How To Care For Your 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 CUBIC ZIRCONIA
Use a cotton or flannel cloth to wipe your jewelry clean. A special jewelry polishing cloth would be perfect (a popular choice is Sunshine Polishing Cloth). Using straight, back and forth strokes, polish your jewelry and remove any surface dirt and dust. Do not rub in a circular motion as that can scratch the surface of your jewelry. Then use a cleaning solution to remove grime and dirt.
Just like a diamond, a cubic zirconia can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Use a soft, cosmetic applicator to reach crevices. However, if you wish, you can use a trusted jewelry cleaner to remove any dirt and dust from your zirconium.
Steam your CZ jewelry. Using a teakettle or any other method that produces steam, hold your jewelry directly over the steam stream to loosen dirt. You should wear gloves and use tongs or needle-nose pliers to avoid burns. Once steamed, use your polishing cloth to dry your jewelry.
Clean your jewelry with an ultrasonic cleaner. These units are inexpensive and nice to have if you own a lot of CZ jewelry. Store your jewelry in an airtight, sealable plastic bag. If this is not possible, store your jewelry in a lined jewelry box, away from the outside air.
CARING FOR PEARLS
Pearls are very soft and need special care and attention. You should never store your pearls in a jewelry box next to other jewelry as the box and other pieces of jewelry can damage the pearls by scratching and nicking. Instead keep your pearl in a fabric lined box or fabric pouch.
Skin produces acids that can harm your pearls, so if worn regularly pearls should be wiped down with a soft cloth after every wearing. A pearl necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin that will eat into the pearl causing it to lose its luster. Wiping pearls off with either a wet or dry soft cloth will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the nacre. You can also use a drop of olive oil on your cleansing cloth to help maintain your pearls’ luster.
Along with being soft and easily scratched, pearls can be damaged by chemicals and heat. Only use jewelry cleaners that are clearly marked safe for pearls. Never use ultrasonic cleansers, dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers. Never use toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials to clean your pearls. Always take off your pearls before using any cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume and avoid heat and dry air because both can cause pearls to turn brown, dry out, and crack.
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 VERMEIL
Vermeil simply means gold plating over sterling silver. Sterling silver beads can be gold plated. It is a good way to incorporate the look of gold at a fraction of the cost, especially for beads. You can clean gold vermeil by washing the jewelry in warm soapy water. Use lukewarm water (not hot as it can crack some stones) and a couple drops of non-film leaving dish soap (not antibacterial). Use a soft toothbrush to get into tight places. Rinse and dry with a soft polishing cloth immediately to avoid mineral residue from the water.
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 GOLD FILLING
Wipe your jewelry carefully with a soft cloth to keep it clean. The best way to clean in places that a polishing cloth will not reach to 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. 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 overnight.
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.