Gold-plated jewellery is made by covering a base metal, usually silver, with a very thin layer of gold. Since the gold layer is so thin and reactive with silver, it will eventually wear away despite your best attempts to preserve it. This wearing away process can take as little as a year depending on whether a barrier was created to separate the silver and gold layers. Usually, a copper barrier will be used to slow down the reactive process. With the copper barrier, the gold-plating will still wear away, but it will take much longer than a year for it to do so. Gold-plating is usually used as party or costume jewellery. However, if you are unable to afford gold or gold-filled jewellery, there are several steps you can take to preserve your gold-plated jewellery.
Keep gold-plated jewellery away from hard surfaces. Bumps and scratches will cause the gold layer to wear away faster.
Store your gold-plated jewellery in a velvet lined jewellery box, or wrap it in a soft material that will prevent scratches.
Lightly wipe your gold-plated jewellery with a damp cotton cloth. This will help to eliminate any dirt or dust from accumulating on the surface and wearing away the gold layer.
Use a non-abrasive jewellery polishing cloth and gently rub the gold-plated jewellery to restore shine.
Take the gold-plated jewellery to a local jeweller where they can replace the gold layer. This may be necessary if the gold-plating has already started to wear off. Check with your local jeweller to see what they charge for this service.
Avoid wiping or rubbing the gold-plated jewellery too often. Wiping or rubbing the jewellery more often than necessary will contribute to the gold lining wearing away.