How to Clean and Care For Your Jewelry
Today I thought I’d share a few basic tips for taking care of your jewelry as well as some easy ways to clean them at home.
But first, some basic facts:
Sterling silver jewelry tend to tarnish over time and this means that they develop an oxidation on the surface. This is a normal process, which relates to the fact that sterling silver is an alloy of 92,5% pure silver and 7,5% copper. Pure silver does not tarnish but is also so soft and difficult to work with. The addition of copper hardens the metal and makes it more easy to work with.
Sterling silver tarnishes by being in contact with the air. A chemical reaction takes place due to sulfur containing compounds in the air. This process can also be accentuated because of the contact with your skin ph or by certain weather conditions e.g. humidity.
This aging patina or an oxidized finish is preferable for many people. But if you like your jewelry clean and shiny, there are a number of things that you could easily try at home:
- The most basic thing to do is to delay tarnishing, by keeping your jewelry into their box, when you ‘re not wearing them, or -even better- in ziplock plastic bags. You could also add an anti tarnish strip into the box/bag.
- Occasionally, rub your jewelry gently with a soft polishing cloth. You can find these in jewelry supply stores, but also often in big supermarkets.
- For a satin matte finish, a surprisingly easy thing to do at home is to rub your jewelry with a scotch brite pad, either dry or wet, or with fine steel wool.
- Be gentle when polishing chains and avoid touching delicate gemstones with the polishing pads.
- Avoid getting your jewelry wet or wear them while bathing or sleeping. I know I have to remind myself of this last one several times as I can’t be apart of my favorite bracelets for long!
- Pearls and coral need extra care because they are of organic origin. Avoid contact with perfumes or hairspray as this may damage or discolor them. A simple rubbing with a wet cotton cloth is enough.
Suggestions for further reading:
- Jewelry Cleaning article from Wikipedia.
- E-How’s Jewelry Cleaning Guide.
- A video on how to clean sterling silver jewelry with baking soda and aluminum foil. This method is suitable for cleaning chains.
What’s your favorite way to clean your jewelry? I would love to hear your tips in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!