Proper Care and Maintenance of Jewelry

by Kris Dano
Jewelry maintenance

Jewelry is a staple in a person’s list of accessories.

In one form or another, we all have jewelry – may it be an earring, a bracelet, or a necklace.

Despite the commonness of jewelry in our life, one familiar problem remains, our lack of knowledge on how to maintain them.

This common hitch as owners of jewelry should be changed.

Jewelry can help make or break an outfit.

Yet wearing tarnished and dirty jewelry can make us feel insecure instead of empowering us with confidence.

Also, let’s face it, we don’t want to look irresponsible individuals as what sporting dirty jewelry communicates.

In this day and age where life is all about efficiency, we need to be wiser consumers.

Yes, we can always take our jewelry to cleaning services for regular maintenance, but why spend frequently if you can maintain your beloved accessories on your own – not to mention the amount we can save up if we sustain and conserve the condition of our jewelry instead of having it for service when they’re all damaged and worn.

The hacks we will be sharing will shed some light on simple tricks you can implement on your jewelry routine to keep them in pristine condition!

With this, you will be availing yourself of the quality of being a responsible jewelry owner.  

Cleaning Jewelry

When You Should and Shouldn’t Remove Your Jewelry

Like anything we wear, there comes a point when we have to remove them.

We can’t wear anything and never take them off.

Because if you do, it’s only a matter of time before they age and age badly.

Believe it or not, I’m guilty that when I was naïve and younger – and when I first wore my hand-me-down necklace from my lovely grandmother at sixteen-years-old, I too never took the necklace off from my neck for a good year.

The result? As expected, in only two weeks-time the necklace which was given to me that was all shiny and beautiful looked like it was thousands of years old!

Of course, I was devastated, but what can I do?

I was young and the leisure of “Google-ing Everything” back in my days wasn’t that easy and fast. So, yeah. Lesson learned.

Lucky for you! I’m about to teach you how to protect your precious jewelry and make it last through time.

In this Go-to-guidebook, I will show you how to take good care of your jewelry.

The following are circumstances you have to watch out for and situations that you have to keep in mind the next time you are or are about to wear your jewelry.  

1. Working Out

Aside from the fact that working out with accessories on you can be troublesome and a distraction, did you know that jewelry can actually get damaged when in often contact with sweat?

Well, this is because sweat can affect the acidity of our skin.

With that being said, there’s a great chance that our jewelry can tarnish with excessive exposure to sweat when we work out.

Why does it tarnish?

Well, if you’re wearing gold jewelry with 18K or less, it means your jewelry is made with lesser gold material and have a higher composition of alloy, silver, or other metals.

The composition of silver, alloy, and other materials is the main reason why your jewelry is tarnishing because of sweat or acid contact.

On the other hand, if your gold jewelry is 19K and above then you might want to take it off as well since there is a high chance that your jewelry might get damaged when you work out with it.

I know, sometimes we get a lot of adrenaline and want to hit the gym right away.

Yet oftentimes we forget that we’re wearing accessories on us.

So, always check if you’re wearing any jewelry before you go hit the gym and get those muscles pumping! 

2. Swimming 

Swimming with your jewelry, regardless if it’s in the pool or at the sea, is not the brightest idea. Trust me, I know.

Many people may not be aware of this but in order for a swimming pool to be clean and “swimmable”, the swimming pools water is treated with various chemicals.

These chemicals help to control the waters’ acidity level and technically clean for people to swim.

One chemical that is used when cleaning a swimming pool is chlorine - which can cause tarnishing to your accessories.

On the other hand, beach swimming can also be harmful to your jewelry.

When your jewelry comes in contact with sand, it can likely get damaged with the roughness and abrasiveness.

Not to mention the acidity level of saltwater as well.

Side note: It is also possible to lose your jewelry while swimming without you knowing!

Lose it while at sea and it’s jewelry goodbye; unconsciously lose it in the pool and it’s jewelry goodbye too.

