Sometimes it can be hard to know how to care for your jewelry. Here are some tips to keep your jewels looking their best.
Number one: Put your jewelry on last. Spritzes, sprays, and lotions can cause discoloration, dulling, and splotchy tarnishing. Hair sprays and perfumes may not seem like a problem, but over time they can damage the finish. Moisturize, fix your 'do, and get your fragrance on before you open that jewelry box.
Number two: Keep it dry. We're talking no showers, hot tubs, working out, or steamy bathrooms (even storing your jewelry there is a no-no). Keep a ring holder or dish next to the sink and stow your rings while you wash your hands. This will also help cut down on the dreaded green marks that some jewelry may leave behind. (More on that later!)
Number four: Clean it up! A little polishing can bring your jewelry back to its original shine, but different metals need different care, let's break it down.
Brass: Angela from Knuckle Kiss is our go to expert on brass. Here's her tips on caring for the
"All raw, un-plated brass will develop a surface patina (a.k.a. oxidation) over time. Some wearers love the aged, vintage look of oxidized brass, but restoring the jewelry to its original finish is easy. Cleaning solutions using common household ingredients are recommended for heavier cleaning. Here are some favorite methods:
- Gently scrub your piece with one of the solutions below. Use your fingers, a soft cloth, or a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Lemon juice or vinegar + baking soda
- Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes before rinsing and patting dry. For heavily tarnished pieces, you may need several cleaning sessions to fully remove the oxidation.
Commercial cleaners might work fine on your piece, but we don’t use them in the shop and cannot be responsible for damages your jewelry might incur. Be especially wary of commercial cleaners if your piece contains stones, oxidation, enamel, plating, or mixed metals."
Silver is a very soft metal so be sure to use a soft, preferably cotton cloth when polishing. A plain cotton cloth or one pre-treated with cleaner such as Sunshine Cloths will work. Rubbing with gentle pressure will remove most of the oxidation, but feel free to really get into the grooves if you want to it to really shine.
As with all metals, avoid commercial cleaning dips because they can actually cause pits in the surface of the metal which will then darken and tarnish even faster.
Gold doesn't tarnish, so what you're probably seeing is dirt, makeup residue, and the evidence of a much loved piece. The gentlest, cleaning solution to use is simple dish washing liquid. Soak your jewelry in a little dish soap and warm water for about five minutes. Fish it out and give it a little scrub with tooth brush, focusing on texture or nooks and crannies. Rinse under running water and gently dry with a cotton cloth.
Vintage and Costume Jewelry:
Not sure the metal type? Base metal? A mix of gems, glass, or unknown materials? First try a dry cleaning. Brush the piece with a toothbrush to remove grime, wiping with a soft cotton cloth to remove the debris. If you've got canned air it can be used to blast off the loose dirt from small spaces or under the stone settings.
Need a deeper clean? Mix a weak solution of gentle soap and water. Soak the piece for a few minutes, give it a little scrub with a toothbrush and quickly rinse. Repeat if necessary. Be sure to fully dry the jewelry afterwards.
Storage: In general your best move is to store jewelry in a box or case that limits contact with oxygen. Jewelry boxes aren't just for show as it turns out! There are loads of adorable jewelry boxes to be had in the world. Check out antique shops for stylish cedar boxes, velvet lined mini-chests, or re-purpose an old medicine cabinet with tiny hooks and shelves to keep your jewels safe and cared for.