Sunday, July 26, 2015
SUMMER JEWELRY CARE
Photograph courtesy of © Meison | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
SUMMER: Time for swimming, vacations by the beach, hiking in the mountains and outdoor sports.... Jewelry can really suffer at this time of year! Exposure to sweat, sun lotion, salt water and chlorine can tarnish your sterling silver pieces and cause dulling of gemstones, whilst increased activity can lead to snags and damage. Truly, it is best to remove delicate or special jewelry when you're competing in your triathlon, but there are some easy tips to keep your jewelry looking good at any time of year.
925 sterling silver WILL tarnish over time. It is a fact of life! Exposure to the oxygen in the air causes the surface of the silver react, a process called oxidation – that coppery-black coating. This process is faster in humid environments, like the bathroom or the beach house in Florida, or exposure to chemicals found in swimming pools, sun lotions and bug sprays – which also make jewelry sticky and attract dirt. Oxidation can be slowed down by keeping jewelry in little individual air tight zip lock baggies which are cheap and readily available from hobby stores. I pick them up, in various sizes, for $1 for a pack of 100 from Walmart. Another advantage of storing each item in separate bags is to prevent chains getting entangled and softer stones and pearls becoming scratched from tumbling around with hard metals. If you pop one of those square black paper anti-tarnish tabs in the baggie with your favorite earrings, even better! They are readily available and affordable on Etsy here.
If your silver DOES tarnish, it is very easy to restore it to its former color and sheen, so don’t fret! I usually advise against the use of polishes and harsh dip chemicals, especially if your jewelry also contains stones or pearls. Dips will strip pearls of their luminous luster and any intentional oxidation, such as the beautiful contrast on Bali silver beads. That said, there are polishing cloths available impregnated with special compounds to help clean your silver gently. I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $4.99 and it has lasted ages! It is a double cloth – one side for cleaning, the other for polishing to restore the shine. Once the cloth is filthy, you cannot wash it and re-use as that removes the cleaning agents, but they last so long it is no hardship to invest in another!
If your jewelry does contain stones and pearls, in addition to the use of the cleaning cloth you can work around the setting with a soft toothbrush dipped in a mild detergent and warm water. Rinse in fresh water and allow to completely air dry before polishing and popping back into their zip lock baggie et viola; sparkling stones, shiny silver, perfect pearls!
HAPPY SUMMER!!! ~ Lin from Flaunt ~ X