How to Clean & Care For Your Jewelry
Here on the Mexican Silver Store blog, we’ve talked a lot about our favorite gemstones and pieces of jewelry. Today, however, we’re going to do something a little different. We’ll share our best tips for how you can clean and care for your jewelry.
Let’s get started!
What’s the best way to care for your jewelry if it’s made of silver? Wear it often! For most people, the natural oils in your skin protect silver from tarnishing. But what should you do if you know you’re not going to be wearing a piece for a few months– or even longer?
Your best bet will be to store your jewelry in an airtight container with <a href="https://www read here.amazon.com/3M-Anti-Tarnish-Paper-Tabs-Square/dp/B009YKA106″>anti-tarnish strips. This helps protect your silver jewelry if you know you won’t wear it for awhile. Silca gel (those packets that come in shoe boxes) or even a piece of chalk, can help reduce tarnish.
It’s important to remember that silver is a relatively soft metal. You should store pieces in individual containers to keep them from scratching against one another.
To Help Prevent Tarnishing Your Silver, Don’t:
- Expose silver to cleaning chemicals, rubber, chlorinated water (like in a swimming pool) or sulfurous foods (like eggs or onions).
- Let hairspray, lotions, shampoo or other cosmetics come into contact with your favorite pieces.
Did You Know…
- In some cases, your skin might actually make your silver tarnish faster! It all depends on your body’s unique chemistry.
- Climate also plays a huge role in how fast your silver jewelry tarnishes. For example, the salt in the air in a beach locale will increase the rate at which silver jewelry tarnishes.
In other words, it’s tough to predict how fast silver jewelry will tarnish and there are many factors at play!
How to Clean Silver Jewelry
If your silver is just a little tarnished or discolored, a simple polishing may be all that’s needed! Use a soft microfiber cloth, like one that’s meant for sunglasses. Gently rub along the silver’s grain and you should see a big improvement.
When Cleaning Silver, Don’t:
- Rub in a circular motion against the silver’s natural grain.
- Use a tissue paper or paper towel. The fibers in these products can cause scratches!
- Use commercial silver cleaners. They can be toxic and can damage your jewelry. If your jewelry is really tarnished, take it to a local jeweler for a professional cleaning.
Gold jewelry can be very delicate! Gold is a very soft metal that’s very susceptible to scratching. That’s why taking good care of your jewelry requires a gentle touch. Just like silver, polish your gold jewelry with only a soft cloth. Store your gold jewelry in a padded jewelry box and don’t allow pieces to rub together. This will help minimize scratching.
If your gold jewelry looks dull or dingy, don’t worry! Gold is very easy to clean.
- Make a mixture of 1 part dish soap to 5 parts warm water.
- Let your jewelry soak for a few hours.
- Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away any dirt or grime.
- Rinse your gold jewelry in clean, hot water.
- Use a microfiber cloth (an old piece of flannel shirt works well) to dry your gold jewelry.
Tips For Keeping Gold Jewelry Sparkling
- Don’t wear gold into the shower. Soap can leave a film on gold making it look dull.
- Don’t wear gold when swimming in a pool or hot tub. Chlorine can permanently damage gold!
- Don’t wear gold jewelry when cleaning your home with bleach. Just like pool water, the chlorine in bleach can make your gold change colors!
Copper is commonly used in traditional Mexican jewelry. It’s shiny and beautiful, but it also tarnishes easily. At first, your copper jewelry will be bright and shiny, like a new penny! Over time it will develop a patina as it’s exposed to the air, humidity, and your skin’s oils. Depending on your style, you may actually like the unique patina that develops! However, if you prefer bright copper jewelry, don’t worry, it’s easy to restore the original luster.
The patina and tarnish on copper jewelry is the result of a chemical reaction. To remove it, you just have to reverse that reaction! Mix a bit of lemon juice and table salt in warm water in a bowl. Then gently swirl your copper jewelry in the mixture. Rinse it off and use a soft cloth to finish drying your piece.
Copper Cleaning Tips
- Don’t ever use silver polish on copper. It will cause ugly scratches!
- If your copper jewelry was treated to create a patina, don’t polish it!
- Store your copper jewelry in airtight containers to minimize corrosion and tarnishing.
In our gemstone guide series, we’ve talked about opals, turquoise, amethyst, amber, and many other stones found in traditional Mexican silver jewelry. Generally, gemstones don’t require much care beyond an occasional light polishing with a soft cloth.
To Care For Your Jewelry Avoid Heat & Direct Sunlight
Surprisingly, even though many gemstones are millions of years old, they can still be damaged by the sun! Opals, amber, and other gemstones can be discolored by direct sunlight.
Avoid Contact With Household Cleaners
When you’re doing chores around the house, don’t wear gemstones like rubies, turquoise, or amethyst. Harsh chemicals can be rough on precious stones and minerals, causing them to change colors– sometimes permanently.
Treat Gemstones Gently
Because of their crystalline structure, gemstones can be very strong but also brittle. Emeralds, rubies, turquoise, and other cut gemstones can fracture when banged against a hard surface. Even popular “ultrasonic” gemstone cleaners can cause chips and cracks.
Ask a Jeweler
If you have a piece that contains a variety of mixed gemstones, it can be difficult to know how to clean it. Ask an experienced local jeweler for his or her advice. Plus, it’s good to have a relationship with a jeweler you trust for when you need emergency repairs for your favorite pieces!
Care For Your Jewelry… But Make Sure to Wear It too!
In our opinion, the best thing you can do with your jewelry is to enjoy wearing it! Our traditional Mexican silver jewelry is designed to be worn and enjoyed! If you’re gentle and follow the tips outlined in today’s post, your pieces will look great for years to come!