Last week I receive a necklace from an old friend in the post, a very dirty necklace of which the owner definitely needs some advice about cleaning jewelry!
She wants it altered and whether I can make something nice out of this precious piece of jewelry again. Of course, I can and I am happy to. But when I open the parcel I see a very very dirty necklace. And there is no way that I make a new necklace from this material.
It takes a few days before I find the courage to call her to ask her what happens with that necklace she likes so much. Her answer is very honest and I think this happens with more jewel lovers. And to prevent your pieces of jewelry get dirty, greasy, and ugly the 9 tips for cleaning jewelry are very useful.
The good thing is that she did not leave her necklace, which she did not like anymore, forever in her jewelry box. As a bonus, I will add some tips in this blog about what to do whet broken jewelry or jewelry you don’t wear anymore.
Cleaning jewelry: stop dirth
My friend was so happy with her necklace, which I designed for her a few years ago, that she wears it nearly every day. And she is used to putting her necklace on and after that, she uses the perfume and the hairspray. You must know that pieces of jewelry, especially when they are made from silver or gold don’t like perfume and hairspray. It makes the material greasy and you will have problems cleaning it. On top of it, she uses anti-sun lotion every day in summer since she walks in the sun often.
Then she confesses that when she goes to bed she puts the necklace on a table beside her bed and leaves it there until she puts the necklace on again. The dust of the bedroom comes on the already greasy and sticky necklace and that makes this piece of jewelry ugly. The silver of the necklace becomes black and the beads are covered with a mixture of grease of the perfume, hairspray and anti-sun lotion, and dust.
I realize that this is a daily practice, since you don’t buy a piece of jewelry for putting it in a jewel box, but you to wear it, as much as possible. And that is not a problem when you take these measurements.
Use perfume, hairspray, body lotion, anti-sun creme before you put your pieces of jewelry on. And it is great when there are minutes between finishing with the lotion, cremes, sprays, and perfume and putting on your necklace or earrings. Your pieces of jewelry stay much more beautiful.
Before you go to bed, cleaning jewelry has to be done gently with a soft cloth. In this way, you remove all the dirt that gathers during the day. Not rubbing it fiercely, but just a soft treatment will do.
Store your jewelry dust-free and if possible airtight. Especially silver jewelry turns black when you expose it to the air and when you don’t wear it often (enough). So the best thing to do is put your precious pieces of jewelry in a plastic bag with a zipper. Or put it in a jewel box with a silicon gel packet or anti-tarnish strips. The gel is packed in little bags and keeps your silver for about 6 months shiny. The anti-tarnish strips are for sale in hobby stores in the USA.
Take your ring(s) and bracelet(s) when you clean the house or anything else. The cleaning products hurt your jewelry. And don’t wear your jewelry at night, sporting (especially in a swimming pool), or under the showers.
Store your pearls in a soft cloth. Pearls lose their brilliance and color when they are touched by makeup, perfume, lotion, or hairspray. This is especially important, since cleaning jewelry made of pearls is difficult, without damaging the pearls.
Cleaning jewelry: how?
In the meantime, I have that really dirty necklace on my hands and I have to make something beautiful out of it. First of all, I take the necklace apart and clean the silver parts with a special liquid (Hagerty Silver Polish). And dry it with a soft cloth. Then I clean the beads with another Hagerty product that does not damage the gemstone beads. Luckily my father, who was a jeweler teaches me this trick, ages ago. And it still works. And I am lucky that there are no pearls in these necklaces. Because they are very hard to clean.
After the ‘cleaning jewelry’ job is done and everything is clean and shiny and I take care that there is no residue left behind, I start thinking about the alterations that are possible. Cleaning jewelry is a lot of work unless you have a white gold ring with a diamond. That can be cleaned easily in a kind of ultrasonic bath, that jeweler stores own.
TIP 06: cleaning jewelry made of precious metals
Cleaning jewelry, made of silver or gold, is easing when you use a Hagerty product or use hand warm water and natural soap. Brush the piece of jewelry gently with a soft toothbrush, rinse with half warm clean water and dry with a flannel cloth.
TIP 07: cleaning jewelry made of diamonds
Diamonds lose their brilliance by touching soap, butter, oil, or the ‘grease’ of your skin. You may consider cleaning jewelry, made of diamonds, once a month with hand warm water and a soft soap by brushing them gently. Dry your diamonds with a soft cloth. Or use a mixture of ammonia and water and let it soak for half an hour and let it dry on a piece of paper. You can also use a safe liquid specially made for cleaning diamonds or let the jeweler do the job.
TIP 08: cleaning jewelry made of soft gemstones
Cleaning jewelry, made of soft gemstones, like opal and coral cannot be done in an ultrasonic bath. You clean them with hand warm water and a little soft natural soap. Opals contain a lot of water and they dehydrate. So you put them in a cup of water now and then. Coral can be cleaned with a cloth and some salad oil.
Golden and silver pieces of jewelry get their brilliance back by rubbing with a special cleaning cloth. You don’t need anything else besides using that cloth. And be aware that you do not wash this cloth.
Well, with all these tips you know that cleaning jewelry is a very wise thing to do; you know how to prevent your pieces of jewelry from getting too dirty, you know how cleaning jewelry in a safe way has to be done, and you know how to store them. Your jewelry is too precious to let all this happen and it makes it so much easier for me to alter some jewelry.
