Liv Jewelry Inc. only uses 10k + 14k solid gold, 14k gold-filled, and 925 sterling silver materials, unless otherwise specified. I strive to create the best quality jewelry at a competitive price. I dabbled with gold plated when I first started LIV, because it's affordable, but quickly realized it wasn't up to my standards.
Gold plated: a thin, brushed layer of gold (sometimes not real gold) that typically lasts 3-6 months (LIV Jewelry does NOT use this material)
Vermeil: gold plated over solid sterling silver
Sterling Silver: is a metal alloy combining pure silver with either copper or zinc
14k Gold-Filled: a thick layer of real gold (100x more gold than gold plated) that uses heat and pressure to permanently bond a thick layer of 14k gold over a brass core. This material is tarnish resistant, hypoallergenic, and will last years if properly maintained (see below how to maintain).
There are many things you can do to keep your jewelry looking brand new for a very long time. Here are some tips from personal experience and what I have seen happen:
1) Hot Tubs/Pools
This will 100% ruin your jewelry. I've even seen gold-filled and sterling silver jewelry tarnish after only wearing it once in a chlorinated pool. I also don't recommend wearing jewelry to the beach...sand is an exfoliant and can eventually scratch off the layer of gold and silver. Salt water can also be problematic since the base of gold filled is brass and that'll penetrate and corrode it. I suggest taking off your jewelry before diving in!
Going back to salt (in section 1), salt from water or sweat can definitely affect the longevity of your jewelry. I suggest trying to remember to take off your jewelry where you’re more prone to sweating before working out.
Wearing gold-filled in the shower is fine if you're gentle with it. I make sure I'm not placing soap on it and I pat it dry when I get out. For sterling silver it can tarnish more quickly if you wear it in the shower. You may wear it and use a gentle soap, but be warned it may affect your jewelry.
*Do NOT wear in the shower: beaded designs, pearls, vintage pieces. Water seeps into the bead hole and gets stuck resulting in discoloring the design. Pearls are porous and absorb anything around it when wet. Some of the materials I use are 100 years old and are delicate*
Sunscreen is the absolute worst thing for your jewelry, right after diving in a chlorinated pool. It'll corrode and tarnish your jewelry fast! I suggest applying sunscreen and then putting on your jewelry. Hair products/lotions/perfumes can also have an affect. I suggest avoiding applying products on the areas where you wear your jewelry.
Some people's body chemistry/hormones just don't react well with 14k Gold-Filled jewelry and their own skin has a chemical reaction with the jewelry that has it tarnishing quicker than others. This applies to less than 10% of people.
6) Storing your jewelry
Many people hang their jewelry out in the open, which looks pretty, but will eventually tarnish your jewelry due to the oxidization. Therefore, it's best to place your pieces back in the pouches you are given when you purchase a piece from LIV Jewelry. Jewelry boxes and/or closed drawers are also recommended (Amazon or The Container Store are my top places to buy). Always place jewelry in a cool, dry place.
Sterling silver specifically needs to be stored in a plastic bag from oxidizing
7) Cleaning your jewelry
I would say once a week I like to clean my jewelry using a dry jewelry cloth. If you want to clean your gold jewelry more thoroughly, you can also soak your jewelry in a bowl of lukewarm water with gentle soap (like Dawn) for 10 minutes. Remove the jewelry from the bowl of water/soap and gently rinse the soap off then lay flat on a towel, pat the jewelry dry, and leave it on the towel overnight until it's fully dry. Don't do this too often. For anything that is sterling silver, polish using Peek Cream Polish it's amazing!
I hope the above helps! If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.