Monday, July 9, 2012

Now That You Own It How Do You Care For It?

Excitement bubbles over as you open the anticipated package.  Inside is the beautiful gold necklace and earrings you purchased.  They are lovelier than the photos suggested.  You couldn't be happier with you choice.

Now that the jewelry arrives and you love it how do you care for it?  You want the pieces to last so they can be enjoyed.  Here are some tips to use for the cleaning and care of your jewelry pieces.  A word of caution -- some stones will scratch easily or react to chemicals.  Use care when cleaning any jewelry with faux pearls, natural gemstones, crystals, or precious stones.

Typical cleaning items:  100% cotton cloth, non-bleach powder laundry detergent, non-bleach or anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid, baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, soft tooth brush, and warm water.

Sterling Silver: 

Sterling silver will natural tarnish over time.  It requires attention to maintain its shine and luster.  The tarnish is caused by contact with pollutants in the air, skin oils, heat, or moisture.  To clean use a soft, smooth 100% cotton cloth or flannel.  Gently rub off any makeup or dirt from the jewelry piece.  Silver is a soft metal to treat it gently.  A cleaning cloth for sterling silver can also be used.  Chemicals or rough cloth can scratch and damage the silver. 

Silver Plate: 

Silver plated jewelry is very delicate and requires care.  Frequent cleanings will help prevent tarnish and rust.  To clean use baking soda, salt, hot and cold water, aluminum foil, soft toothbrush, and a soft 100% cotton cloth.  Mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a thick paste.  Use this paste on the jewelry piece.  Allow it to sit for about an hour.  Using a soft toothbrush gently scrub the jewelry piece.  Rinse the piece thoroughly in warm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth. 

Now for the fun part.  Remember chemistry in high school?  Well we're going to do a little bit of that here.  Place a bit of aluminum foil in a shallow bowl (do not use a metal bowl).  Place 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/2 a teaspoon salt on the foil.  Place your silver-plated jewelry on top of the foil.  Ready?  Pour hot water into the bowl to cover the jewelry.  Now cover the bowl and wait 5 minutes.  Remove the jewelry.  All done!

The chemical reaction causes the tarnish to disappear.  Voile! 

Gold Plate aka Gold Vermeil: 

To clean use a soft 100% cotton cloth, water, mild dish soap (not antibacterial), soft toothbrush for filigree elements, and a gold polish cloth.  Gently remove any visible dirt with the wet cotton cloth.  Dissolve soap in a bowl of water -- not hot water.  Soak the jewelry in the soapy water for about 15 minutes.  Use the toothbrush to gently brush away dirt in crevices.  Rinse under warm water.  Dry the piece with a soft, cotton cloth to prevent water stains or mineral deposits.  Finally gently rub the jewelry with a gold polish cloth.

An option to restoring the jewelry is taking it to a trusted jewelry and have the piece re-plated with gold.

Gold Filled: 

To clean use a soft 100% cotton cloth, non-bleach powered laundry detergent, non-bleach or anti-bacterial dishwashing detergent, and ammonia.  Wipe visible dirt from the jewelry piece.  Dissolve a drop of ammonia in a bowl of water.  Dip the cloth in the solution and use to carefully clean crevices on the piece.  Rinse in water and pat dry.  Add a teaspoon of non-bleach powdered laundry detergent in a bowl of warm (not hot water).  Soak the jewelry for a few minutes.  Rinse in warm water and pat dry to avoid water marks or mineral deposits.

Resources:, 2012.
Jewelry photos: French Robin Designs, 2012.
Cleaning photo:  naturalwaystowhitenteeth