Costume or Fashion jewelry, unlike fine jewelry, is affordable and allows you to have as many pieces as you want. Fine jewelry is usually much more expensive, and thus most people only own 1-2 pieces, which is ok, but most fashionistas like to switch up their jewelry depending on what they’re wearing. The problem with costume jewelry is that it does no it can tarnish /turn your skin green, rusts fades, which is a considerable inconvenience. Although costume jewelry is priced lower than fine jewelry, no one likes to waste their money. Pieces of jewelry are made from different metals such as gold, silver, brass, copper, nickel, platinum, titanium, etc. and In this post, we will discuss which metals to avoid if you want your affordable costume jewelry to last years versus a few days, weeks or months. We will focus more on tarnishing of the metals, but let’s define rush vs. tarnish first.
Tarnish Vs. Rust
Tarnish is usually a thin, dull, gray, or black coating over several different metals, such as copper, brass, silver, aluminum, magnesium, and so on. Tarnish can result from reaction with oxygen, or it can be referred to as Patina when it preserves the underlying metal in outdoor use.
Rusting is a term for corrosion of iron and its alloys, such as steel. Many other metals undergo equivalent corrosion, but the resulting oxides are not commonly called rust. Rust is described as only being applicable to the corrosion of iron-based metals, but tarnish is the rest of the metals.
Base metals include iron, nickel, copper, brass, and titanium, among others. These metals are abundant and can oxidize or corrode pretty easily.
Sterling silver is an allow that contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. It is less expensive than platinum or gold because it is more readily available. The copper in it, will oxidize with the air or the skin and cause the sterling silver to tarnish. Your skin may also turn green as a result of the tarnishing.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will tarnish. Copper is prone to oxidizing with our skirt, which will cause the jewelry to tarnish and turning our skin green.a
Zinc alloy can tarnish and discolor, which depends on several factors, such as the base metals used.
Gold Plating/Gold Filled/Gold Vermeil over Base Metal
Most gold costume jewelry will be plated. The longevity and the anti-tarnishes of the piece highly depend on what the gold part is plated over. Over time the plating will wear off, and if the base metal is one of the metals that tarnishes readily such as brass, copper, silver, the jewelry will tarnish. Thus, you want to pay attention to what you’re buying and make sure the base metal isn’t one that will quickly tarnish.
Will Not Tarnish
Gold jewelry comes in many colors, although you may be familiar with white and yellow gold. Pure 24 karat gold is seldom used in jewelry because it is very soft. Gold is usually mixed with alloy metals such as copper, silver, nickel, and zinc to give different colors, strength, and durability, and to measure the amount of gold in a specific piece. We call it purity, which is measured in Karats. Karats tells you how much out of 24 parts are gold. For example, 18kt gold has 18/24 gold and 6/24 alloy. 14kt gold has 14/24 gold and 10/24 alloy.
Stainless steel is a low-cost alternative to the other metals. It is naturally hypoallergenic, and the chromium in stainless steel forms an invisible protective layer that prevents stainless steel from rusting, tarnishing, or changing colors.
Platinum is the rarest and most expensive metals. But the price is justified since it’s super durable and will never tarnish. Pure platinum melts at 3,216.2 degrees Fahrenheit, so unless you’re, you know, literally spending time on the sun, it’ll work great for things like wedding bands and cuffs. Platinum is typically alloyed with copper and cobalt to give it a different look.
Looks like platinum and is strong and lightweight
Pure aluminum develops a transparent protective layer when it is exposed to oxygen, so it will not tarnish. Aluminum alloys may tarnish, however.
The hardest natural metal and is scratch-resistant, lightweight, and easy to color. Titanium is also completely hypoallergenic, which makes it very suitable for body-piercing jewelry and even surgical implants. If your ears are sensitive to metals, consider trying titanium. Titanium is an inert/non-reactive metal and does not react with water or oxygen so it will not tarnish, rust or corrode
Tungsten carbide is the most scratch-resistant metals in addition to being extremely strong. Tungsten carbide jewelry is affordable and hypoallergenic.
Palladium belongs to the platinum group of metals and is made of 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium. Even with its high purity, palladium doesn’t require plating. Palladium durable, Hypoallergenic and doesn’t tarnish or rust
Pure niobium has a hardness similar to that of pure titanium and similar it is an inert/non-reactive metal and does not react with water or oxygen so it will not tarnish, rust or corrode
Carbide ceramics are incredibly resistant against high temperatures, abrasion, and corrosion. It is scratch and heat resistant, hypoallergenic, and doesn’t tarnish.
It is also essential to store your jewelry correctly because improper storage can lead to your jewelry being tarnished and or tangles. You should separate your metals to prevent them from interacting with one another, so they don’t tarnish—comment below your experiences of buying costume jewelry and if this post has helped you in any way.