Jewelry Care Guide Posted on 16 Aug 11:20 , 0 comments

You love your jewelry so of course you want to keep it looking its best.  Here are some tips to keep it in tip top shape.

    • Cleaning Jewelry - All sterling silver tarnishes through a process called oxidization. This can not be prevented but can easily be cleaned with things such as treated polishing cloths or with homemade cleaning methods below. Regularly using warm soapy water to clean your jewelry and storing in a closed air tight box or plastic bag will slow down tarnish.  Chemical dips are not ideal, especially with pearls and stones.  
    • Dry Baking Soda Method: Clean tarnished silver with Baking Soda. Simply fill a small thick freezer bag half full of baking soda. Place the jewelry in the bag and close. Squish the bag around so you are rubbing the baking soda onto the jewelry. Take jewelry out and use a toothbrush and warm water to gently rinse off any residue. Dry with a soft cloth. Repeat as needed.
    • Homemade Tarnish Cleaner: Safe for Sterling Silver, Argentium, Gold, Brass, Copper and Bronze.

      1 Tbsp salt
      1 Tbsp baking soda
      Dash of dish detergent
      1 c hot water

      1. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover the bottom of a small, glass bowl. Aluminum is the key ingredient. A tin baking pan will also work.
      2. Add hot water to the bowl or baking tin. (Hot but not boiling water)
       
      3. Add salt, baking soda and dish detergent to the hot water.
      4. Place your jewelry on top of the foil and let it sit. You should start seeing results in 5 to 10 minutes. *Make sure the jewelry has good contact with the foil and the water completely covers the piece.
      5. Once cleaned, rinse in cold water and dry completely with soft cloth. If pieces are heavily tarnished, clean with soap and water and repeat as needed.

    • Polished Finish - If your jewelry has a polished finish, gently rub the piece with a jewelry polishing cloth or polishing pad.  Using tissue or paper towels can actually cause scratches because of fibers in these products.
    • Brushed FinishIt is natural for silver jewelry to take on a polished finish from everyday wear.  If you prefer a brushed finish, you can periodically refinish it with fine steel wool.  To do this, gently rub the item with the steel wool in the same direction of the original finish. (Not suggested for jewelry with stones)
    • Jewelry with Dark Patina Finish - A dark patina (oxidation) on silver is created by the reaction of silver and sulfur.  This reaction occurs on the surface of the silver. Avoid using abrasives or polishing cloths as this may remove the finish. Naturally when worn the dark finish will wear, revealing the silver beneath. Sometimes this occurs within days or weeks depending on the wearer. Many people embrace the unique patina created by the wearing of the piece.               
    • Reapply Oxidized Finish at home: If the oxidized finish has worn off, you can always reapply. Take a hard boiled egg (no shell) and put it in a small ziplock plastic bag. Break the egg into small pieces. Insert the clean silver jewelry in the bag and close it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to 1 hour, the longer the darker. Once it is the desired darkness, take it out and rinse it off.  Now the patina will wear again, so if you really want to keep the dark color you can apply a clear coat to the piece to seal it in longer.  
      • Green/Black Finger Marks - It can be a bit alarming if you just bought a new silver or gold ring and you notice your finger has a green/black mark under the ring. Don’t worry, this does not mean the ring was made with a lesser quality material than advertised . 
        While many people never have such a reaction, others do. The reason for the discoloration is that gold and silver are alloys and have a very small percentage of other metals in them, such as copper. These alloys make the metal stronger. However, that added material may have a reaction when it gets wet, exposed to lotions, cosmetics, pool water, etc. 
        The best thing to do is make sure to keep your hands and rings dry, clean, and away from chemicals. The discoloration on your finger will wash off with soap and water. Also, you can use a polishing cloth on the inside of the ring to prevent discoloration and keep it clean. Many times the reaction will stop occurring after a few days if you wear your jewelry daily. Others prefer to coat the inside of the ring with clear nail polish, or have the piece plated.
      • Basic Care Tips:
        Remove Your Jewelry Before Bathing - Remove all jewelry before showering or cleaning. Soap can cause a film to form, making it appear dull and dingy.
        Not to Do - Don't Wear Jewelry In Swimming Pools and Spas - Chlorinated water can react with the metals found in jewelry causing color changes and even structural damage. As a result it's a good idea to remove jewelry before entering the pool or spa. 
        Contact Sports and Jewelry Don't Mix - Remember to take off any jewelry before any playing sports.
        Remove Jewelry during manual tasks like gardening or house cleaning. - Hard knocks and chemicals can damage jewelry.  Even make-up or lotions can cause some metals to tarnish, react and/or change color.