Last week I received a necklace from an old friend in the post. She wanted it altered and whether I could make something nice out of this precious piece of jewelry again. Of course, I can and I am happy to. But when I opened the parcel I saw a very very dirty necklace and there was no way that I can make or I will make a new necklace from this material. This necklace was not a piece of jewelry in a perfect condition at all.
It took a few days before I found the courage to call her to ask her what happened with that necklace she liked so much. Her answer was very honest and I thought this might happen with more jewel lovers. And to prevent that your pieces of jewelry will get dirty, greasy and ugly, you might 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 wore it nearly every. And she was used to putting her necklace on and after that, she used 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 used anti-sun lotion every day in summer since she was walking in the sun often.
Then she confessed that when she went to bed she put the necklace on a table beside her bed and left it there until she could put the necklace on again. The dust of the bedroom came on the already greasy and sticky necklace and that made this piece of jewelry not more beautiful. The silver of the necklace became black and the beads were covered with a mixture of grease of the perfume, hairspray and anti-sun lotion and the dust.
I realize that this might be a daily practice, since you don’t buy a piece of jewelry for putting it in a jewel box, but you want 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 would be 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 will 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 was gathered 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 will turn 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 will keep 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) of when you clean the house or anything else. The cleaning products can 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 of hairspray.
Great tips to clean your precious jewelry
In the meantime, I had that really dirty necklace on my hands and I had to make something beautiful out of it. First of all, I ripped the necklace apart and cleaned the silver parts with a special liquid (Hagerty Silver Polish) and dried it with a soft cloth. Then I cleaned the beads with another Hagerty product that does not damage the gemstone beads. Luckily my father, who was a jeweler taught me this trick, ages ago. And it still works. And I was lucky that there were no pearls in this necklaces. Because they are very hard to clean.
After everything was clean and shiny and I took care that there was no residue left behind, I could start with thinking about the alterations that were 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 gentle with a soft toothbrush, rinse with half warm clean water and dry with a flannel cloth.
Diamonds can lose their brilliance by touching soap, butter, oil or the ‘grease’ of your skin. Clean diamonds one 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 can clean them with hand warm water and a little soft natural soap. Opals contain a lot of water and they can dehydrate. So you can 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 can get their brilliance back by rubbing with a special cleaning cloth. You don’t need anything else using that cloth. And be aware that you do not wash this cloth.
Well, with all these tips you can prevent your pieces of jewelry from getting too dirty, you can 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 learned something too. My clients will get 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 getting black.
I wrote 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 can get to the download by clicking on this link or on the image.
Hug Florence from FlorenceJewelshop