Jewelry Care 101

Jewelry Care 101

Tell me if this sounds familiar…. You fall in love with a beautiful necklace in your favorite boutique. You debate about buying it, but decide you’ll wear it every day and that will justify taking it home with you. You put it on and commence the everyday wear only to look down one day and realize that your once shiny necklace is now looking a bit dingy and dull.

We’ve all done this, but I have the solution! Here are some jewelry care tips to make sure your jewelry keeps looking good and shining bright.

Collage of sterling silver jewelry with blue gems

How to prevent tarnishing:

  • Keep it dry! It’s best to take off your jewelry before exercising, showering, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, gardening, and swimming. All of these can expose your jewelry to chemicals that can damage and discolor the metals and erode the polished stones.
  • Avoid unnecessary air exposure! Air will cause your pieces to tarnish pretty quickly. This is really important if you live in humid conditions or close to a body of water, especially the ocean. It's always best to store jewelry in a closed box, rather than out in the open. (see the next bullet point 😉)
  • Storage matters! It’s best to store your pieces in a clean, dry and air tight place. I like to use plastic bags, but you can also wrap them in tissue and store in a small fabric lined box. ✨JEWELRY CARE PRO TIP✨ Make sure you store pieces separately to avoid any scratching or tangling. Also, keep your necklaces clasped when you store them to avoid jumbles.
  • Careful with beauty products! It is best to apply all lotions, perfumes, hair and body products before you put your jewelry on. All of these have chemicals in them that will get on the surface of your pieces and dull the shine, collect dirt or erode finishes.
  • Clean regularly! It’s a great idea to wipe down your jewelry after each wear with a soft cloth before you put it away to remove all the surface dirt and body oils. But, we all know that's not super practical, so just remember to give them a good wipe after you've worn them for a long period of time or you got sweaty while wearing them.
  • Travel smart! Find a nice jewelry roll that will hold your valuables and keep them as protected as possible. You can even bring them in their plastic bags. I love this one. Watch my Traveling with Jewelry Tutorial for tips on how to pack jewelry for a vacation!

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how to clean sterling silver and 14k gold filled jewelry graphic

How to clean jewelry:

Revive Jewelry comes in two different finishes: sterling silver and 14k gold filled, so those are the two metals we'll go over for our jewelry care tips. These finishes like different cleaning treatments, so make sure you use the appropriate method for the type of metal you own.

Cleaning jewelry with a custom Revive Jewelry polishing cloth

Sterling Silver:

  • Wipe your pieces down with a soft cloth after wear.
  • Use a dry polishing cloth to clean your silver pieces. Make long strokes with the cloth. Avoid making circles or using darkened parts of the cloth as this can actually spread the tarnish. If there are tiny crevices, you can use a cotton swab. I like to use this cloth. 
  • If your pieces are still looking tarnished after a good rub down with the dry cloth, you can try using a warm water solution with mild soap and a soft tooth brush to remove tarnish. Pat dry with a soft cloth. Once it's dry use your polishing cloth to return the shine. Make sure you dry it completely before storing.
  • You may choose to use a sterling cleaning solution. I don't like to use these chemicals as they can actually cause your sterling to tarnish faster after use. If you do use these make sure to rinse the jewelry in baking soda and water afterwards. Keep in mind that certain stones like turquoise, coral, pearls, or opal should never be dipped in cleaning chemicals. I would recommend making a homemade cleaning solution with less harsh, everyday products if you want to go this route.

Shop Sterling Silver Jewelry

Colorful sterling silver charity jewelry

Homemade Silver Cleaning Solution Recipe

    1. Line a dish with aluminum foil. Place the pieces you wish to clean flat on the bottom.
    2. Mix together 1 cup of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda and pour into aluminum foil lined dish.
    3. Careful with this part because there will be a fizz! Slowly, add 1/2 cup white vinegar. 
    4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. 
    5. Remove and dry with a soft cloth. Let it dry completely before storing.

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    Graphic with instructions for a homemade jewelry cleaner

      14k Gold Filled:

      • Wipe your pieces down with a soft cloth after wear. Avoid excessive polishing on anything gold plated as it will start to remove the plating.
      • If you need a deeper clean- combine warm water and a mild liquid soap or dish soap. Try to avoid anything with anti-bacterial as these chemicals can damage the jewelry. Dunk the necklace in the water briefly (less than a minute), do not soak it. You can use a very soft tooth brush to get in the nooks and crannies. Pat dry with a soft cloth. Don’t use anything abrasive like paper towels, as these will scratch the metal. You can use a jewelry cloth to bring back the luster after cleaning, just be careful with the plated parts! Make sure it is completely dry before storing it.

      Shop 14k Gold Filled Jewelry

      14k gold filled pink breast cancer awareness necklace

      Keep in mind that prevention is always best when it comes to jewelry care. It’s much easier to remove small amounts of tarnish than to fix an eroded necklace. Some pieces can actually be damaged beyond repair if not cared for regularly. Following these tips should help keep your jewelry clean and sparkly.

      Make sure you pin this article for quick reference and pass it along to all your friends!

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