Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jewellery Care - Cleaning Silver Jewellery

As a natural material, silver reacts with its environment, especially the chemicals in the air and, over time, silver can tarnish. (known as oxidation). This doesn’t mean that your lovely jewellery is defective, far from it, it just proves that your beautiful accessory is good quality silver.

* Perfume, soap, hairspray, salt water, water and heat, household cleaning products and perspiration all speed up the tarnishing process.

* Leaving silver unprotected in the air may cause the silver to lose its shine.  Preventable if not worn frequently by sealing in an air tight container.

* Please note that chlorine can seriously damage the silver.

Oxidation is an easily reversable process and the silver can always be cleaned to bring it back to its former glory, so there's no need to be concerned.  Cleaning the silver when it begins to tarnish will obviously be an easier task.  If it's left too long and turns completely black then it may require professional cleaning.

An inexpensive silver polishing cloth can be used to gently rub your jewellery or alternatively silver dip may be used (both are available from any high street jeweller).  Please ensure you follow the instructions on the pot if you use silver dip.  Do not use silver dip with purposely oxidised /drop cast/ enamelled jewellery or with gemstones. Gemstones that are particularly affected by silver dip are pearls, sodalite, malachite, lapis lazuli, white opals, turquoise or any soft or porous stones.  Some high street jewellers sell combination silver and gold polishing cloths and these are perfect for jewellery I make with the touches of 9ct gold. The specialised cleaning cloths are impregnated with cleaning and anti-tarnishing agents, so a normal soft cloth will not provide the same results.

It is advisable to ensure you don't damage your jewellery to remove it at night, when swimming, bathing or undertaking manual or domestic tasks.

Store your jewellery in an air tight container. Also store separately from other items as this will also prevent scratches from items rubbing together.
If you always remember to get ready first (make up, hairspray, perfume) and then put on your jewellery you can assist in keeping your silver jewellery bright and beautiful for many years to come.

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