Caring for Jewelry

CARING FOR STERLING SILVER

Clean your sterling silver jewelry with a soft 100% cotton (nub free) cloth or flannel cloth and gently rub off any excess makeup. Remember, silver is a very soft metal and you can scratch it if you aren't careful so don't rub it too briskly. Never use anything but a clean 100% cotton or a special sterling silver cleaning cloth (a popular choice is Sunshine Polishing Cloth) or very soft bristle brush, like a baby’s tooth brush or a horsehair silver brush. Paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics that can cause tiny scratches in the surface of your fine sterling silver jewelry. Dirt left over from previous cleanings can scratch the surface as well.

Note: We recommend that you don’t use silver dips for removing oxidation from your silver jewelry as it will leave microscopic pits causing it to darken faster. Instead, focus on preventative care by storing your jewelry in a closed box or plastic baggy as silver will tarnish when exposed to air.

CARING FOR RHODIUM PLATED SILVER

Clean rhodium plated silver with warm water and a mild liquid soap (like ivory dishwashing soap). Rinse and dry with a soft polishing cloth immediately to avoid mineral residue from the water.

Never use any chemicals on your rhodium items. Never use toothpaste and never brush with a toothbrush. Don't use polishing cloths that are intended for use on uncoated silver or for gold jewelry. Don't place in an ultrasonic cleaner. Never use abrasives of any kind. Never use silver dips. Never use ammonia-based products. If you have an antique or heirloom, don't clean it without consulting an expert on your item.

CARING FOR GOLD

Gold doesn’t tarnish, but it can be dirtied or dulled by the oils in your skin, body lotion, makeup or other substances. There are lots of products out there that promise to clean gold, but you can do it easily with mild detergent and a soft cloth.

Mix a squeeze of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Put the gold item into the soap mixture and let sit for a few minutes. Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the jewelry. Remove item from soapy water, rinse it and dry thoroughly with a soft polishing cloth.

CARING FOR GOLD PLATING

Keep gold-plated jewelry away from hard surfaces. Bumps and scratches will cause the gold layer to wear away faster. Store your gold-plated jewelry in a velvet lined jewelry box, or wrap it in a soft material that will prevent scratches. Lightly wipe your gold-plated jewelry with a damp cotton cloth. This will help to eliminate any dirt or dust from accumulating on the surface and wearing away the gold layer. Use a non-abrasive jewelry polishing cloth and gently rub the gold-plated jewelry to restore shine. You can also take the gold-plated jewelry to a local jeweler where they can replace the gold layer. This may be necessary if the gold-plating has already started to wear off. Check with your local jeweler to see what they charge for this service

CARING FOR GEMSTONES

Gemstones are quite literally hard as rock, buy they can be damaged from careless handling and negligence. Here are some tips for keeping your gems and jewelry looking fabulous for years to come.

Remember, even the hardest gemstone variety can be vulnerable to breakage if it has inclusions that weaken the crystal structure. Exercise common sense: if you have a ring set with a softer gem variety or an included stone, take it off before strenuous exercise. Even the hardest gem of them all, the diamond, can shatter in two with a single well-placed blow.

Never remove rings by pulling on the stone: that habit may result in a loose, then lost, gem. Most importantly, store each piece of gemstone jewelry separately so that harder stones don’t scratch softer ones. Almost every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw your jewelry in a heap in a drawer or jewelry box.

Rings in particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the gem, especially if worn often. You need to clean them regularly to let the light in so your gems can shine. To clean transparent crystalline gemstones, simply soak them in water with a touch of gentle dish soap. Use a bowl of water rather than the sink to eliminate the risk of anything going down the drain. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone. Rinse the soap off and pat dry with a lint-free cloth (you want to make sure threads won't catch on the prongs).

Think twice before putting gems in an ultrasonic cleaner. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires will be fine but many other gems many not be, in particular emerald, opal, pearls, peridot: when in doubt, leave it out.

Organic gems like pearls, coral, and amber should only be wiped clean with moist cloth. Due to their organic nature, these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume: they can, over time, damage pearls in particular. Opals also require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never use ammonia, and avoid heat and strong light. Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, require special care because they are rocks, not crystals of a single mineral like transparent gems. These gem materials should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, and they may build up inside the stone and discolor it. Never use and ultrasonic cleaner and never use ammonia or any chemical solution.

CARING FOR STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel jewelry won't rust but it can tarnish over time. Steel jewelry does not tarnish as fast as silver jewelry but the rate of tarnishing depends on how its used. As with any jewelry it is best to avoid contact with chemicals (lotions, chlorine from pools etc.) in order to keep it cleaner longer. Steel jewelry is easy to clean, you can use mild dishwashing liquid (two or three drops in warm water will do) and wipe it down with a soft cloth. Steel jewelry is very durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, as opposed to silver which is a very soft metal.

CARING FOR BRASS

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will naturally tarnish when exposed to oxygen. Some people like the patina of tarnished brass and the tarnish is actually a protective layer for the brass, but if you want to get the shine of the new brass it's pretty easy to do, using brass cleaning products or with some typical household products.

  • Hot Water. First, wash off the brass jewelry in hot water with a mild soap to see how much dirt will come off easily. If it doesn't seem to make a difference, don't worry: it's time to try either a commercial brass cleaner or a natural alternative.
  • Brass Cleaners. At the store, you should be able to find a cleaner that is made especially for cleaning brass. Follow the directions and be careful if there are any stones in your piece of jewelry—they might not handle the harshness of the cleaner well and could be ruined.
  • Clean Naturally
  • If the tarnish isn't too pervasive take about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add drops of lemon juice - from concentrate is fine - until you have a nice paste. The lemon juice will bubble and fizz as you add, don't worry it'll stop after a second or two. Take an old toothbrush and apply the paste to your piece and scrub. Let it sit in the paste for about 30 minutes and then rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly.
  • If the piece is heavily tarnished or the above doesn't work, you can place the piece in vinegar and let it soak for 30-60 minutes and then scrub it with an old toothbrush. Once clean, rinse it with water. This cleaning method is more aggressive and may leave the piece more "raw" looking - it won't have as warm of color until the patina rebuilds.

 

Oils from your skin and the oxygen in the air are what accelerate tarnishing. If you want to slow the tarnish process, wipe the piece with a soft cotton rag after wearing and store in a plastic bag with an anti-tarnishing strip. You should have received one of these with your piece.