Show Your Jewelry Some Love
CONFESSION: I own A LOT of jewelry. I’m finally getting it reorganized and realizing some pieces have fallen between the caretaking cracks. After seeing friends’ collections, I bet this is something you can relate to.
Treat it like the work of art it is by wearing it proudly AND taking care of it after you take it off. Jewelry will look great for a lifetime if you follow these simple steps.
Standards for Everything
New or old, brass or silver, follow these tips to keep every piece inside your jewelry box fresh and clean,
- Last On First Off: Jewelry is the LAST thing to put on. Apply lotion, deodorants, perfumes, hairspray, and all other products before putting on jewelry. After the day is over and before you shower or wash up, take that jewelry off FIRST!
- Avoid Water: Do not shower, take a bath, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming with jewelry on. The excess water, regardless of chlorine, salt, and mineral content, will cause tarnish and damage many stones.
- Forget the Gym: Workouts are for you, not your jewels! Sweat will cause tarnish and gripping weights can wear down rings. Take off everything before you exercise (even earrings) and store them inside a soft pouch.
Silver Jewelry Care
Did you know most silver jewelry you own is a special kind of silver called Sterling? I hand cut each letter for Letter Charm Necklace from Sterling Silver because it's beautiful and tough.
Sterling is an alloy that is comprised of 92.5% pure silver (called this fine silver in jeweler lingo) and 7.5% copper. Copper gives Sterling Silver strength but does cause tarnish over a lifetime of wear. Keep silver jewelry looking beautiful by following the guidance above and by periodically cleaning it using a silver friendly cleaning cloth.
Wipe away tarnish with a favorite mini polishing square or buy a larger cloth for big pieces.
Brass Jewelry Care
I’ve been calling brass the new gold for years. It has that golden look like its the real 14 karat thing but has a WAY better price point that won’t break the bank.
Not everyone likes how brass naturally tarnishes or patinas (more jewelry nerd lingo). Luckily, with the right tools and a little elbow grease, you can keep it bright and shiny. Brass is a close sibling to copper. It is a copper alloy of copper and zinc. In jewelry, it is known as red brass, NuGold, Merlin's gold, and jeweler’s bronze and is 85% copper and 15% zinc. Zinc makes brass hard and sturdy. Follow the standard care routine mentioned above ^^ and when tarnish becomes visible, lightly buff the surface in a circular motion using a mini polishing square.
If a brass piece becomes very dirty, grab a soft toothbrush, dish soap, and warm water to help break up and surface dirt. Make sure to dry the metal to keep the clean surface stable.
This DIY approach is great for continued care. If you have a piece (or let’s be honest, more than one) that is darkened by tarnish and no longer looking its best, send it back to my shop for deep cleaning.
Steel Jewelry Care
You may already know I’m a big fan of steel jewelry. Steel comes in dozens of varieties and sports the best black color of any metal. We darken our steel jewelry by heating it and sealing it with vegetable-based oil. Naturally occurring oils on the skin do a pretty great job of maintaining steel jewelry. If you are looking to brighten the metal up, use a polishing cloth on your steel piece. If you want to restore the black surface that faded with time, send us a message and we’ll hook you up with our blackening service.
Gold Fill and Gold Plated Jewelry Care
Gold-filled is not the same as gold plate and they require a different level of finesse to maintain. Gold-filled jewelry has more than 5% total gold content while gold plate is only 1 micron thick. Yep, that’s as tiny as it sounds.
Both require gentle care. Gold-filled metal is thick enough to not need much attention beyond routine care, a dry environment, and thoughtful storage. In contrast, gold plated jewelry can chip or wear off if handled too aggressively. Use a soft microfiber cloth to buff gold treated jewelry. If the gold has worn away, contact us to have it sent back for a fresh layer of plating.
With this know-how and the right gear in hand, your jewelry will keep looking good as new. Don't have the tools you need? Grab a Polishing Kit that is stocked with my favorite buffing and polishing cloths. Take a few minutes with each piece you own and see what needs some love. Happy cleaning!