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 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 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.
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.