Although you really want to look good with your bikini on and tan skin, honey, losing or damaging expensive jewelry hurts more than getting called unprepared. 

3. Applying Skin Care and Fragrances

By now, you might be noticing a similar concept tying this whole subtopic together: Acids.

Skincare products and fragrances are essentially composed of chemicals.

From your lotion, moisturizer, cleanser, perfume, or cologne, all of these are harmful to your metal jewelry and gemstones and will only cause fading, corrosion, and tarnishing.

So, the next time you’ll be applying your lotion, skincare routine, or even spraying your perfume with your jewelry on, you might want to think twice and take the extra five seconds to remove them.  

Taking care of jewelries

Where to Properly Store Your Jewelry

You know how careful and conscious we are when it comes to parking our cars?

As much as you can, you wouldn’t want to place your car under a mango tree, in tight spaces too close to other cars, or even in a place where direct sunlight and heavy pouring rain can damage your beloved paint job.

When it comes to jewelry, it’s the exact same thing – we should be putting them on places where they can’t be harmed nor misplaced.

So let me tell you this, the way we store these precious accessories and where we store them are direct manifestations of our level of love and care for those sensitive shiny things.

So, how and where do we store them? 

1. Soft Pouches (Ziplock)

Usually, when we buy or acquire our jewelry, they come in their soft pouch.

Some people, for some reason, throw away and lose those pouches.

As a result, leaving their jewelry cluttered together in a pan.

Pieces of jewelry aren’t meant to be in contact with each other.

Since jewelry like silver and gold can be easily scratched, it’s not the best practice to have them tangled up.

Instead, you must place them in their separate containers to decrease the chance of damaging them unconsciously.

Hence, jewelry organizers were made.

If you can’t find the pouch, you can opt to place them in a Ziploc bag.

Just make sure that you take out all the air in the bag before storing them sitting on the jewelry box since moisture and air are ingredients for that dreaded tarnish.  

2. Jewelry Box 

Jewelry boxes aren’t made for the sole purpose of looking organized and neat.

It’s important to have a jewelry box, and a quality jewelry box for that matter because as we have mentioned, keeping them tangled and clumped will only damage metals and gemstones alike.

When choosing a jewelry box, you would want to consider one with soft linings for the insides.

Placing your jewelry in soft linings will provide you peace of mind that your precious accessories are held in a material that will not in any way scratch them while they sit waiting to be used to complete then next OOTD.

Jewelry boxes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

You can opt for wood, metal, or plastic jewelry boxes, but what matters is that the interior linings are produced with quality soft materials.

That way, your precious jewelry is safe and sound when stored inside. 

3. Safe Location

The location of the house is as important as the structure of the house itself, right?

Like houses, our jewelry should be placed in safe and clean locations.

You should always keep your jewelry box stored in a strategic location.

What is the strategic location you ask?

A strategic location to place your jewelry box in is one that is dry and secure.

Again, pieces of jewelry exposed in moisture and air is a recipe for tarnish and corrosion.

Also, jewelry boxes left out in the open attract the terrible combo of greedy eyes and naughty hands.

You can never be too lenient and confident especially when high-value items like jewelry are in question.

Also, when choosing the location for your jewelry box, choose somewhere you can always remember.

You don’t want to go running around finding your misplaced gems don’t you? 

Cleaning and Maintenance Hacks

A huge number of people tend to ask questions when it comes to jewelry: “What is better? Gold or Silver?” “How many karats does this diamond ring have?”, “Should I go bold? Or simple?”, and the list goes on and on.

Although the questions mentioned above are essential when it comes to buying or acquiring jewelry, some people forgot that having jewelry comes with great responsibility – and that responsibility includes maintaining the jewelry’s stunning form.

The million-dollar question is: How do I clean my Jewelry?

