Proper care and cleaning of precious metal jewelry (and base metals too!) is essential for keeping your jewels sparkly and strong for years to come. I swear it's easy and takes all of 5 seconds out of your day. Here you'll find all you need to know about wearing, storing, and cleaning your LB jewels as well as your other jewelry pieces.
My cardinal rule of jewelry care is as follows, "Stop wearing your jewelry in the shower"! Jewelry is not designed for prolonged exposure to water and soap. It doesn't matter if your necklace cost $5 or $5,000. Continued water and soap exposure can ruin metal, loosen stone settings, and ruin patinas. Taking 5 seconds to remove all your jewelry before showering or bathing is well worth the decreased risk of diamonds falling down your drainpipes.
This rule also extends to swimming, beach time, and workouts. Sweat, sunscreen, salt water, etc. are all too harsh on metal for everyday exposure.
Always keep jewelry stored in a cool, dry place. This is a good rule specifically for sterling silver jewelry as humidity encourages tarnish production. You can invest in a nice jewelry box, but this could also just be placing your jewelry in a dresser drawer or any airtight container. I recently received this jewelry armoire as a Christmas gift and absolutely love it. All I had to do was attach the door hangers and it was ready to go.
Your jewelry will get dirty. Silver will tarnish. Gold will start to look dull, Brass will darken. It's okay. We can fix it. Most big box stores with a jewelry section will sell jewelry cleaners and polish clothes. I typically don't use liquid chemical cleaners as using polish clothes and DIY versions are just as easy. I got a free box of these Connoisseurs Jewelry Wipes from work and really loved them. They say "disposable" but that doesn't mean one use. I definitely made the box of 50 wipes last over a year. And I polish way more jewelry than the average consumer. Many jewelers swear by Sunshine Polish Cloths. I've use these as well and was pleased with the results. Besides professional cleaning or sonic cleaners, polish cloths are probably the safest way to clean your jewelry. You don't have to worry about metal abrasion or scratching gemstones when using a soft cloth.
If you are the DIY kind or in a pinch and don't have a polish cloth on hand, baking soda makes a great jewelry cleaner. Simply pour a little baking soda on your hand, add a few drops of water and GENTLY wipe down your jewelry. Then rinse and wear. Because baking soda is abrasive, I don't suggest using this cleaning method often and definitely DO NOT suggest it for jewelry pieces that contain gemstones of any kind. Be extra careful on gold as well. It's a bit softer than silver and scratches easier. I suggest using baking soda to clean your jewelry no more than 3 times a year.
If you've ever search Pinterest for DIY jewelry cleaner, you've probably come across recipes involving hot water, aluminum foil, baking soda, plus a few other things depending on the website. I always wondered if these work so I recently tried a variation.
1. Heat water. It doesn't have to be boiling but I used an electric kettle.
2. Line a small bowl with aluminum foil.
3. Mix water, salt, soap, and baking soda in the aluminum lined bowl.
4. Drop in tarnished jewelry. Wait 10-15 depending on severity of tarnish.
5. Remove, rise jewels, and pat dry.
Did it work? Yes! Pretty well for the lightly tarnished pieces I had. I didn't have an silver pieces with severe tarnish so I can't say what the limit to its cleaning power would be.
Is this jewelry safe? Ehhhh. I honestly don't know. Like I said, baking soda is abrasive but you don't scrub anything using this method. Still, exercise caution if you try this DIY cleaner- use no more than 3 times a year. As always, if a piece is extremely special (or extremely expensive) leave the cleaning to a professional.
When in doubt, don't. Treat your jewelry with care to extend its life. There's no reason you cannot get years or wear out of costume pieces and lifetimes of wear out of fine jewelry. The internet is a treasure trove of resources and my email is always open!