Jewelry Care Basics
So many rules!
JK, it’s easy to take care of your handmade jewelry. If you follow a few simple steps, you can enjoy your pieces for years to come.
So, let’s jump right in.
The Always-do List for Jewelry Care
Always put your lotion, cosmetics, hair products, perfumes, oils and clothes (yes your clothes!) on BEFORE you put on your jewelry.
Always take your jewelry OFF when you plan to get in a pool, the ocean, or hot tub. The salt, chlorine and chemicals can spoil your pretty pieces really fast!
Honestly, best practice is keep your jewelry DRY. Don’t worry so much about regular hand washing, that’s usually fine.
ALWAYS take off your jewelry when working out or doing anything that causes you to perspire heavily. That salt thing again …
Always steer clear of cleaning products while you’re wearing your jewelry, the harsh chemicals will discolor metals and can loosen stones. Acetone and denatured alcohol too. That’ll ruin your gemstones and pearls in a second!
Finally, don’t sleep in your jewelry. (I hear your collective groan, I’m sorry.) But take it off, and store it nicely. Preferably, in a small plastic bag in a cool, dark place.
More on why in a minute.
14k Gold Fill Jewelry Care
Probably one of the most common questions we get here at the shop is, “What is 14K gold fill?”
The quick answer is: 14k gold fill is a great, affordable alternative to solid gold.
With proper care, you can wear it for years. The construction of the material involves bonding solid gold to a base layer with heat and pressure. It must have a content of at least 5% to be classified gold filled.
I like it because it’s nickel free and fine for people with sensitive skin.
To clean your gold-filled jewelry, use a simple solution of mild dish soap and warm water using a soft cotton cloth. A jewelry polishing cloth will restore some luster and shine to dull pieces.
If your gold filled jewelry has stones, carefully wipe with a damp cloth.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Care
Sterling silver is .925% pure silver and the balance is most often copper.
Because pure silver is a soft, malleable metal, another alloy must be added to provide a bit of hardness. The addition of copper (or other alloy) which can oxidize is the reason sterling silver is susceptible to tarnish when exposed to air, excessive sweating or chemicals found in hair products.
One of the easiest ways to prevent tarnish on your silver is to wear it! The oils in your skin will ‘coat’ the metal, therefore lessening the exposure to air.
This is where the plastic storage bag comes in: Store your silver in one, means no air = less tarnish.
To clean your silver, mild dish soap with warm water will remove dirt, skin, or ick just fine. To remove tarnish use a polishing cloth designed for that purpose or a very soft cloth with a non-abrasive metal cleaner. Just be sure to rinse and dry well.
For those delicate chains, we recommend Tarnex. A quick wipe with a cotton ball and immediately rinsing and drying will bring it right back to life.
If your sterling silver jewelry has stones, carefully wipe with a damp cloth. Do not let your polish cloth or non abrasive metal cleaner come into contact the stones/pearls.
Brass Jewelry Care
We love nickel-free brass for its affordability and warm gold tone. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will naturally darken or tarnish over time. Good news, it’s very strong and tough and is easily cleaned with few concerns to worry about.
To clean brass, we recommend a polishing cloth designed for that purpose or using a commercial brass cleaner. We love Wrights Brass Polish which you can find at any grocery for under $5. Apply with a cloth, rinse and dry well.
If your brass jewelry has stones, do not let your polishing cloth or brass cleaner come into contact with the stones/pearls.
Knowledge is power, stay beautiful!