Well, there are a handful of simple cleaning techniques that only require household ingredients, and it’s your lucky day because we’ve piled up a list of the easiest and simplest cleaning methods you can do even when your eyes closed. 

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Technique

Ah, baking soda – the miracle ingredient.

It’s almost as though baking soda can be used in almost anything.

You can cook with baking soda, you can clean household materials with baking soda, bring your white sneakers back to its original look with baking soda, and now, you just found out you can clean your jewelry with baking soda!

For gold accessories, make a thick paste of baking soda and water by mixing three parts baking soda and one-part water.

The next step is to cover the jewelry in baking soda and pour in vinegar.

Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing the jewelry thoroughly in running water and enjoy. Pat dry.

In the case of silver accessories, make the same paste of baking soda and water, only this time, you’ll be using a toothbrush or a sponge to clean and buff the accessory.

Important Reminder: If your jewelry contains gemstones or pearls, you should instantly disregard this cleaning method as baking soda can strip away the pearl or the gemstone’s finish layer that provides its beautiful natural luster.  

2. The Toothpaste Technique: But use it Wisely

Contrary to popular belief, toothpaste can harm as it can do good on your jewelry.

At first, after cleaning your jewelry with toothpaste, it might look better than its previous condition, and for good reason – you cleaned it.

But truth be told, in the long run, continued heavy use of toothpaste will prove too coarse and harsh to your jewelry that it will only produce more scratches and erosion.

With this in mind, you need to be careful in applying toothpaste to your jewelry.

Using toothpaste and brushing your accessory with a mild toothbrush and cleaning softly and tenderly is the way to go if you opt to choose toothpaste as your cleaning agent.

It may also benefit you to use toothpaste only occasionally and alternating it with milder cleaning methods shared in this article.  

3. The Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda Method (For Silver jewelry) 

Take a container with enough depth and line it with aluminum foil – make sure the shiny side is facing upwards.

Place your Silver accessory on top and sprinkle baking soda until the jewelry is covered.

Boil enough water that it can soak the entire silver jewelry.

Let it sit for about two to three minutes before taking the jewelry and rinsing with water.

Voila! Enjoy and fascinated with your silver jewelry that should look good as new.  

4. Water and Dishwashing Soap

The water-and-dishwashing method is one of the most recommended methods for cleaning all types of jewelry.

All you have to do is soak your jewelry in a solution of dishwashing soap and warm water for three to five minutes.

For jewelry in worse conditions, you can add another extra step.

Brush your soaked jewelry with a soft toothbrush.

Afterward, you can finally rinse your jewelry in a new container filled with lukewarm water or let it rinse under running warm water.

Lastly, dry your necklace, bracelet, ring, or earring with a soft cloth.

It is one of the fastest and most effective tricks in the book. 

5. The Salt and Lemon Treatment 

Salt and lemon treatment is straightforward.

Take a container, preferably non-metallic, and place about three tablespoons of salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Leave your jewelry in this mixture before pouring in hot water.

Set your timer to five minutes and wait for the solution to work.

Finally, wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth and marvel at the results. 

6. Bring out the Beer 

Beer as in beer? The beverage we drink for celebrations? Yes!

This easy method is all about pouring and wiping.

Soak your jewelry with beer for five to ten minutes before patting dry.

As easy as this method is, you have to remember that it may not be the most powerful cleaning agent.

So do not get your hopes too high as this method is best for mild tarnish only.

Tip: For a more effective beer session, try rubbing your jewelry with a cloth and using a separate soft towel for drying the accessories.  

7. Ketchup, Catsup 

Just like the toothpaste technique, all you have to do here is brush your sterling silver with ketchup.

As easy as one, two, and three.

Brushing with catsup may prove most useful for rings, earrings, necklaces, or bracelets that have detailed or textured surfaces.

On the other hand, if your sterling accessory has a relatively smooth surface, soaking it in ketchup might do the trick.

