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Does 18k Gold Fade? (Everything you need to know)

18k gold fading will not materialise immediately, but it’s a possibility. While the gold component of the 18k jewellery is nonreactive, the alloy composition is not. Non-gold metals mixed in an 18k gold piece are susceptible to fading when exposed to moisture.

If you’re concerned about the durability of your 18k gold jewellery, you should take precautions to avoid tarnish or fading. Knowing what to do and how to properly store your gold will help you use them for a long time.

This post provides answers to questions you may have about the durability of your 18k gold.

Read on to see how to keep your precious pieces of jewellery from tarnishing or fading.

Does 18 karat gold fade?

18k gold contains some non-gold metals, which can fade with time. However, the gold content does not fade because gold is a nonreactive metal. It’s not very common to see an 18k gold fade, but it can happen due to the alloy mixed in it.

18k gold comprises 75% gold and 25% other metals used to influence colour and hardness. For example, copper gives 18k gold a pink overtone. 18 karat gold offers high purity and durability.

Other metals that make 18k gold harder include zinc, palladium, nickel, and more. 18k yellow gold is a mixture of gold, copper and nickel.

For 18k white gold, it’s made up of gold, silver, palladium, and nickel. 

The silver and copper alloys in 18k rose gold give it that characteristic pink colour.

What are the Differences Between 10K, 14K, and 18K?

10K, 14K, and 18K gold differ in their price, level of purity, and hardness. 18k gold has the highest purity level and is the most expensive, followed by 14k and then 10k. The reverse is the case for hardness, as 10k gold is harder than 14k, and 18k is the softest.

As seen from their karat numbers, gold differs from each other depending on how much gold they contain.

  • 18K gold has the highest purity – 75%
  • 14K gold is less purer – 58.3%
  • 10K gold has the lowest purity – 41.7%

Different purity levels between 10K, 14K, and 18K result in differences in their hardness. Generally, the more the alloy in the gold, the harder it is, and vice versa. 10-karat gold is the hardest of the three alloys, as it contains the least gold.

You can wear a piece of jewellery made of a lower-karat alloy more often than higher ones. For example, 10k gold will bend less easily and wear out slower than those made of a higher-karat alloy.

10K gold jewellery requires less care when handled and worn than higher-karat gold pieces of jewellery. 

18K gold is the most expensive compared with 10K and 14K. It’s an excellent choice for people who are allergic to nickel. Higher-karat jewellery is more likely to cause an allergic reaction thanks to the higher gold purity.

Why does 14k gold tarnish faster than 18k gold?

14k gold tarnishes faster than 18k because it contains more alloy. The purer the gold, the less it tarnishes, as gold is a nonreactive metal. While gold itself will not tarnish, silver and copper will.

Since 14K gold has more elements like copper and silver than 18K, more can tarnish. Those elements tarnish due to reactions with the chemicals in our bodies.

Will 18k white gold fade?

It’s rare to see 18k white gold fade, as white gold is durable and scratch-resistant. The white colour is a result of mixing with platinum. Gold mixed with palladium, cadmium, nickel, zinc also produce white gold.

The non-gold metals can open the door to a little fading—but it is not common. 

White gold is more affordable than yellow gold.

Can 18k rose gold fade?

While the gold itself in 18k rose gold won’t fade, its alloy is susceptible to fading over time. Unlike copper and silver, gold is not a reactive metal. When the copper content of 18k rose gold fades, it will affect the appearance of the jewellery.

However, it’s not common to see fading in your 18k rose gold. Copper is the reason for the rose/pink tint you see in your 18k gold, though the alloy also contains a bit of silver. It gives rose gold more durability than white or yellow gold.

18k rose gold is also more affordable than other shades of 18k gold because it uses inexpensive copper as the base.

Does 18k gold vermeil fade?

18k gold vermeil fading is not inevitable, as it can happen over time with exposure to moisture. While the gold itself won’t fade, the copper component of your 18k gold vermeil can fade.

The best way to avoid fading is through proper storage. You must always keep your 18k gold vermeil in a dry place. Take it off before washing your hands, exercising, showering, etc.

It’s normal for your jewellery to get wet once in a while, but dry them as quickly as possible when that happens. 

Store your 18k vermeil gold in an airtight container – a Ziploc bag should also suffice. If you have gold vermeil rings, take them off before applying lotion or hand sanitiser.

Will 18k yellow gold fade?

While it’s unlikely to witness fading in your 18k yellow gold, it is possible if you’re not careful. Yellow gold is pure gold mixed with copper, silver, and zinc. These metals are susceptible to fading, and when that happens, it affects the appearance of your 18k yellow gold. 

18k yellow gold is perfect for allergy concerns, as it is hypo-allergenic and requires minimal maintenance.

Can 18k gold discolour?

It’s rare to see discolouration in your 18k gold since it contains mostly nonreactive gold (75 per cent). But daily exposure to oxygen and chemicals in soap or perfume can discolour your 18k gold jewellery. It won’t happen immediately, but eventually, you’ll begin to see discolourations if you’re not careful.

Oxygen and sulfur are the main culprits of discolourations in precious metals. Another major contributor is moisture. When moisture, oxygen, and sulfur combine with the metals in your 18k gold, corrosion results.

So, you should always store your jewellery in a dry place to avoid discolouration. While you won’t notice any immediate effect when you get your 18k gold wet, discolourations may happen in the long run.

Will 18k gold tarnish in water?

While the gold itself won’t tarnish in water, the non-metals or alloy in it will. You can wear your 18k gold in the shower, but it’s not advisable. Water won’t damage the jewellery, but it may reduce the shine.

If you keep exposing your 18k gold to water, its appearance will change over time. That’s why you should avoid getting your 18k gold wet all the time. The same thing applies to other varieties of solid gold.

Can you wear 18k gold every day?

There’s nothing wrong with wearing 18k gold jewellery every day. You can do it, but you must be careful to avoid harming the jewellery with a lot of wear and tear.

18k gold is an excellent material for wedding bands and engagement rings, as the presence of alloy makes it stronger and more durable. However, you’d want to purchase your jewellery from a trusted source. Aquae Jewels offer a fine collection of 18k gold jewellery for the modern woman. 

Expect exceptional customer experience from the moment you visit the online store to when you receive your purchase. It’s easy to find what you want, from ready-to-wear 18k gold to customised pieces.

Does 18k Gold Plated Jewellery Tarnish?

Like every plated item, 18k gold plated jewellery will tarnish with time and expose the metal underneath. You may think a higher value of gold plating will prevent tarnish, but that’s not true. It may take a while before your 18k gold plated jewellery starts tarnishing, but it will tarnish eventually.

Gold is inert, so the issue with the tarnishing is from the base metal and not the gold. Also, due to the inert nature of gold, it does not rust or corrode. On the other hand, the base metal is prone to oxidation, which affects the gold layer.

The base metal or alloy’s oxidised molecules transfer to the gold layer and change their appearance. The thinner the gold layer is, the faster it takes for the tarnishing to show up.

However, plating the base metal with nickel is a good way to slow down the tarnishing process. The only problem with this solution is that many people are allergic to nickel-plated jewellery.


While 18k gold fading is not something you’ll see immediately, it’s a possibility. The alloy composition of the 18k jewellery can undergo oxidation when exposed to moisture. When this happens, it will affect the appearance of the 18k gold.

You don’t want your 18k gold jewellery to fade. So, you must store them properly in a dry place at all times.

If you need an 18k gold piece that will last longer, your sure bet is a reputable jeweller. At Aquae jewels, you’ll find a fine collection of high-quality 18k gold jewellery.

Shop the best! Visit Aquae jewels today!