Confession: I’ve not yet grown out of my “fast-fashion” habit. I hope to one day be inspired enough to purge my closet, and start over with the mindset of buying less (and buying only the best quality of clothing and accessories), living out of a “time capsule” wardrobe, mixing and matching just a few high-end staples. But for now, my finances and my personal taste in style simply do not warrant doing so.
For the most part, even though I typically buy more low-cost clothes, they’ve done a pretty great job of holding up having been repeatedly worn for years on end. My jewelry, though? Not so much.
Truth be told, I’ve pared down my accessory collection tremendously over the past few years. I used to have so much of it that I almost dreaded opening my jewelry drawer to choose what necklace or pair of earrings or assortment of bracelets I wanted to wear on any given day. Plus, keeping it organized and untangled? Ha, right. I now have probably a quarter of what I used to own, and tend to wear the same pieces multiple times per week.
Something else to note is that I’m a gold lovin’ girl. And when I say gold, I mean mostly faux gold – I’m not sure I own even a single tiny piece of real gold jewelry. And I’m okay with that.
Except for when that faux gold turns gross. And for me, that change tends to happen SO quickly. Like, wear it twice and the “gold” is already transforming into a sad, splotchy silver or green or rust-colored mess. I know some folks who can get away with wearing faux gold jewelry for months and even years without it turning on them. I don’t know, something in the makeup of my skin – science – I guess.
Anyway, as I reached for one of my go-to necklaces the other day, which had gone from a vibrant gold to an embarrassing mix of silver and copper and green, I quickly reached for another one, a back-up, and realized it looked about the same. I decided it was time to do something about my rather sad-looking collection – bring some life back to each piece.
I’m kind of sentimental about just replacing them when they “go bad,” as I’ve had many of the necklaces I currently wear for YEARS. They’ve been around the world with me, been present at job interviews and on first dates and during nights out. Each one could tell a hundred stories. And they’re still holding together – albeit a little discolored – and that’s reason enough to offer them another chance at life, right?
So, there are a few reasons your fake gold or silver jewelry may be discolored. For some, it may just be build-up that needs rinsed away – from the oils on your skin and various other elements they come into contact with. There are a few methods out there I’ve come across that are meant to help get fast-fashion or costume jewelry clean and shining bright again – these include cleaning with toothpaste, vinegar, ammonia, and more.
I used the toothpaste method on my own necklaces, and while they did look quite a bit cleaner, I soon realized that I was going to have to take it a step further, because my jewelry collection’s issue wasn’t so much one of build-up. No, in my case (and perhaps in yours?), over the years, the gold color had simply rubbed away to another layer entirely, leaving absolutely no gold to be exposed, even after a thorough cleaning.
So, here’s how I “fixed” mine.
How to Freshen Up Tarnished Faux Gold Jewelry
What You’ll Need
- Metallic gold spray paint
- Clear coat gloss spray saint
- Painters tape and aluminium foil
- Newspaper, large piece of cardboard, or poster board
- Well-ventilated area to work in
What You’ll Do
1. Before starting, give your jewelry a good wash using one of the methods mentioned above (or just warm, soapy water) and let dry thoroughly, getting rid of any oils, dust, and strands of hair.
2. Once dry, tape off any areas of your jewelry that are not meant to be gold or silver. Undo and tape off any clasps and hooks, too (you don’t want to paint the opening/closing mechanism shut!)
3. Lie the jewelry down on your work space and, following the instructions on the can of gold or silver spray paint you purchased, evenly apply a layer.
4. Let dry and check to see if you need to apply another coat.
5. Flip the jewelry over and repeat on the other side.
6. Once the jewelry is completely dry from your layer of gold paint, use the same method to apply a protective layer of clear coat.
7. Let dry, then flip the jewelry over one more time and apply a clear coat to the other side.
8. Allow to dry completely.
9. If any paint found its way onto any area of the jewelry that it wasn’t supposed to (or areas were too small to tape off, like the “crystal” in the photo below), a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover can be used for touch-ups.
10. Enjoy your good-as-new accessories!
If you’re dealing with broken jewelry (I’ve had a lot of necklaces and bracelets with links coming loose lately), here are some additional tips to repair them!