Caring for your handmade jewelry is as easy as caring for any other fine jewelry. I recommend either using mildly sudsy water for cleaning,
then light polishing with a jewelry polishing cloth. There are, however, many other methods for cleaning jewelry. Please do be sure that your
gemstones and pearls in the jewelry can withstand which ever method you choose. All fine jewelry should not be subjected to strenuous activities
of any kind. Caring for your jewelry properly will help it last for a lifetime of wear.
The short version: Keep jewelry away from scratching, banging, and chemicals of all kinds, swimming pools, hot tubs, extreme temps, strenuous
activity, and intense sunlight. The chlorine and bromine in pools and hot tubs is particularly damaging to stones and metal, and will even damage
solid gold. Wipe your jewelry off with a soft cloth after you wear it. Clean it regularly with mildly sudsy water, rinse really well, and pat dry with a
soft cloth. Polish metals gently with a jewelry polishing cloth. Store most jewelry in a reclosable plastic bag or cloth with anti-tarnish paper. More
General Jewelry Care
* Protect all jewelry from scratches, sharp blows, chemicals, extreme temperatures, and sunlight.
* After each wearing, gently wipe each piece of jewelry clean of makeup and skin oils with a 100% cotton cloth.
* Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
* Remove jewelry when doing household or handyman tasks such as gardening, cleaning and household repairs or other strenuous activities.
* Apply makeup and hairspray before putting on your jewelry. Makeup and hairspray contain chemicals that may affect your jewelry.
* Do not wear jewelry while in a swimming pool or hot tub or bathing. The chlorine in the water can damage various gemstones and metals including gold.
* Do not store jewelry next to heating vent, window sill, or in the car.
* Store jewelry away from sunlight. The sun may fade some gemstones.
* Store jewelry in resealable plastic or jewelry bags with anti-tarnish paper to retard tarnish. Jewelry with pearls or opals, as well as some
other stones, will need to be stored in fabric instead of plastic as they need to "breathe."
* Argentium jewelry must be polished with a polishing cloth reserved strictly for Argentium to avoid contamination by minute bits of other
metals (including traditional sterling) and lower the tarnish resistant qualities of the Argentium.
Traditional Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, and Gold
Traditional Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, and Gold can be cared for in pretty much the same way. You can use these methods to clean and polish
traditional .925 sterling silver, .999 Fine Silver, and 14 karat gold filled, as well as karat gold:
* Commercial silver/gold cleaners. Be sure that any stones in the jewelry can withstand the chemicals in the cleaner. Read the label, and if in doubt,
do not use a chemical cleaner. Some gemstones that cannot be placed in most commercial jewelry cleaners are: pearls, lapis lazuli, malachite,
opals, coral, turquoise, and others.
* Ammonia and water. Use a light solution of ammonia and water on a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly with water. Ammonia should not
be used on the same types of gemstones that should not be used with commercial cleaners
* Jewelry polishing cloth. Use lightly to restore luster. Note: Do not press hard when polishing 14 karat golf filled so that you do not damage the gold surface.
* Additionally, tarnish can be retarded by storing your jewelry in the resealable plastic bag included with each piece, or in a commercial jewelry bag
with anti-tarnish papers. Pearls and opals, however, should not be stored in plastic because they need to "breathe."
Copper and Brass
Surprisingly enough, copper and brass are also very simple to care for. While they do tarnish more quickly than sterling silver, they can be restored to their
original shine easily. Methods for cleaning and shining copper and brass jewelry are:
* Commercial copper/brass cleaner. Again, be sure that any stones in the jewelry can withstand the chemicals in the cleaner or do not use it.
* Worcestershire sauce. As unlikely as it sounds, the acid in the tomato in Worcestershire sauce does a great job of cleaning copper and brass jewelry.
This method should not be used with gemstones or pearls that cannot be cleaned with chemical cleaners, as the acid in the tomato of the
Worcestershire may affect more delicate stones.
* Ketchup. Again, the acid in the tomato of the ketchup shines up copper and brass quite nicely. This method is somewhat messier than the
Worcestershire sauce, though. Apply it with a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting ketchup on the same types
of stones as should not be used with chemical cleaners. I'm not sure about it, but I expect the acid in the tomato might affect more delicate stones.
* Another kitchen cleaner method for copper and brass is a combination of water, lemon or lime juice and salt. Add a few drops of lemon or lime
juice to a container of water, then add a teaspoon of salt and stir gently. Place the jewelry in the solution for a few minutes, then remove and
rinse thoroughly. If needed, the dip in the solution can be repeated. Again, this method should not be used with gemstones or pearls that cannot
be cleaned with chemical cleaners.
* As with sterling silver, copper and brass jewelry will tarnish slower if stored in a recloseable plastic bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper.