Last week I receive a necklace from an old friend in the post. 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. This necklace is not a piece of jewelry in perfect condition at all.
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 that your pieces of jewelry get dirty, greasy, and ugly, you will find these tips useful.
Tips to avoid getting your precious pieces of jewelry dirty!
My friend was so happy with her necklace, that 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.
Dirty black silver beads and the plastic bag to keep your jewelry and silver shiny
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 clean your pieces of jewelry 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 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.
A silver cleaning cloth and a silica gel bag to keep your silver clean
Great tips to clean your precious jewelry
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 rip 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 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. It’s a lot of work cleaning jewelry 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.
You can clean your silver and gold pieces of jewelry with 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.
Diamonds lose their brilliance by touching soap, butter, oil, or the ‘grease’ of your skin. Clean diamonds once a month with hand warm water and a soft soap by brushing it 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.
Soft gemstones like opal and coral cannot be cleaned 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 prevent your pieces of jewelry from getting too dirty, you clean them in a safe way 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 ask these tips when they buy a piece of jewelry with FlorenceJewelshop so that they know how to take care of their beauties. But you cannot prevent silver from getting black.
I write a booklet about how to keep your jewelry nice and clean and how to store your pieces of jewelry best. It is free and you get it when you let me know where to send it to.