Caring for your sterling silver jewellery
Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper, which enhances its durability and minimises damage to the precious metal. Over time, oxidation reactions will occur and which cause tarnishing of the silver, making it appear yellow/brown in colour. To keep your sterling silver jewellery bright and shiny, you will need to pay attentions to how you wear, store and clean it.
Wearing your silver jewellery
One of the best ways to slow down the oxidation process and prevent tarnishing is to wear and handle your silver jewellery regularly. Eventually it will develop a beautiful silver patina and will give you a lifetime of pleasure. However, you do need to be careful to avoid direct contact with body lotions, hairsprays, suntan lotions and household detergents. Also, like gold silver is susceptible to damage by chlorine so please don’t wear your silver jewellery for swimming or when attending mineral spas or it will turn very black!
Storing your silver jewellery
When you are not wearing your jewellery, you can minimise tarnishing by storing it in small airtight plastic bags. Some jewellery boxes are lined with tarnish free materials to reduce the oxidation process. To help reduce scratching you can store in individual compartments in your jewellery box or in small pouches.
Cleaning your silver jewellery
Your silver jewellery can be washed occasionally in mild soapy water, rinsed thoroughly and dried with a soft cloth. Do not soak your jewellery or use paper towels to dry as these may cause scratching. Sterling silver jewellery can also be cleaned by buffing with a soft cotton cloth. Professional silver polishing cloths, impregnated with silver cleaning chemicals can be bought for this purpose and will remove oils, fingerprints and dust and give your jewellery a lovely shine. Please don’t use dip solutions or commercial cleaning solutions as these products may cause damage to the silver and any gemstones set in your jewellery.
Caring for your pearl jewellery
Pearls are not rocks, they are a relatively soft organic gem material and therefore are very vulnerable to damage from chemicals, acids and heat. However, pearls are reasonably durable and can retain their beautiful lustre for centuries if they are cared for properly. Again, particular attention should be paid to wearing, storing and cleaning your pearls.
Wearing your pearl jewellery
Because pearls are susceptible to damage from chemicals, they should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Hairsprays, body lotions and make up can all cause damage to your pearls, so apply these before you put on your pearls. Pearls are not the thing to wear when participating in physical activities as perspiration can also damage your pearls. Avoid excessive heat when wearing your pearls as high temperatures can be very damaging.
Storing your pearl jewellery
Pearls should be stored on their own as they are vulnerable to scratching from metals and harder stones in your jewellery collection. They should be placed in a separate compartment in a jewellery box or a pouch or bag made from soft non abrasive material and stored in cool place. Never place pearls in an airtight bag or in an excessively dry environment as they can become dehydrated and crack. Pearls need moisture and exposure to humidity is good for them.
Cleaning your pearl jewellery
Always wipe your pearl jewellery after wearing with a warm damp cloth. This will remove body oils, perspiration and any cosmetics which may have got on the pearls. Do not use any abrasive cleaning utensils or detergents or jewellery cleaners with ammonia or vinegar in them. Pearls may be washed in mild soap, rinsed and left to air dry on a towel. Do not hang to dry as you may stretch the string.