Often many pieces of jewellery can be revived by a good wash with a soft bristled brush and a gentle colourless and fragrance-free liquid soap to get the dirt out of crevices, especially on rings. Avoid using soaps and cleaners with harsh chemicals and never listen to those who tell you to use a weird selection of substances from gin and toothpaste to bicarbonate of soda. These can often scratch plated jewellery and delicate stones such as opals and soft fluorite gems, or in the case for gin, do absolutely nothing. Much better to drink it!
Liquid handwashing soap for woollens or even a gentle hand soap with no moisturiser, antiseptic or harsh chemicals should work well. Once cleaned, make sure you rinse and dry it well.
TRY AN ULTRASONIC CLEANER
If the dirt proves to be a little bit more stubborn, purchasing an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaning machine is often a good idea. They work really well at dislodging dirt and debris, even from impossible to reach places,however it won’t remove tarnish!!
Don’t use an ultrasonic cleaner if your silver jewellery has blackened or patinated areas as part of the design, or features soft gemstones like opals, lapis lazuli, turquoise or pearls. This process can damage some finishes and soft gemstones, so use it with caution.
REMOVING TARNISH WITH A POLISHING CLOTH
Sterling silver and other precious metals including lower carats of gold will gradually tarnish over time. This can be accelerated depending on body temperature, or if the jewellery has been left exposed to the air for long periods when not worn. This is a normal process and is easy to clean off using a silver cleaning cloth impregnated with polish, these are available from most large supermarkets. Simply rub the tarnished areas gently on the cloth. Chains can be pulled through a folded cloth to bring back their lustre.
USING SILVER DIP
Silver dip solutions can work really well, but there are things to look out for. The liquid has to be fairly new, not found in the cupboard under the sink after many years. Old silver dip can do a lot of harm, turning jewellery even more tarnished than it is already. Pieces can be placed in fresh silver dip for under a minute and then rinsed thoroughly under warm water. This is very effective, but again be careful with soft stones and pearls as these can be ruined! The solution can also be trapped behind gems in settings and cause discolouration. If you would like more advice about silver dipping a particular piece, please contact me directly.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS…
Don’t panic! I’m here to advise on the cleaning and maintenance of all of your jewellery and to help you drink that leftover gin!!