Today I learned about how to extend the life of costume and fine jewelry. I had bought these earrings a few months ago and wore them once then went back to wear them a couple of weeks ago only to discover they were tarnished :( I was devastated.
Anyway, I went to the store and the Manager was a total savior:
1) He introduced me to this amazing product called Goddard's silver dip that was great for removing tarnish on silver jewelry. He dipped the tarnished part into the solution and presto the earrings were looking brand new! He suggested I wipe them with rubbing alcohol before I wear them.
2) He suggested that I store my jewelry with a piece of paper in a ziploc bag, that way the paper absorbed the moisture rather than the jewelry. Acid free tissue paper is the recommended type of paper.
Some other useful tips on caring for jewelry on Bernardine.com :
- Always use 100% cotton as a polishing cloth since paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics.
- Always remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any product that contains bleach. This includes swimming pools and bathing in hot tubs as chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria growth. Besides chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and ammonia can cause harm.
- Never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean metal or stones.
- When using specially purchased jeweler's cloths to keep your jewelry clean and shiny, be sure to use fresh cloths for each use since there may be dirt and grit left on the cloth from previous use.
Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning some jewelry but they can damage many gemstones and the chemicals are not recommended for pearls and many other fine stones. Repeated use can also loosen the settings and you could lose your precious gems.
Other Common Chemicals and Solutions to Avoid
Besides chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and ammonia can cause harm. These chemicals can dull or even pit the surface on softer gemstones. Petroleum based products can actually "melt" amber if allowed to remain on the stone and they can do significant damage to pearls.
Gems requiring special care:
Opals require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never use chemicals and avoid heat. Don't put your opal ring on the window sill when washing your hands or the dishes as strong sunlight can dry out the water in opals which could cause hazing or color change.
Pearls. Protect from scratches; perfumes and household chemicals which can wear away the nacre or cause color change.
Soft stones like lapis, malachite, turquoise, amber and opals can easily be scratched by pin stems and the edges of other jewelry. Protect pieces with these gemstones by wrapping them in jeweler's tissue and storing separately.