I have tried to make my jewelry items using only sterling silver or 14k gold-filled because of the problem of tarnishing. Especially in regard to gold-plated findings. I feel my customers may be upset when the plating wears off and the item is no longer pretty. Am I being overly worried or do my concerns have merit. Your input would be greatly appreciated.
Your concerns do have merit so make sure your customers know what they are purchasing and their options. Preventing tarnish to plated items is crucial as repetitive polishing will eventually wear down the plating and expose the base metal. With sterling silver, repetitive cleaning and polishing, even with a polishing machine, will not harm the metal. As for gold-filled items they are actually made by combining a layer, or layers, of gold alloy to a base metal (usually brass), then rolling or drawing the metal to the desired thickness and shape. Gold-filled items will not wear as readily as plated metals, but they do get dirty and care should be taken when cleaning and polishing so you protect the layers of gold alloy.
To best protect your jewelry and components store them in anti-tarnish bags or in air-tight containers along with a piece of anti-tarnish paper. Check the multiple resources below to get all the information your customers may request.