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Home > Jewelry Care 101

Jewelry Care 101

CARING FOR STERLING SILVER - Over time, sterling silver will tarnish.

Give your charms and pendants some T.L.C.!
-- Keep clean and ready to wear by gently wiping off excess make-up and skin oils after each wearing.
-- Store jewelry separately so they don’t tangle or scratch.
-- To help prevent tarnish on sterling silver pieces, wrap the piece in tissue paper and place it inside a plastic zip lock bag and seal.
-- Remember to always remove your jewelry before using any product that contains bleach! Avoid wearing them in swimming pools and hot tubs.
-- Protect your jewelry from harsh chemicals, sunlight and extreme temperatures.
-- A general rule of thumb for silver jewelry: it should be the last thing put on before leaving the house, and the first thing removed when returning home.

What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is a metal containing at least 92.5% silver. This is the legal standard of purity set by the assay offices in Britain.

What Causes Silver to Tarnish?
All sterling silver naturally tarnishes....
A few things will speed this process are:
- Applying hair color, permanent solution, etc. while wearing your jewelery
- Showering with your jewelry on
- Body Lotions (Applying any of these after you've put on your jewelry
- Perfume, Hair Spray, Sun Tan Lotion, Oils)
- Physical Activities (Sweat)
- Never Taking It Off (dirt build-up)
- Exposure to Air
- Jumping in a chemically-treated pool ...

ALWAYS take your Jewelry off before entering a swimming pool or whirlpool & rinse off before placing your silver back on your body!!!

Cleaning Your Solid Sterling Silver
Sterling silver will naturally tarnish with time.
To clean your silver jewelry use a high quality sterling silver cleansing dip found in most stores for only a few bucks and lasts for years... Or make your own... Recipe Below.

Jewelry with sandblast, brushed, cross-scratched and dazzle finishes should not be cleaned with a silver cloth, but by using warm soapy water and a soft brush.

Store individual pieces separately to avoid scratching.

Protect by wrapping in soft fabric (actually in a plastic zip-bag works best!!!) and store in a cool, dry place.

Avoid contact with chemicals, perfume, hairspray and deodorant.

To bring back sparkle from faceted gemstones use warm water, dish washing liquid and a soft toothbrush. Soak and brush inside the back of the setting and rinse.

To maintain the condition of your jewelry remove when bathing, swimming or when undertaking manual work.

Don't forget to rinse off after swimming before putting your jewelry back on!!

-- Your sterling silver jewelry should be worn and enjoyed… your body oils help prevent tarnishing!!

When they do tarnish, The best way to clean solid sterling silver charms is by quickly dipping (NOT SOAKING) in a Liquid Silver Cleanser specifically designed for Sterling Silver, and then rinse with water and let dry on or gently wipe with a cloth.

Another very simple way is using what you probably already have in your kitchen. Take a small bowl that will hold about a quart of water and line it with aluminum foil. Add hot water and a tablespoon of Tide washing powder (not liquid or with bleach) and stir. Place your jewelry in the solution for about 1 minute and rinse with clean water and air dry.

Another Cleansing Bath Recipe :
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 piece aluminum foil

    1. Heat water in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. You want the water very warm, but not scalding hot.
    2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that roughly covers the bottom of a small glass or porcelain bowl (like a cereal bowl -- don't use a metal bowl).
    3. Pour hot water into bowl.
    4. Place salt, soda, and dish washing liquid into bowl. Place jewelry on top of foil and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
    5. Rinse jewelry in water and let dry completely -- or gently use a soft cloth to dry.
    -- Discard solution after use and make a new batch next time.

    Another cleaning trick is to place in ammonia (NOT bleach) & gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Not recommended for items containing soft stones such as: Lapis, Malachite, Coral, etc. (see below).

    If you have a build-up of dirt in hard to reach places, just put a little dish washing liquid in a bowl of water and soak over night. This will usually loosen the dirt enough that it will release itself from the jewelry, if this does not work, use a soft tooth brush to loosen the dirt and soak it again. To keep your jewelry from tarnishing when not being worn, store it wrapped in a soft cloth and placed in a zip lock plastic bag.

    We highly recommend gently cleaning your Jewelry with Gemstones with a polishing cloth and storing your jewelry in a jeweler’s zip lock bag to prevent tarnish. Soft cloths and tissue may also be used. Gemstones should be kept away from harsh chemicals, cleaning detergents and heat. Some stones can be permanently damaged if cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner: amber, coral, turquoise, lapis, opal, pearl. We have found the best cleaner that is safe for your gemstones to be Hagerty Silversmith’s Spray Polish.

    What causes silver to tarnish is air.
    When it is not in use, the more you can keep it sealed the less it will tarnish (thus store in a plastic zip-lock as mentioned above!).