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  • Karin

Will It Fade?

Hmmm...


I often get asked this infamous question "will this fade". In fact, it's pretty much the first question that pours out of a potential clients mouth once I tell them the price of a piece. It's like the ying that justifice the yang (price).


In this post, I will shed a bit of light on the materials that make up the jewellery we wear as having this knowledge will be useful in figuring out if your jewellery will fade.


 

When it comes to jewellery, it is important to first know what it's made of to decipher how it will behave over time. For starters, almost all jewellery is not made of one pure metal, except if you're buying copper. Pretty much all wearable jewellery 9k, 14k, 18k and 22k gold, sterling silver, brass and bronze is alloyed with copper and other metals.


Confused by the technicalities yet? Okay, I'll explain a little more.


For example, 18k gold is equal to 75% gold content, the other 25% usually consists of metals such as zinc, copper, nickel, etc. The additional metals in 18K gold serve to make the alloy harder and more durable than pure gold (24K), which is too soft for jewellery. The primary downside of copper jewellery is the possibility of skin discolouration. Copper reacts with oxygen in the air in a process called oxidation. When exposed to sweat and oils from skin, the oxidation process leaves behind a layer of copper carbonate on the jewellery wearer's skin, turning it temporarily green - depending on the percentage of copper alloyed.


Now that we have the truth in the open, I believe it is safe to say that except your jewellery is made of 22k gold, your jewellery is bound to fade if not taken care of appropriately. In the case of 9, 14 or 18 karat gold the rate at which oxidation happens is very very minimal. However, for sterling silver, brass and bronze tarnish is inevitable.


In my next post, I will talk a little about how to care for your jewellery to slow down tarnishing and keep it looking new. In the mean time, let me know in the comments below how you feel about jewelleries that tarnish. Do you still buy them and why?


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