How to Antique Gold Jewellery

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How to Antique Gold Jewellery

A beautiful piece of polished gold jewellery is a lovely thing to behold, but vintage is in fashion and shiny gold can look a little too new. Because consumers often want to restore jewellery with sentimental or monetary value, they can put unwanted pieces of inexpensive yellow gold jewellery to use again by giving them an aged look. Instead of trading them in for money, consumers can try these simple methods to give the appearance of well-loved antiques. It is best to try these techniques on a piece of jewellery with little value, rather than an expensive piece of fine jewellery.



Before beginning, have these items ready:

1.         Tongs, fork, or similar, to safely hold your jewellery over the flame

2.         A heat-proof surface to place treated jewellery on


Method One: Apply Heat

This first method of tarnishing gold jewellery uses a flame to apply heat to the metal. This is a good method to use on smaller pieces of jewellery, such as rings. A candle works, but a blowtorch or even the flame from a gas hob does the job as well. Use extreme caution and supervise children when performing this method. Depending on how long the consumer holds the jewellery to the flame, this method can colour a piece slightly or it can turn it into a darker bronze.
Using fork or tongs, hold your jewellery close to the flame. It begins to darken after several seconds, smoking, as the metal gets darker. Do this for as long as it takes to get the desired colour. If the piece of jewellery is larger, apply the flame evenly in several places. Once the metal is coloured, leave it on a heatproof surface to cool.


Method Two: Use a Dye Oxide

A dye oxide permanently stains your jewellery and never rubs off or wears away, unlike paint or polish. To scratch up your jewellery a bit before applying a dye oxide, use a piece of steel wool. Heat the metal as in method one, then sponge a dye oxide such as black-coloured Swellegant or soak the piece. Wear latex gloves when using the solution. After a minute, heat the piece again and either continue until it is set, or leave to air dry. Seal with a lacquer spray.


Method Three: Use Household Chemicals

Chemicals and products that most people have around the house can dull your gold jewellery. They speed up oxidation, which is the process that leaves gold jewellery looking tarnished.




Nail varnish remover (acetone)

Dulls shiny gold jewellery

Leave the jewellery in nail varnish remover for a few minutes

Hair spray, perfume, deodourants, or other perfumed oils

Chemicals in these items react with gold to reduce its shine

Spray onto jewellery to age it and allow to dry

Repeat the process each day to achieve the desired effect


Combine one part chlorinated bleach with 100 parts water and soak for several hours

Repeat the process multiple times

Alternatively, wear jewellery while swimming in a pool


Cover gold in soap suds and wash off after a few minutes to leave soap residue

This will build up over time, tarnishing the gold

Speed up the process by wearing gold jewellery in the shower














Some of these methods may take longer than others, but they are most convenient as no special purchases are required. The first two methods are best if there is not much time to antique a piece of jewellery. However, these household items will tarnish gold more naturally.


How to Buy Gold Jewellery on eBay

To buy gold jewellery on eBay for antiquing, you should look for less expensive items with lower gold content. Rather than perform a broad search for gold jewellery, focus on items that are 14-karat gold or less. Pieces with higher gold content will not tarnish well. Look for items in the fashion jewellery category, instead of fine jewellery, for more budget-friendly items. Searching by gold content, using a term such as '9k gold ring' will also ensure you find pieces that are more suited to being antiqued. You can find budge-friendly listings with multiple items in wholesale or job-lot listings.

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