It is inevitable that we must clean our jewelry from time to time, especially sterling silver jewelry, which will tarnish over time. The exposure to air, moisture, our own body oils, perfumes, lotions & makeup will eventually dull a piece regardless of what it is made out of. There are a few ways I recommend for storing your jewelry in order to slow down the tarnishing process.
I recommend wiping all pieces down with a soft cloth to remove any residual oils, lotions or makeup. Also store your jewelry separate so they do not react with metals from other pieces. One of the most effective ways for storage, although not very attractive, is to store them in a small zip lock bag. This will cut down on the air & moisture exposure & slow down tarnish. It may not be as pretty as storing them in a jewelry pouch, but there is the added plus of being able to see the piece through the bag. I store all my jewelry for sale in small plastic baggies with an anti-tarnish strip (more on these shortly) arranged in large binders. I can easily see the piece I am looking for to get it ready for shipping quickly.
When you buy a piece from me, I supply a small cloth pouch & an anti-tarnish strip. The strip helps absorb moisture that contributes to tarnishing. Wiping the pieces down with a soft cloth & storing in the pouch with the strip works well for slowing down tarnish & protecting the piece. You can purchase anti-tarnish strips widely on the internet from bead shops, auction sites and direct from the manufacturer.
Jewelry with gold-filled components will not tarnish as sterling silver will, so keeping them safely tucked away in a jewelry pouch or zip lock bag giving them a gentle wipe down with a soft cloth now & again will probably do the trick.
CARING FOR PEARLS
Jewelry containing pearls should have a little extra attention taken to them. Pearls are the most fragile of gemstones, being that they are made up of porous organic material, and tend to absorb foreign materials easily. It is recommended that you store your pearls separate from other jewelry, although I always recommend you store your jewelry separated. Pearls prefer to be stored in a cloth bag/jewelry pouch. Make sure you put on your pearls after you have applied any makeup, lotions, perfumes, or hair spray/products. If your pearls come in contact with any food, wipe clean with a moistened soft cloth immediately. Avoid chlorinated water.
It is also recommended to wipe pearls after wear to remove any residue with a soft jeweler’s cloth. Do not use commercial cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners, soaps/detergents, or steam cleaning.
I have cleaned my own personal pieces containing pearls with the baking soda/salt method mentioned under Simple & Effective Jewelry Cleaners, just omitting the detergent, and being sure to use distilled water and not tap water (which may contain chlorine). The results were fine: clean silver, and the pearls were left undamaged. I wouldn’t recommend this on your high-end pearl pieces, though. Definitely try at your own risk.
It seems the best way to clean your pearl jewelry is to invest in a small jewelry cloth. I will be eventaully offering these for sale on my website.
Proper storage of your jewelry will mean less cleaning time for you & more time for you to enjoy your pieces.Leilani Cleveland Deveau is a self-taught jewelry artist with over sixteen years of experience. 4 years ago she added the fiber arts (wool processing/dyeing/carding/spinning, knitting, crochet and felting) to her long list of creative interests. Leilani welcomes questions or comments from other crafters and handmade artists, as well as requests for custom, wholesale or consignment jewelry. Her home studio is located in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. You can contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or stay informed by subscribing to her monthly newsletter (a draw for a giveaway each month!). See sign up button at right on main blog page.