Again, do not get your hopes too high with this method.

It works, but only for light corrosions.  

On Maintaining Jewelry

Prevention is better than cure.

This old saying also applies to jewelry, not only to diseases.

If you want to save yourself from the worries and hassle of cleaning badly tarnished jewelry, you might want to exert extra effort in caring for them.

After all, who would want to clean jewelry when you can maintain them easily? 

1. Keep them stored in dry locations

Like what we have mentioned, you should always place your jewelry or jewelry box in a place where no air and moisture can enter as they are the main ingredients to the recipe of tarnish and corrosion.  

2. Get yourself jewelry wipes 

There are now wipes that manufacturers made specifically for jewelry.

As much as you can, whenever you would be placing your jewelry in their containers, wipe them with the disposable wipes.

This step has several purposes.

First, it gets rid of all the excess body oil that you have.

Second, it prevents corrosive chemicals, such as in your perfume or skincare, to sit in the jewelry and start damaging your precious piece.

Lastly, you also protect your jewelry since jewelry wipes leave a thin anti-tarnish coating to shield your jewelry from corrosion agents and help retain its beautiful luster.  

3. Take them off before sleeping 

Not only do you produce body oil and sweat when sleeping that can speed the tarnishing of your jewelry, but sleeping with your accessories on can do harm to both you and your jewelry.

Sleeping with your necklace or bracelet can make them susceptible to breaking.

When unconscious, we tend to move around, and this can lead to both injury and damage to your jewelry.

A single mishap is all it takes to snap your jewelry.

Also, there is a high risk of losing gemstones or pearls while sleeping.

Worse, your loose gemstone or pearl can enter your ears or nose and become a health hazard.

The lesson here is simple-- your sleepwear does not go well with any jewelry.  

Always Consider Weather Conditions 

Now we are talking about the weather?

Yes, because we should.

This guidebook will be incomprehensive if this detail is not part of it.

During the summer, direct sunlight can influence our sweat patterns and make us perspire a little more than usual.

As we all know by now, our sweat contains acids that can speed up the tarnishing of our jewelry.

You also produce body oils faster, which is another corrosion agent.

How about rainy days?

Well, if you are in an environmentally clean place, consider yourself safe.

However, with all the buzz about the factories and coal power plants producing significant emissions, acid rain has become prevalent.

You will know that your place experiences acid rain if you notice that car finishes are fading at a faster rate.

Aside from the health hazard of acid rains, they can be destructive to our jewelry.

As such, we recommend you to stay away from the rain while wearing jewelry.

Otherwise, you should always bring an umbrella to prevent any damages to your beloved jewelry.

During the cold, you have to be conscious of the type of jewelry you choose to wear.

Gemstones, in particular, are the jewelry you would want to avoid wearing during the cold since they are vulnerable to damage when exposed to sudden temperature changes.

The heat in your house and your destination, and the severe cold of the environment as you travel to and fro can cause thermal shock to the stones.

As a result, your gemstones can have fractures or even break off completely in severe cases.  

In conclusion, sporting jewelry is not all wear and play.

We have to be wise owners since they are pieces that can hold great history.

If you take good care of your jewelry, you can also pass them as an heirloom for the generations to come.

Owning jewelry is not all fancy; it is also a responsibility.

You have to be a wise owner if you want these crafted accessories to last for how long you want them.

True enough, we can always have our jewelry up for service as frequently as we can.

However, if we have the leisure to care for them ourselves using precautionary methods and maintain them with DIY techniques, then why not?

Additionally, it only takes about ten minutes to take good care of your jewelry, so what is stopping you?

You are now a jewelry-expert after reading this guide. Phew! What an experience?

Well, which of these hacks we shared with you are new to you?

Moreover, what bad practices have you been doing that might have contributed to the tarnishing of your precious jewelry?

Share your answers with us-- we are very curious! If you have other hacks you’d like to share, let us know! 

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