Elena Adams Designs

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Caring for Your Jewelry

So now that you have an exciting new piece of jewelry, how should you make sure it stays in top shape? Ask around and you’ll find millions of “home remedies” for cleaning and restoring jewelry. Be careful whenever trying one of these as odd chemicals, no matter how natural, can stain, eat away at the silver, or even destroy the surface and luster of gemstones and pearls.

First of all, it is important to know that sterling silver, even though it tarnishes with use, can be brightened back up to its original glory. Factors such as salty air, perfumes on the skin, and even genetic make up can affect the speed at which sterling will go dark. Fine silver, which is pure, will actually brighten with use. So why not make everything out of fine silver? For starters it’s significantly more expensive than sterling silver. Most importantly though, it is very soft when you first start to use it. It hardens with work and time, but for delicate jump rings it is simply too soft to avoid bending out of shape.

Gold-filled jewelry is similar to sterling, in that it can be polished up with no issues. Vermeil, on the other hand is a plating of gold over sterling silver, so polishing it will result in removing the plating, leaving just the silver core behind. Vermeil should not tarnish quickly, so avoid cleaning it with anything but a light rinse under warm water. The easiest way to care for your sterling silver jewelry is to try to keep it as bright as possible for as long as possible, by slowing down the tarnishing effects. Here are some simple ways to keep your jewelry looking fresh:

With proper care your jewelry should stay this beautiful forever.

Okay, so what if it’s a too late for a preemptive strike on tarnish? The best solution is a little warm water and very mild soap for the worst stains. Use a baby’s toothbrush (you probably don’t want to share the toothbrush your kids use!) to gently scrub into crevices and bad looking areas. The softer the brush the better, as sharp bristles will risk scratching. Keep water contact minimal and rinse and dry out your jewelry thoroughly afterwards. I can’t tell you how many pendants I’ve ruined by leaving them on a wet bathroom sink for days!

And for the really really bad stains and tarnish? Take your jewelry to a professional jeweler for proper cleaning. You can also email me to arrange a restoration on your jewelry. Gemstones and fragile components will be removed and the silver will be attacked with something more specific to the problem. There are plenty of rinses and dips on the market. You should never use chemicals on pearls or porous gemstones as they can crack or change color. If you have questions or need advice on specific methods or products, send me a message.

Did you know that jewelry purchased at Elena Adams Designs comes with a one year warranty? If your jewelry breaks through normal use I will repair it with no questions asked. Again, you must cover postage costs. Please send a money order, bank check, or paypal payment with the item for $5 to cover the return postage and handling.