Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Properly Care for Sterling Silver

If you care for your sterling silver jewelry properly, it will stay beautiful for a long time.  Here are some ways to keep it looking like when you first purchased it. 

Always store your sterling silver jewelry in a dry, cool place.  Sterling silver is going to tarnish.  There is no way around this, but you can slow down the process by storing your jewelry properly.   Wearing your jewelry often this will actually coat the silver with oils from your skin and slow down the oxidation. When you are not wearing your jewelry store it in a dry cool place.  I recommend keeping it in the box which it came.  I use anti-tarnish strips in the boxes.  Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on when you wake up and the first thing you take off before bed.  Things such as perfume and lotions help to speed up the tarnish process.

It is best to remove sterling silver jewelry when swimming, bathing, or cleaning with chemicals. Wearing your jewelry while swimming, bathing, or cleaning causes the silver to oxidize at extremely fast rate.  This chemical reaction can form pits in the surface that won't go away with cleaning or buffing.

Remove your jewelry while sleeping.  This is true for all types of jewelry.  Sleeping in jewelry can cause it to become tangle or misshapen.

It is good to clean your sterling silver jewelry occasionally with mild soap, water, and a soft toothbrush.   Rinse thoroughly and dry completely. The warm, soapy water will remove the light layer of tarnish that causes your jewelry to look dull. Make sure you dry it completely after cleaning. Water left inside the beads could begin to corrode the wire. Simply shake your jewelry inside a towel to remove the droplets remain behind. You don't want to use anything harder than a soft toothbrush.  This may scratch the surface.

DO NOT use a silver polishing cloth on Swarovski crystals. A silver polishing cloth has tiny abrasives that buff the tarnish off silver making it look like new. However, these same abrasives will scratch the surface of Swarovski crystals causing them to look dull. The only silver cloth I recommend using on Swarovski crystals is the Sunshine cloth.  It is gentle enough to use on the crystals without scratching the surface.

DO NOT use jewelry cleaners that you have to dip your jewelry in.   Not even “sterling silver cleaners” should be used.  These cleaners have chemicals that can remove the antique finish on sterling silver jewelry.  This is especially true for alphabet beads found on mother's bracelets. These kinds of cleaners can also have the same effect mentioned above as household cleaners and chlorine.  

If you follow these steps, your jewelry should remain beautiful for a long time.

1 comment:

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