And I learn something too. My clients get these cleaning jewelry tips when they buy a piece of jewelry with FlorenceJewelshop so that they know how to take care of their beauty. But you cannot prevent silver from getting black.
Now you know how cleaning jewelry works, the next thing to consider is what to do with (now cleaned) jewelry that is broken, out of date, or you just don’t like it anymore.
We all have a piece of jewelry that we inherited and only keep for sentimental reasons. But never wear this broken jewelry. Or jewelry that is out of fashion, or worn out, or… In this age of ‘recycling’ in combination with the Marie Kondo mania, we have to wonder ourselves ‘how to repurpose that old, outdated jewelry and broken jewelry’!
Repurpose old, outdated, and broken jewelry
When you are divorced or widowed you might still have your wedding ring in your jewelry box. Or maybe you inherited the wedding rings of your parents or grandparents.
If you have a few wedding rings you bead them on a string together with larger colored gemstone beads. Finish it with a clasp and you have a very modern necklace, that feels like a sentimental journey.
When you have a few chain necklaces of different lengths and materials. And I’ll bet you find some larger beaded necklaces in your jewelry box too.
At the moment it is a trend to wear those chain necklaces and larger bead necklaces together. Just watch the colors a bit, you are not a Christmas tree. But when you have different beaded necklaces of the same color, together with golden or silver chain necklaces, you look great.
The only thing you have to care about is that the sweater, blouse, or shirt you wear under those necklaces does not have too much color or design. Keep is elegant and ‘low-key’.
Earrings are sometimes a menace. You tend to lose only one of them and what can you do with the ‘left-over’? Or your earrings are a piece of really outdated, old-fashioned, or broken jewelry. Here the modern time is giving you a helping hand too!
First of all: who says that you have to wear two earrings that are exactly the same. When you lost a long earring, you can combine it with a stud of the same color. You can match a ‘left-over’ with another one in the same color scheme. It is more beautiful when you have two earrings in the same length though.
Some jewelry is so beautiful and timeless that they don’t outdate. Most of the so-called fashion jewelry will get outdated according to the mainstream opinion. I want to add one more insight into this subject.
Fashion lasts a short time but returns regularly. You can decide to keep your fashion jewelry until it comes fashion again!
Stories of the jewelry that came alive again
One day Petra, a dear colleague, phoned and told me that her mother died recently and that she inherited quite a few pieces of jewelry. Her family was not very wealthy and the pieces had no real value, in terms of gold, silver, or gemstones. And the pieces were very outdated and often broken. She asked me whether I could use the material and make one piece of jewelry, preferably a necklace of it. As a remembrance of her mother.
We started working on it, by demolishing all the jewelry, sorting the material out, and suggesting who we could make something new and good to wear out of it. I loved doing this since you know that something very special comes out of it. With some extra material, I could make more than one necklace and when I see her she still wears them.
Another example is the story of Marlène. She traveled quite a lot and bought jewelry everywhere. Most of it was broken, due to the bad quality. But then I found a rather large amount of gorgeous smoky quartz beads, in all shapes and sizes. The necklace that came out of it, and a bracelet and a pair of earrings, is stunning
Repurpose your broken jewelry
Reusing broken jewelry needs some creativity and skills from your side. But you get great results and contentment when you hear the compliments you get for your creations.
- You cut a necklace or bracelet into a few pieces. Attach the pieces to a large clasp and attach it to your bag, your phone or when it is not too large, attach it to the zipper of a coat. A great solution for your broken jewelry.
- Your broken jewelry has no value anymore. So why not use that broken jewelry to glue the beads and pieces on a photo frame or on a lampshade. Using quartzes and crystals glued on a lampshade and your light will be very romantic.
- And when you are not skilled at all or the material of the broken jewelry has some value, like silver, gold, or gemstones, you can try to sell it to a jeweler. In this case, you have to set your emotions aside, because the jeweler melts the gold and silver and you don’t recognize your broken jewelry anymore.
- Another solution is to bring your broken jewelry to the jeweler and ask for a repair.
Remake old, outdated, and broken jewelry
To remake old, outdated, or broken jewelry is a great challenge for jewelers and designers. You can put all your skills, creativity into making something special and beautiful out of these old pieces.
Give me your old beaded jewelry and I cut all the pieces and design new modern pieces of jewelry with this old material. Using new combinations of beads, new color combinations, and adding some new material to make beautiful new pieces of jewelry.
Precious and natural materials are getting rare and therefore more expensive. Anyway, in the Netherlands, we are very aware of this problem, which will grow and grow. We divide the materials that can be reused in our recycle bins and the government takes the valuable materials out and sell them to manufacturers.
So why leave your unused broken jewelry for any reason in your jewelry box? If not for emotional reasons, then for environmental reasons repurpose your old, outdated, and broken jewelry.
Have a look and decide what you can do with it. Above are some ideas. Let me know when you come up with another idea to reuse your jewelry.
If you are a little bit like me, you really have a bad day when you lose a piece of jewelry or you find broken jewelry in your jewelry box. The best way to avoid your jewelry getting broken is to store and clean it properly. It does not help if one of your earrings is gone, or when you think that a piece of jewelry is outdated.
You know that storing and cleaning your precious jewelry is important. But I know it is not so easy to get the right information to keep your jewelry in perfect condition. FlorenceJewelshop published a little booklet where you find all the information you need. You can ask for this booklet and keep your jewelry in perfect condition. It is free of charge. Just let me know where I can send it to.