Oh, how we love our jewelry! We especially love wearing it when it's brand new and shiny and sparkly . But over time, it can get dirty, and tarnished, and become just plain ICK!
Just like you, your jewelry needs a little pampering and tender loving care. So here are some of my favorite jewelry care and cleaning tips to help keep your jewelry in ready-to-wear condition.
Don't Store It, Wear It
Wear it! No, really, I know it sounds simple, but jewelry is meant to be worn. If you wear it, it will not tarnish as quickly because your body oils actually help protect it. If you just let it sit in a box (or on the top of your dresser like I do) it will surely tarnish.
Beware of Chemicals
Chemicals are everywhere. But one of the big ones is chlorine, found in swimming pools and hot tubs. Chlorine can discolor precious metals and often cause damage to gemstones and pearls. So, take your jewelry off before you enter into either of these bodies of water if you want it to last. And this goes for cleaning products too. If you plan on cleaning with chemicals, remove your rings. You don't want to know what a pearl or turquoise looks like after it has been submerged in bleach.
Your Jewelry Doesn't Need a Shower Every Day
I know we all have special pieces we wear all the time and very rarely take off. But did you know that the soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, body lotions, and perfume can effect our jewelry? Jewelry should be taken off before you shower, and should be the last thing you put on after applying any body lotions, perfume, or hairspray.
Remove Jewelry Before Sleeping
Remove it after daily wear. The last thing you need is to wake up and find your hair tangled in your necklace or earrings, or your ring or bracelet caught on your bedding.
Polish It Every So Often
There are a couple of ways you can clean your jewelry. First, you should hand-polish it every so often with a soft jeweler’s polishing cloth. These cloths are made for cleaning jewelry gently by removing tarnish and restoring the metal's luster. Plus, these cloths are gentle on stones. My favorite jeweler’s polishing cloths are Sunshine Cloths. Don’t have one but need one? You can get one by clicking here.
Deep Cleaning Does Wonders
Does your jewelry need a deeper cleaning? Look no further than your kitchen. To help restore shine to you gold and silver jewelry, soak the pieces in a solution of warm water and a few drops of gentle liquid dish soap. Let the jewelry sit in the solution for 3-5 minutes and then lightly scrub with a clean soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt or oils. Rinse the pieces under warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth. After you let them dry completely, you’ll have your sparkly jewels back. CAUTION – do not do this to jewelry set with porous gemstones such as pearls, shells or turquoise. Clean these with a polishing cloth (see above.)
Check the Stone Settings
Every so often inspect stones and settings. Does anything seem loose or chipped? If so, stop wearing it and take it to a jeweler before it's too late.
How To Detangle Chains
Tangled necklace and bracelet chains happen to everyone. And if you don't get these knots out soon, they can distort and even break the chain. Straight pins are my favorite tools to detangle chains. Place the tangled chain on a flat, sturdy surface with the ends unclasped. Stick the pins in the knot and gently tug back and forth to loosen the knot. Once it's loose, gently and carefully detangle the chain.
JEWELRY STORAGE TIPS
Keep Them Separated
Storing silver and gold jewelry next to one another is a no-no. Sterling silver tarnishes, and if it's sitting next to gold, it can help tarnish the gold jewelry over time too. The best thing to do is keep them in separate containers.
Earring posts are notorious for scratching gemstones and sometimes even metals that they come in contact with. Place earrings in their own container to prevent their posts from scratching other jewelry.
Ziploc Bags to the Rescue
One of the best ways to prevent jewelry from tarnishing is to store it in a jewelry box. Don’t have a jewelry box? Use a plastic Ziploc bag . No, they are not sexy, but trust me, these bags will keep your jewelry clean and they keep humidity out. And humidity is your jewelry's enemy because it helps jewelry tarnish faster.
For the Love of Flannel
As mentioned above, silver needs to be kept away from high humidity otherwise it will tarnish quicker. If you tuck pieces of flannel in with your silver jewelry, it will actually prevent the tarnishing process.
Flannel is what they line most jewelry boxes with. It's also what a lot of those jewelry anti-tarnishing cloths are made of. So, if you have an old flannel shirt that you are thinking of tossing, think again. Cut it up and put little pieces of it in with your jewelry. Your jewelry will thank you, and you'll be recycling!
So there you go! Now go spring clean your jewelry collection and start wearing it again. It will thank you with plenty of sparkle and shine!