Jewelry Care Tips will show you how to care for your jewelry like a professional. There is nothing worse than going to put on a favorite piece of jewelry and finding it dirty and tarnished.
All jewelry needs to be cleaned periodically but cleaning it the wrong way can destroy your jewelry.
How are you to know all the different cleaners and what they can safely clean? Jewelry Care Tips has the answers for you.
The first step to keeping your jewelry clean is preventive medicine…
A. Remove jewelry prior to applying lotions, creams, make-up, hair treatment including hairspray and before applying perfume. All of these items have chemicals in them including oils which cloud your jewelry. They cause other airborne particles to adhere to your jewelry.
B. Remove jewelry prior to swimming, bathing, cleaning house and doing yard work. Never wear rings when you are working with cleansers of any kind.
A. & B. are the two most important Jewelry Care Tips that the majority of people ignore.
Special Hint – Find a container that has a lid you can place your rings in and put one by each sink. That way your rings won’t get knocked off into the sink and down the drain.
C. Clean your necklaces each time you wear them by either wiping down with a soft cloth (T-shirt material) or using a drop of dawn dish soap on a damp cloth. Be sure to wipe again with damp cloth to remove soap residue. Dry by placing on a towel and gently tapping dry. Then lay on a paper towel to completely air dry. When dry place in zip lock bag to store. Do the same with your bracelets always be sure they have dried completely prior to storing.
D. DO NOT USE BLOW DRIER TO SPEED DRYING. It can cause humidity to build up in places you can’t see and if stored will affect metals. The heat can also affect the gemstones.
E. Silver jewelry can build up tarnish in a hurry and can become difficult to remove.
Using a commercial dip solution is fast but it is not the best because it can remove silver from your pieces. Instead try using plain hot water and a drop of Dawn dish soap.
Run the piece under hot water (not Opals) then put a drop of Dawn on your finger and rub on to silver. Let it set for a few minutes and rinse off with hot water. If it didn’t take it off evenly do it again. Dry your silver completely and polish with a Shine Brite Polishing Pad. Then place in a ziplock bag with an anti-tarnish tab. Squeeze the bag to remove all the air.
Goddards Long Term Silver Cloth is impregnated with a polishing compound and is available in most supermarkets.
You can just use a soft cloth to polish also but it will not have “polish” embedded in it to protect the silver.
Silver chains and silver pieces with out stones can be cleaned quickly and economically with a homemade green solution from jewelry care tips.
You need an aluminum pie pan (or foil), 1 tablespoon of salt & 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Pour hot water into pan (not boiling) add salt & baking soda stir to dissolve. Place silver in pan. Let the solution work for a bit and remove. Rinse and dry.
If the piece is badly tarnished you may need to do this more than once. Clean the pan by scrubbing with SOS pad and make a new solution. The aluminum pan grabs the tarnish so always start with a clean pan or foil.
If any tarnish remains clean with a polishing cloth.
Copper pieces: The fastest way to remove the tarnish is to place the piece in a small bowl and pour Orange juice over it. Regular 100% OJ will remove the tarnish in just a few minutes. Once it is clean dip it in a bowl with baking soda and warm water and agitate it around some. Remove and rinse with clear water then dry. Polish with a jewelry polishing cloth. Store in zip lock bag with an anti-tarnish strip.
F. Do not put Opals or Turquoise in any liquid to clean they absorb fluids and can crack when they swell or dry out. They should not be placed in a ultrasonic cleaner either.
G. Gold pieces: are best cleaned with warm water and a drop of Dawn dish soap. Rinse and dry as above and store in zip lock bag.
H. Gemstone settings: carefully clean both the top and underside with a very soft toothbrush and a drop of Dawn.
Be sure to rinse the piece first to remove any dust or surface dirt that may scratch the stone. Rinse well and dry and store in a ziplock bag.
I sound like I’m promoting Dawn (blue) Dish soap and zip lock bags. Any type of zipper bag works fine. The reason I recommend Dawn is because I have found it works the best. Other dish soaps don’t seem to have the same effect on tarnish.
Special note on Opals they are extremely delicate stones and are really not a good choice for a ring. Rings take a beating at times and hitting an Opal on a hard surface can fracture the stone so be very careful wearing an Opal ring. They are also very heat sensitive. Going from a warm building out to freezing weather can also shatter an Opal. If you’re wearing an Opal keep it covered next to your body so it can adjust to the temp. change.
Jewelry Care isn’t just about cleaning your jewelry you need to inspect it regularly also.
Prong settings take constant monitoring or you run the risk of losing your gemstones. The easiest way to check a setting is to run it over a piece of nylon hose (panty hose) if it snags look at the prongs under magnification to see if they have lifted or worn down. Place your finger on the stone and see if you can wiggle it. Either of these conditions call for a visit to jeweler or jewelry artist to have the setting checked and repaired.
