Jewelry Care 101

Jewelry Care 101

You've just bought your favorite piece of jewellery yet... Now how to make sure it stays at it's best for years to come? Don't worry, we've got ya covered with all the advice and cleaning tips you'll ever need.

Storing your jewellery

Almost all jewellery will tarnish when exposed to light and air - this includes both 925 sterling silver and plated pieces. While high karat Gold does not tarnish, the following storage advice is good practice to follow for all of your fine jewellery.
When you aren’t wearing your jewellery, it is best to store the pieces in an air-tight container, little bag or pouch out of exposure to light and air.  Storing them like this also keeps it from gathering dust or being covered by other contaminates that may be present in the air. It is also a good idea to store each item separately to keep your pieces from rubbing and scratching each other. This will keep your jewellery in the best shape possible for when you go to wear it next. 

Dealing with Tarnish on Sterling Silver

Perhaps you haven't worn your sterling jewellery for a while and you've noticed the original shine has started to fade, or maybe you've just had it a while and it's a well-loved piece. The great news is, tarnish is very easy to deal with and it doesn't take much to bring your sterling silver jewellery back to it's original bright shine.
Our favorite method is to use a gentle polishing cloth and good 'ol elbow grease. This method is safe to use on almost all 925 sterling silver and won't crack, damage or discolor any stones that may be in your jewellery. My personal favorite, and the cloth that I use in the studio on a regular basis is the Sunshine brand polishing cloth. At Argent Whimsy, we sell both the blue and yellow sunshine brand polishing cloths on the website store and you can learn more about both of those polishing cloths HERE
Another tried-and-true method for removing tarnish and dirt from your 925 sterling silver jewellery is a little science experiment you can try at home: Use a small heat proof bowl or cup and line the inside with aluminum foil. Place your jewellery in the bowl with a tablespoon or two of baking soda making sure that the jewellery is touching the foil. Bring water to a rolling boil and immediately pour it into the bowl with your jewellery in it. Tada! Wait 15 minutes for it to cool, remove and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry and allow to air dry completely before putting it away. 

Please note: Do not use this method with jewellery of unknown metals and gemstones. This method also removes all intended surface treatment to your jewellery. When in doubt, it is better to use a polishing cloth that this method.


Caring for your fine jewellery & general jewellery maintenance

In general, Jewellery doesn't react well to body creams, hand creams, perfumes, and hair spray. When you're getting ready in the morning (or in the evening for a night out on the town) putting your jewellery on should be the absolute last step before you're done. A lot of beauty products can cause your fine jewellery to tarnish faster or look dirty as the dirt particles in the air are more likely to cling to jewellery that has a layer of sticky cream or hair spray on it.

Another general rule of thumb is not to wear your jewellery in the bath, shower, or pool. Soap and body wash can leave a filmy residue on your jewellery which can make it look dull and the oils in many body washes will cause pieces, especially sterling silver, to tarnish very quickly. Also, chlorine from pools is very hard on precious metals and is known to cause pitting, porosity, and severe discoloration on even the best made gold and silver jewellery. 

To keep your engagement, wedding ring, or other gemstone ring sparkling, it is a good idea to clean your ring every few weeks. When your gemstone looks hazy or cloudy there’s likely dirt stuck underneath it. Clean it by soaking the ring in warm water and a few drops of hand soap or mild dishwashing detergent. Let sit for 30min and then gently scrub around the setting with a soft bristle baby toothbrush making sure to scrub under and around the setting. Rinse and pat dry. Don’t forget to cover the drain when cleaning! 

Other methods for cleaning gemstone jewllery include ultasonic cleaners which use soundwaves to clean the dirt particles off of your jewellery. Ultrasonic cleaners for home-use can be purchased on Amazon or through other similar retailers. While ultrasonic cleaners can be a really wonderful method of cleaning your jewellery, not all gemstones can withstand the heat and ultasonic vibrations, and you do need to be very careful if you choose to use this method. Never put Emeralds, Opals, Pearls, Amber, Tanzanite, Lapis-Lazuli, Turquoise, Coral or any gemstone that has been heat treated into an ultrasonic cleaner. Even heavily included diamonds can be at risk as the ultrasonic waves may cause the inclusions to break the diamond, or become more pronounced.