In order for your jewelry to remain shiny and looking like new, you have to take proper care of it. Don't neglect your favorite necklace or bracelet by simply wearing them non-stop and forgetting to clean them periodically. Cleaning your jewelry is an important step that should not be missed.
Different metals need different care instructions since they can react with outside elements in their own way. I've provided jewelry cleaning and care tips for various types of metals in previous blogs, but I now want to include all of this information in one comprehensive jewelry cleaning guide.
Gold, Sterling Silver and Filled Jewelry Care and Cleaning
- Be sure to store in a dry place. Sterling silver creates a layer of tarnish known as oxidation on its surface by reacting with moisture.
- Gold and rose gold filled jewelry can be treated the same as sterling silver. They are very durable, but will tarnish with certain chemical reactions.
- Fun fact: A chemical reaction between baking soda, boiling water and aluminum will dislodge the tarnish by making it bind with the aluminum, leaving the sterling silver clean and shiny again.
Cleaning steps to remove tarnish
- Line the inside of the bowl with a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side facing up.
- Heat 1 cup of water. (A minute or two in the microwave should do it.)
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water in the foil lined bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon each of salt, baking soda and dishwashing soap.
- Place your jewelry in the solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the jewelry from the bowl — carefully, because it might be hot — and rinse in cool water. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Brass and Copper Jewelry Care and Cleaning
- Copper reacts with oxygen, sweat and oils and can sometimes react to a person's skin and leave green marks. Copper reacts differently on everyone due to each person's body chemistry. Some people rarely experience the green marks while others always turn green.
- To minimize the chance of green marks on your skin, keep your copper jewelry clean and free of oil and sweat.
- Store copper in a cool and dry place. If you don’t have an anti-tarnish pouch, keep it in a resealable plastic bag.
- Wipe copper jewelry with soft cloth after each wear.
Cleaning - a few options
- Clean by soaking in lemon juice (with a dash of salt) for several minutes. Rinse and wipe with a clean cloth.
- Mix a few tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and rub the mixture in until the grime begins to come off. Then polish off with a clean cloth.
- Pour vinegar and salt over copper and rub until the tarnish is removed. Rinse and polish with a soft cloth.
- To create a super shine, dab on a little vegetable oil. Cover the copper and then wipe off excess oil.
- Fun fact: If you're out of vinegar, try using ketchup. The vinegar in the ketchup will help to clean it. Just rub on ketchup, let it sit for a few minutes (up to 20 minutes for more tarnish), rinse clean and dry thoroughly. To get in all nooks and crannies, create a ketchup and water "bath" to fully immerse. Again, be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly.
Gold, Rose Gold and Silver Plated Jewelry Care and Cleaning
- Store your plated jewelry in a dry area. Humidity can thin the plating and cause excessive tarnishing, so a bathroom is one of the worst places for storage.
- Avoid swimming, showering, and sweating while wearing your plated pieces.
- Never use any chemicals or abrasive pads to clean plated items because it will cause fading. Plating is much more delicate than pure metals.
- Just like cleaning chemicals, perfume’s chemicals can interact with the metal in plated jewelry. Always spray first, and then put on your favorite pieces of jewelry.
- To lightly clean and keep free of elements which can oxidize the metal, use a damp soft cloth, wipe gently and then use a clean towel to dry. Do not overwork the plated materials. You can “wear off” the plating.
Olive Yew sells necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings in a variety of metals. Hopefully, this information will give you the tools to maintain your jewelry for as long as you want to wear and enjoy it.
You can find more of Olive Yew's handmade jewelry on Etsy.