus, you can change titanium’s silvery colour by simply anodizing it. The common hallmark for pure titanium jewelry is “TTN.”
Recording a Mohs hardness of 9 to 9.5, Tungsten Carbide is the hardest metal available for jewelry making. It is close to diamonds in terms of hardness. Since the metal doesn’t tarnish, it is considered by many as the “forever polished ring.”
You can wear tungsten carbide jewelry even on the hardest of environments and you will never see a scratch or dent. However, you cannot resize tungsten carbide rings at any point and in case of an emergency, the only solution is shattering the metal.
Palladium is also another group of metals that are highly valuable. They’re also anti-tarnish and have an excellent lustre. Since its recent “attractiveness,“ Palladium’s price has gone over the roof, making it a prestigious metal today.
Some research shows that Palladium is more durable than platinum and a better option for everyday wear. On the other hand, the metal is very rare to find and so getting designs and features like engravings are very limited.
The upside of palladium is that you can absolutely resize if made in a wedding ring or band. It is a little close to silver in look but has a more whitish color. If you love an aged look, over time palladium will for a very interesting patina.
While cobalt is not popularly heard, it is one of the best options in jewelry crafts as opposed to stainless steel or silver. It is a trendy option for men’s jewelry accessories and a nice replacement for a white gold ring.
It is an excellent metal since it does not require replating. However, cobalt can be tricky to resize and makes the design options very limited. Luckily, it is safe to wear on sensitive skin as the metal is hypoallergenic.
Brass is another metal that is adored mainly due to its resemblance to gold. It is a cheaper option as well and more importantly, it does not tarnish. It is a metal that will give you an elegant look and make sure you have a long-lasting material on you.
Brass is easily resizable and has different designs, so you can come up with as many ideas as you like. However, most buyers tend to confuse brass with zinc. Zinc is an independent element while brass is an alloy.
How To Remove Tarnish From Jewelry
While we’re only focusing on jewelry metals that actually don’t tarnish, it wouldn’t hurt if we see how we can remove tarnish in case you own a piece that doesn’t have tarnish. Here are some typical ways you can get rid of tarnish at home:
Use equal parts of white vinegar and water and mix thoroughly until it forms a foamy solution. Dip a toothbrush or cloth into the solution and rub the jewelry gently until all dirt is removed. Rinse with running water and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Baking Soda And Lemon
Mix lemon extract and baking soda to form a paste and then using a clean cloth, rub the jewelry gently. You can also cut a piece of lemon into half and sprinkle baking soda on one side of the lemon. Use the sprinkled lemon to brush your jewelry as the baking soda will act as an abrasive.
Soap And Water
Soap and water is the number one cleaner! And it is no surprise that it is an excellent cleaning agent in removing tarnish from jewelry. That said, to clean your metal, use a mild soap and warm water solution and rub using a toothbrush or a cleaning cloth to remove grime and dirt from your piece of jewelry. If the metal is not clean after one use, you can repeat the process until it restores its shine.
Baking Soda, Aluminum Foil, And Vinegar
If you have a heavily tarnished metal, the most effective solution is using this method. Form a bowl shape with the aluminium foil and add boiling water, salt, and baking soda into the pan. Insert all your tarnished jewelry and add vinegar immediately.
Leave the solution to react and watch how the powders leave the tarnished metal. Once the reaction seems to have stopped, remove the remaining dirt with a piece of cloth and wash, rinse, and let it dry completely.
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As you can see, there are tons of jewelry metals that will retain the same look and will not be affected by tarnish. An untarnished jewelry piece will make your overall appeal look crisp. It can also help you save money on maintenance costs and repairs.
Luckily, you have good options above, so it is up to you to choose how bright you’ll shine!