Guide to Waterproof Gold Jewelry

gold ring in water

Gold is one of the most commonly used materials for making jewelry. However, not all gold jewelries are created the same way. Some are more durable and water-resistant than others. In this post, we will share the whole truth about waterproof gold jewelry to enable you to make informed decisions when buying.

Common Gold Jewelry Types

There are 4 major types of gold jewelry: gold plated, gold vermeil, gold filled, and solid gold.

They are explained further:

Gold Plated Jewelry:

Made from bonding a layer of gold (not more than 0.5 microns thickness) onto a base metal, which could be brass, copper, or nickel. The metal is dipped into a chemical solution filled with gold ions. Then, electric current is run through the solution, resulting in the bonding of the gold ions to the metal.

Gold Plated Jewelry

Gold Vermeil Jewelry:

Advanced gold plating, which involves bonding a thicker layer of gold (at least 2.5 microns) to a sterling silver base metal. Gold vermeil jewelry benefits from the inert strength of sterling silver and gold, making them more durable.

Gold Vermeil Necklace and Earrings

Gold Filled Jewelry:

Involves mechanically bonding gold over a solid base metal by using heat and pressure. The base metal could be brass, copper, or nickel. The gold layer is very thick and contributes at least 5% of the jewelry’s total weight.

Gold Filled Rings and Necklace

Solid Gold Jewelry:

Made from 100% pure gold. Does not include other metals. The downside to this is that pure gold is very soft and malleable, making it more susceptible to scratches. However, a professional custom jewelry manufacturer will clinically alloy it with tougher metals like copper for improved strength.

Solid Gold Necklaces

What Type of Gold Jewelry is Waterproof?

Solid gold, gold filled, and higher grades of gold vermeil jewelry are great at resisting water. Gold plated jewelry, on the other hand, contains a very low amount of gold content, which wears off quickly.

  • Solid Gold: Made completely with pure gold, solid gold is highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, making it waterproof.
  • Gold Filled: Because of the amount of pure gold (5% and above) in gold-filled jewelry’s total weight, you can wear it when exposed to water without worrying about losing its shine.
  • Gold Vermeil: Only higher grades of gold vermeil, like 18K and above are capable of withstanding water.

What Gold Jewelry Can I Swim In?

Solid gold, gold filled, and gold vermeil can be worn while swimming.

However, swimming pools are usually treated with chlorine, which can damage or discolor gold filled and gold vermeil jewelry when exposed to chlorinated water for a long time. Solid gold jewelry is the safest option for swimming.

Man in the Pool with Gold Jewelry

What Jewelry Can I Shower In?

Showering with jewelry isn’t always encouraged because of the chemical contents the pieces come in contact with. For example, your soap and bathing solutions may be made of ingredients that can deteriorate the quality of your jewelry.

However, some of the jewelry you can trust to withstand the extremities of showering are solid gold, gold filled, and 18k gold vermeil.

Lady Bathing in a Gold Necklace

Gold Jewelry Water-Resistance Explained

The table below explains the water-resistance capabilities of the various common gold jewelry types based on the karat grading:

Karat/TechniqueSolid GoldGold FilledGold VermeilGold Plated 
10KHighly WaterproofAvoid Long Exposure to WaterAvoid Long Exposure to WaterNeed to Dry Immediately after Water Contact
14KHighly WaterproofHighly WaterproofAvoid Long Exposure to WaterNeed to Dry Immediately after Water Contact
18KExtremely WaterproofExtremely WaterproofHighly WaterproofAvoid Long Exposure to Water
24KExtremely WaterproofExtremely WaterproofExtremely WaterproofAvoid Long Exposure to Water

Is 14K Gold Waterproof?

  • 14K Solid Gold: Highly waterproof and can maintain its originality even after long exposure to water.
  • 14K Gold Filled: Less resistant to water, so avoid long exposure to water.
  • 14K Gold Vermeil: Less resistant to water and tends to tarnish after prolonged contact with water.
  • 14K Gold Plated: Remove it anytime you are about to get in contact with water.

Is 18K Gold Waterproof?

  • 18K Solid Gold: Highly waterproof and can maintain its shine and luster despite long periods of contact with water.
  • 18K Gold Filled: Highly waterproof and can withstand exposure to water without issues.
  • 18K Gold Vermeil: Fairly waterproof, so be careful with long exposure to water. 
  • 18K Gold Plated: Not suitable for prolonged water exposure. 

Is 24K Gold Waterproof?

  • 24K Solid Gold: Highly waterproof and doesn’t tarnish or corrode despite long exposure to water.
  • 24K Gold Filled: Highly waterproof and perfect for activities that involve contact with water.
  • 24K Gold Vermeil: Highly waterproof and resistant to corrosion or fading because of water.
  • 24K Gold Plated: Can occasionally be exposed to water, but only for a short time.

Best Waterproof Gold Jewelry

Generally, the best waterproof gold jewelry are solid gold and gold filled.

Solid gold jewelry is made entirely of pure gold, which is inherently waterproof thanks to its natural properties. Whether submerged in water or exposed to moisture in everyday activities, solid gold jewelry remains unaffected, retaining its beauty and allure over time.

Gold filled jewelry is made by bonding a layer of gold onto a base metal (usually sterling silver). Sterling silver is obtained from silver, which is durable and shiny like pure gold. The combination of these two strong and waterproof metals results in a piece that can be worn in the shower or any activity that involves water.

Waterproof Gold Jewelry Brands

Don’t want to be concerned about taking off your jewelry when coming in contact with water, these are the top 3 waterproof gold jewelry brands you can buy from:

  • Mejuri: Seeking to get reliable waterproof gold jewelry without the luxury price tag, Mejuri is the brand to shop from. Their gold jewelry stays shiny and new even after repeated wear. They are available in yellow gold, white gold, and customized options.
  • Kendra Scott: Popularly known for its colorful and feminine look, Kendra Scott waterproof gold jewelry are put through various effective quality management procedures for guaranteed superiority. They are popular among celebrities and fashion influencers, and have featured in magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.
  • Gorjana: Looking for everyday jewelry that holds up against moisture, Gorjana is the brand to call. Their gold jewelry are not just designed to be waterproof, they are protected with an anti-tarnish barrier, ensuring that they do not oxidize or discolor.

Key Takeaway

High-quality gold jewelry shouldn’t just look shiny and beautiful, they should also last the test of time. Your gold jewelry must be waterproof to ensure they don’t lose their luster and brilliance over time.

While gold plated, gold vermeil, gold vermeil, and solid gold are the most common types of gold jewelry, the best options you can trust when seeking for everyday pieces to endure various environmental conditions, including water, are gold filled and solid gold jewelry.

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