Each piece of jewellery I create has been handcrafted from quality materials including precious and base metals, crystals from Swarovski®, Preciosa glass beads, and genuine gemstones, which if cared for should last you a very long time.
Even 'fashion' or 'costume' jewellery that is flash plated can last well with care.
To keep your jewellery looking its very best it is important to remember the following;
- Put on your jewellery last when dressing and after applying creams or perfume / aftershave, making sure they are fully absorbed before doing so.
- Do not wear your jewellery in the bath, when sleeping or when exercising.
- Never wear your jewellery when swimming or in a hot tub. Chlorine can and will quickly tarnish silver or plated jewellery and ruin certain gemstones.
- Keep loose chains and pendants secure when near to or operating machinery that may catch them. You could be injured and the jewellery pulled into the machine.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners on jewellery.
- Keep jewellery carefully stored and separated.
- Keep chains fastened to avoid tangling.
Cleaning Your Jewellery
Plated jewellery can be cleaned using a soft cloth, not a silver or gold polish cloth as these are mildly abrasive and can rub off plating.
You will often see plated jewellery take on a tarnished or dirty appearance after extended wear. Usually a gentle clean with a soft tooth or nail brush and soapy water will remove this.
Be aware however that excessive cleaning will wear away the plated colour and reveal the metal underneath.
Plating is also susceptible to knocks and dings and continuous rubbing against clothing may also prematurely wear away the plated metal.
For Sterling Silver or Vermeil Jewellery you can safely use silver or gold polish cloths to clean, or a simple soft cloth. Gold or silver polish cloths usually contain an anti tarnishing agent which may reduce how quickly a piece tarnishes.
Although Vermeil is a form of plating as it is much thicker than flash plating it can withstand the use of polish, but be aware that it still is a plating, so eventually (usually after some years if cared for properly) you may start to see the sterling silver underneath the gold or rose gold.
Tarnishing is a naturally occurring chemical process that happens on the surface of various metals, but arguably it is most noticeable on Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper.
It is caused by surface exposure to air, moisture and can also a reaction to body chemistry.
Humid temperatures and leaving jewellery out in the open can cause rapid tarnishing, as can exposure to acidic solutions such as chlorine. You may find a dark mark left behind when wearing silver if your skin type is even slightly on the acidic pH scale. Unbalanced hormones, certain medication or ongoing illness can also cause rapid tarnishing.
Tarnished silver is dull and loses lustre, but it can be wiped off or polished away and is nothing to be concerned about.
It is recommended when storing Silver that you keep your jewellery in a ziplock bag with an anti tarnish strip which will drastically reduce the natural tarnishing that Silver experiences even when not being worn.
Always remember to renew your tarnish strips regularly if your jewellery is going to remain in storage for a long time.
Special Care Instructions
Take extra care when cleaning gemstone jewellery, especially with pearls, coral and turquoise as cleaning solutions can discolour them and ruin their finish.
Some dyed stones may also react with cleaning solutions, so care should be taken if submerging a dyed gem in cleaning solution.
Special care should be taken when cleaning Opals, as they are damaged by hydrofluoric acid and caustic alkaline solutions. You should never wear opals when swimming.
The only safe way to clean opal is with warm, soapy water. As opals are absorbent you should not submerge them in water and should keep contact to a minimum. After contact with water Opals may take on a cloudy appearance until they have fully dried out.
Ultrasonic Cleaners use ultrasound to agitate water or a cleaning fluid to clean jewellery placed in it.
While some gems are completely safe to clean this way you should NEVER put jewellery with the following stones in an ultrasonic cleaner:
Agate, Amber, Aquamarine (with feather or liquid inclusions), Bloodstone, Coral, Emerald, Hessonite (with liquid inclusions), Iolite, Ivory, Jade / Jadeite (if wax impregnated), Kunzite, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Moonstone,
Morganite (if it has many inclusions), Pearls, Peridot, Ruby (if fracture or cavity filled), Sapphire (if fracture or cavity filled), Shell, Spessartine (if has large or numerous inclusions), Star Ruby (if oiled or has fractures), Star Sapphire (if oiled or has fractures), Tanzanite, Topaz, Tortoise Shell, Tourmaline, Tsavorite (with liquid inclusions), Turquoise or Zircon.
Recommended Cleaning Products
I personally use the following products for cleaning my jewellery and find them to be excellent for maintaining lustre and shine.