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Cleaning your jewellery

Cleaning your jewellery 15 Nov

Statements of jewellery are a girl’s best friend and a beautiful accessory for men, but over time they can lose their shine and get old and rusty. The process of cleaning your jewellery can seem either impossible or expensive so they end up at the bottom of the drawer or, even worse, in the bin. Most people don’t realise you can bring old jewellery back to their initial beauty in the comfort of their home. As Christmas approaches it’s the perfect time to dig out any old necklaces, bracelets or rings and make them shine. So take out the old necklace your nan gave you for your birthday and we will tell you exactly how to clean it!  

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Sterling Silver

When cleaning silver jewellery it is important to be gentle and patient as sterling silver is a soft metal that can scratch easily. Therefore, the best way of tackling this gentle metal is by using a soft cloth. If the jewellery looks dull and needs to gain its shine back, mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and dip a soft cloth in it, then gently wipe it until clean. As sterling silver can oxidize, and you can see your item of jewellery needs a deeper clean, then all you need to do is mix a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water, then apply the cleaner using the soft cloth. After you finish, it is vital to rinse and pat dry the jewellery as water speeds up the tarnish. 

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With sterling silver, it’s best to avoid soaking, but with gold jewellery you need to do the opposite. Give it a bubble bath if it’s tarnished by mixing a few drops of ammonia into soapy water and submerging the jewellery in it for about five minutes. If the gold jewellery is not tarnished and you just want to make it more radiant, then mix a few drops of mild dish detergent with warm water. As the texture of gold is not as soft as sterling silver you can use a soft-bristle brush to clean it. Although gold does not react to water, it is best to take your jewellery off when showering as the chemicals in the detergent can damage them. Chlorine is also an enemy to gold, as at high temperatures (like in a hot tub), it can permanently damage or discolour your jewellery.

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Pearls, can easily lose their lustre due to their porous texture and they need to be treated with care no matter if they are real, cultured or faux. For pearls, the best utensil to use is a makeup brush as it is soft and won’t deteriorate the pearl. The process starts by putting the pearls on a soft cloth, then dip a clean, small makeup brush into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo, and go over each pearl very carefully. This is a fast, no-soak treatment that will leave your pearls glistening in no time. To finish, rinse the pearls with a soft damp cloth and let them dry, to prevent the string from stretching. A good trick to ensure that your pearls stay lustrous is to simply wear them, as your body’s natural oil will keep each pearl polished. After you take them off make sure to wipe them with a dry cotton cloth to remove any residue collected after wearing them.

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While diamonds are forever, they can start losing their shine over time. You may have heard that the best way of cleaning diamonds is by using toothpaste and you may be wondering if it is true, then the answer is no. While the toothpaste doesn’t harm the diamond, it can harm the soft metals alongside the diamond, which could be a sterling silver band, due to its abrasive nature, therefore it’s not recommended. The best way to clean diamond jewellery is simply with warm soapy water and a soft-bristle brush or old toothbrush, then pat it dry with a soft cloth. 

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When you are cleaning jewellery with gemstones attached to them it is vital to avoid submerging them into water as this may loosen the glue and cause them to drop out, or cause discoloration in the case of turquoise. The best way of cleaning this type of jewellery is again by wiping them with a cloth soaked in soapy water and then wipe them until thoroughly dry. 

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Jewellery with a textured surface

For jewellery with a texture surface and an intricate design, the best way of cleaning them is by using a brass brush as the tiny bristles get in the grooved surface to clean and it helps give them a nice satin finish. Use soapy water and make sure to pat try the jewellery at the end.


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Costume Jewellery

Cheap costume jewellery is just as worthy of cleaning as the more expensive jewellery. Use an old soft-bristle toothbrush to gently scrub it for 10 minutes with some toothpaste. It is important to avoid whitening toothpaste or the ones containing tartar-control chemicals, as they may damage the metal. Don’t forget to dry the jewellery thoroughly with a dry cloth.

Feature Image credit: Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock

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