Help - my jewellery is FILTHY!
Hey, it happens to us all - honestly and it's no big deal!
Ok so why has your silver jewellery tarnished?
Just because your silver has lost its shine and gone tarnished, that doesn't mean it's going to be all gunky and nasty - I mean it might be that as well - no judgment here!
Sterling silver darkens (or tarnishes) naturally over time due to the copper content coming into contact with air - this is called oxidisation. Fine silver tarnishes less - but isn't quite as hard wearing for jewellery.
The tarnishing process can speed up for more than a few reasons - the atmosphere, cleaning solutions, swimming and one of the worst culprits - hot tubs!
BUT - sterling silver can also tarnish due to your body chemistry - some people have more acidic skin, this can be down to diet or medication.
How can I slow this down?
Choosing a cool place away from chemicals (including perfume, deodorant, cleaning sprays etc) can help to slow down the tarnishing process, which is why my care cards suggest keeping your pieces in the bag or box they came with. You can also pop an anti tarnish tab in with them.
It's already happened - help!
Back to the cleaning then....... If your piece has fallen in mud, or cake mix (hey it happens!) the first thing to do is clean the worst gunk away. This bit is simple - you'll just need a soft toothbrush and some warm soapy water. Dunk the jewellery and gently scrub to remove the worst of the muck - you might find that doing that is enough and your necklace is all shiny again.
If you need to resort to a more heavy duty clean up, you can use a solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and warm water. Add about a tablespoon of bicarb/baking soda to about a cupful of warm water - let it dissolve and then drop your jewellery in.
Leave for about 5 minutes then rinse in warm water for a sparkly finish.
Once dry, you can use a cleaning cloth (I send one out with every piece) for a super shiny piece of jewellery.
If you're cleaning a lot of pieces you might want to invest in an Ultrasonic Cleaner - this is a nifty thing that warms up the water then basically shakes the dirt out of your jewellery!
Can I use these methods for ALL of my jewellery?
Most of your plain (non stone set) jewellery will be fine with the methods I've described. Diamond set (or other similar mohs hardness gems) will withstand most things - but pearls and soft stone need gentle cleaning.
You can still use the bicarb & water method for softer stones, but instead of dunking your pieces, make a paste and rub gently - keeping away from the stone.
Polishing cloths should be ok for any stones (but I wouldn't like to guarantee that - so I'm not!).