How To Clean Jewelry Decoded

Jewelry can be tricky to take care of because you have to treat each metal, each stone, each type of jewelry differently and therefore clean it differently. An imitation sapphire can’t take as much use and wear as a genuine sapphire; a pearl in a necklace will last longer than a pearl in a ring; silver will turn black in some jewelry cleaner made for gold. How can you care for your jewelry collection without having to be a gemologist/metallurgist yourself?

That’s where we come in! If you have any questions bring in your piece and we can give you care advice. Here is a start though, some things to look for when deciding how to clean your jewelry.

GEMSTONES

Does it have stones? Yes? What kind of stone is it? 

 

Does it look more like this: Or this:

Option 1: Unless it is a mystic topaz or any other coated stone or emerald it is ok to put in silver cleaner for up to 30-40 seconds then rinse in warm water. Be sure that it dries out fully before putting it back in your jewelry box! Moisture can tarnish silver. As for gold cleaner any of those stones are safe for 30-40 seconds. Gold cleaner is not as harsh as silver cleaner.

Option 2: These stones are not ok to put in silver or gold cleaner, these stones are porous and soft. They shouldn’t really sit and soak in any liquid, even just water. Most pieces of jewelry with these stones need to be hand polished.

 

PATINA AND OXIDATION

Tarnish can make things tricky too. Lets start by learning exactly what it is.

This definition is straight from Wikipedia. Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper, brass, silver, aluminum, magnesium and other similar metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Tarnish does not always result from the sole effects of oxygen in the air. For example, silver needs hydrogen sulfide to tarnish, although it may tarnish with oxygen over time. It often appears as a dull, gray or black film or coating over metal. Tarnish is a surface phenomenon that is self-limiting, unlike rust. Only the top few layers of the metal react, and the layer of tarnish seals and protects the underlying layers from reacting.

The corrosion or oxidation is sometimes purposely applied to jewelry to make a dramatic expression, like the piece pictured below. Cleaners designed to remove tarnish will remove oxidation from jewelry. Pieces with oxidation should be hand polished or tumbled.

We hope this helps your home jewelry cleaning needs! If you have any questions follow this link and contact us, we are happy to help!