You bought some fine jewelry, now how do you care for it?
Congratulations! You bought yourself an incredible piece of handmade jewelry. It looks awesome on you and you feel like a bad ass when you're wearing it. But now what? How do you care for this special new addition to your wardrobe?
Caring for precious and semi precious gemstones
Some gemstones require almost no special treatment. Diamond, moissanite and sapphire are super easy, durable and easy to clean. They need no special treatment. They can be submerged in cleaning solution when you clean your jewelry. Softer stones like emerald and tourmaline *may* have treatments to them that require gentler care. A quick dunk in cleaning solution is ok but prolonged soaking could damage these stones. VERY soft stones like opal, turquoise, pearl and coral should be treated very gently. These stones are "last on, first off" stones, meaning they should be the last things you put on and the first things you take off. Perfume, hairspray, water, and makeup can permenantly damage these stones. They should be wiped with a damp cloth and stored well away from other jewelry that could chip or scratch them. If you really need to clean the jewelry where these stones are set, I recommend a mild solution of dawn dish soap and water with a toothbrush. Try to keep the soapy water away from the stones and be quick.
Cleaning your sterling silver jewelry
Sterling silver, as well all know, gets tarnished. I have two preferred methods for cleaning silver. The most aggressive product is Tarnex. I LOVE Tarnex. If the jewelry has no stones, or has the tough stones listed above, you can use Tarnex to remove any tarnish. Pour the Tarnex into a glass measuring cup, dunk the jewelry and watch the tarnish disappear. Then...POUR THE TARNEX BACK INTO THE CONTAINER. I used the same container of Tarnex for about 15 years. You can use it over and over and over. Sometimes, Tarnex can leave a haze on your silver. This can be remedied with my second cleaning method. this method can be used with any silver jewelry EXCEPT jewelry with those softest stones I listed above. I use baking soda, blue Dawn dish soap and a little water to create a paste in my palm and then use my fingers to rub this mixture all over the tarnished jewelry. It will bring up the shine on your silver jewelry and make your tarnish disappear.
And, bonus, it will also make your hands soft.
Cleaning your gold jewelry
Gold jewelry, especially higher karat gold like 18k or 22k, doesn't tarnish much at all. Sometimes if it comes into contact with certain chemicals it can get a little darker and, in that case, you can use both of the above methods to bring back the original color. Same with 14k yellow gold. Because 14k yellow gold is only 50% gold, the alloy metals will sometimes cause this gold to tarnish as well. You can use the above methods with 14k too.
Please don't sleep in your jewelry
I know this is going to be shocking and perhaps unpopular but I'm asking you to PLEASE never sleep in your jewelry. Please. When you sleep, your jewelry rubs on your sheets and gets tangled in your hair and gets covered in a yucky goo made of dead skin cells. This goo acts like sandpaper on prongs, chain links and earring backs. It causes tremendous wear on all jewelry, so much so that I can always tell if someone has been sleeping in their jewelry. Ring stuck on your finger? It's because you are sleeping in it. People think it's weight gain but that's not it. I can tell you from personal experience that I can still wear my wedding ring and my weight is nowhere nearwhat it was when I got married. I have seen it over and over. Please trust me on this one.
Ditto swimming in your jewelry
The chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs will eat away at your jewelry and leave it pitted and dangerously brittle. I have seen rings that are like Swiss cheese because of chlorine. Showering in your jewelry is pretty terrible too. Shampoo, conditioner and soap gets into your jewelry and can leave residue on stones that will dull or ruin them and toweling off after a shower is a great way to lose an earring down the drain or break a chain.