Cleaning – a year of lockdown has seen me address some parts of my house that have been ignored for a good while! One of my favourite jobs has been to sort through my Jewellery collection, with some cleaning and caretaking along the way. Most of my Jewellery is sterling silver as I have been working with silver for over 30 years and silver does tarnish over time. The surface of the silver reacts with oxygen to create silver oxide which is grey/black in colour. To prevent this, or slow down the process, pop all your Jewellery into airtight plastic bags. Plastic isn’t always the enemy! This also stops your Jewellery from being scratched, killing two birds with one stone. You can then stack your Jewellery neatly in a dry box or cabinet.
To clean tarnished silver or gold, a soft “silver cloth” would be your first step. With a little bit of “huff” and elbow grease you should find that your jewellery returns to its original high shine. If there are more stubborn stains you may need to use some silver dip or other similar cleaners but DO make sure you follow the instructions. Do not soak, do not use hot water, and any cloths that you use make sure they are clean otherwise little specks of dirt on the cloth may scratch the surface of your jewellery.
For Jewellery with set stones or pearls then a silver cloth really should be all you use, stones and pearls should not be put into any cleaning solution. Taking a little time with the cloth to get into those hard to reach corners will pay off.
Remember that silver will react to different chemicals such as chlorine, moisturisers, perfumes and even salt. You should remove your Jewellery for swimming, exercise, showering and sleeping as all these activities can increase the risk of tarnishing and discolouration. The discolouration caused by some of these chemicals can be irreversible so do treat your Jewellery with the care it deserves, it is precious after all!