Jewelry Care: Cleaning and Storage
Most of us have lots of different kinds of jewelry we’ve collected over the years, from various stages of our lives. We want to care for all of it, but it can be confusing to know how and when to clean and store these precious items. I’ve created a list of some great tips for you to follow, including different metals and gemstones.
- NOTE: light and heat can have an affect on gemstones over time, including durability and color, so be aware of where you’re storing these. Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, light and heat can affect a colored gemstones durability and color. Over time, and in excess, they can also fade or damage some gemstones, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos. Pearls and other delicate materials, such as ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light.
- Chemical exposure can damage and tarnish most gemstones. Hairspray, cosmetics, perfumes and lotions can damage the surface of pearls and more porous stones like turquoise. You want to make sure to regularly clean your jewelry, so items like the Labradorite and Turquoise Bohem pictured below, last longer and maintain their original beauty.
- Most gemstones can be cleaned with warm water and mild dish soap (with no detergents).
- Pearls and other soft gems can be gently cleaned using warm, soapy water on a makeup brush. They should be dried on a towel, and not moved until completely dry as wet silk thread can stretch.
- Diamonds can be cleaned the same way as gold. Use 1 part mild dish soap to 5 parts warm water, soak for 3 hours. Rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth. Then shine it up with a polishing cloth.
- One of my favorite methods is Sunshine Polishing Cloth. They are inexpensive and easy to use for cleaning and shining up sterling silver pieces, as well as cubic zirconia and many gemstones.
- Silver should be kept in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth for storage.
- In addition to being hypoallergenic and low-tarnish, Argentium silver is also very low maintenance. It’s why I love this metal so much, and use it exclusively in my jewelry designs. For cleaning, you can simply wipe down with a soft cloth to clean fingerprints, etc. For more in-depth cleaning, wash with warm, soapy water, rinse and dry immediately to avoid any water marks. That’s it!
- Store your Argentium pieces in a soft cloth, plastic bag, or jewelry box to maintain its look.
- Gold doesn’t tarnish like most metals, but can become dirty over time. For cleaning, make a solution of 1 part mild dish soap to 5 parts warm water. soak for 3 hours. Rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth. Then shine it up with a polishing cloth. The good news is you can clean gold, like the Golden Dangle Earrings shown below as often as you’d like, whenever you feel it's needed.
- Cleaning costume jewelry is different because these pieces are typically plated with gold or silver and various parts are glued. You can use a drop of baby shampoo in water to clean, but do so with something very soft, like a cotton swab. Also be careful to use as little liquid as possible.
I hope this helps you care for all your beautiful things, but please reach out to me if you have questions. I'm also available for custom pieces, if you're interested in having something one-of-a-kind. You can message me here: leasmithdesigns.com