Clasps: can come loose from the connecting jump rings so when cleaning check that jump rings or connectors aren’t pulling a part. Lobster claw clasps and other spring loaded clasp will wear down eventually and the springs can break. Checking these clasps is just a matter of pull the trigger back to see if it operates smoothly.
Any piece of jewelry that starts catching on clothing needs to be checked over closely to find the problem.
Jewelry Chains: Tangled chains are a pain in the neck to say the least. I’ve had clients bring me chains (7-10) all tangled up and ask me to untangle them. Its a slow process using a needle to work everything loose. Prevention is so much simpler!
Gather your silver chains & copper chains get a large zip lock bag and enough straws for each chain. Open the clasp and drop chain into straw bring up the end on the outside of straw and clasp it. Put your silver chains in one bag and copper in the other. Ad a anti-tarnish tab, squeeze the air from bag. No more tangles and no tarnish. Plus it keeps them organized, no more searching for that one chain. This works well with chain bracelets also, just cut the straw down to proper length. By storing this way you prevent tangles which can lead to broken chains. Preventing damage to your jewelry is the best jewelry care there is.
Beaded Jewelry: Wiping with a damp cloth should clean any body oils and dust from beads. Dry with soft T shirt material. Then check the end of the bead wire or thread for any damage of fraying. Check jump rings to be sure they are not pulling a part.
If you find jump rings that are opening you need to close them again. To do this you will need two pair of pliers. Wrap tape around end of pliers so they don’t scratch the metal. Holding the jump ring with both pliers wiggle the ends in opposite directions once or twice. Then line them back up. Don’t try to just push the ends back together. Wiggle back and forth until the cap closes up and they touch each other. Your just wiggling a fraction of an inch or you’ll break to jump ring.
If your necklace is beaded on thread of some type it will start to break down that thread and will need to be restrung. When you have it restrung ask to have beading wire used instead of thread.
Or you can restring it yourself. Pick up some 19 strand beading wire and a package of scrimps. Start at one end and just slide the beads from one to the other. Put a piece of tape on the one end so you don’t push the beads off. Once they all are on the wire run a scrimp down the wire then loop wire back through scrimp and tighten screw. Add the clasp and do the other end.
Earrings: It seems like losing one is the biggest problem so always check that your post has a tight fitting back. If you wear ear wires and have trouble with some of them falling out the best way to prevent this is to get the clear rubber backs that hold these earring to cards. Put the ear wire in and then slide the clear back up the wire to the back of your ear. They are usually pretty tight so it takes a bit to work them up against your ear.
Its a good practice to get in the habit of cleaning your posts and wires with alcohol each time you wear them.
I store my earrings in zip lock bags to keep them from tangling or losing one of a pair. I should probably have bought stock in one of these zipper bag companies……
Rhinestone Jewelry: Jewelry Artist sometimes incorporate rhinestones into their designs and often times use Silver or Gold or filled in the design. Vintage rhinestone jewelry was made with base metals that would loose the coating off the metal over time.
Jewelry Artists have upgraded rhinestone jewelry buy the use of precious metals and when cared for properly these pieces can last a lifetime.
DO NOT clean with water or any chemicals it will damage the rhinestones. Wipe the stones with a cloth lightly dipped in alcohol. It will clean the stones and make then sparkle again.
Check settings often to be sure the stones are tight and you have no snagging prongs or wires.
Jewelry Care becomes minimal when jewelry is properly stored in plastic zip lock bags with anti-tarnish strips and chains in straws inside of bag with anti-tarnish strips you’ll protect everything from scratches and tarnish.
If you remember to remove your jewelry as mentioned above and don’t subject it to chemicals and fluids it will last much longer and take less time cleaning.
I know a lot of women like to hang their jewelry on a display rack either wall hung or set on a dresser. I don’t feel this is a good practice for many reasons.
First of all the dust that floats around are homes and settles on furniture will settle on your jewelry also. If you cook and prepare food in your home as most of us do you have air borne grease and other particles that will deposit themselves on furniture and jewelry.
If you are hanging necklaces the weight of the piece is going to pull on the area it is hung from. This will cause the fibers the necklace is strung on to stretch. Wire even stretches. This just breaks down the necklace and will eventually cause it to break.
Earrings should be cleaned prior to wearing if they are displayed this way. Think about the dust and oils building up on the ear wires, do you want to put that in your ears?
That about covers the basic jewelry care tips. I’ll be writing pages soon on Pearls, Turquoise and other gemstones which will include their special care tips.