Jewellery Care Guide
Welcome to the official Kalapriya Jewellery Care Guide! After a lifetime of jewellery addiction, I've discovered through trial and error the easiest ways to keep jewellery looking its best...
There are so many different systems, chemicals, machines, and "old wives tales" out there on the best way to clean your jewellery. From soaking your diamonds in gin, to scrubbing your silver with toothpaste - most of them send shivers down my spine!
You might get an instant shine, but usually at the expense of the long-term condition of the metal or stability of the stone setting. So forget the urban myths and learn to take care of your jewellery properly with our official jewellery care guide.
How Should I Store My Jewellery?
In short? Cool, dry and in the dark. The biggest no-no is on the windowsill in full sunlight!
Silver hates the heat, light and oxygen in the atmosphere, and will start oxidising within days (oxidising is when it starts to turn a dark grey). We actually pre-oxidise some designs using an application of a special type of sulphur, to give more definition to a design, but we don’t want the whole piece looking black!
So where should you store your treasured pieces? Well, you don’t need a big flash velvet lined jewellery box. In fact most materials have acids and chemicals in them, from the dying process, so it’s much better to wrap it in a clean piece of acid-free tissue paper. You can then pop your wrapped treasures into a simple box or drawer away from a direct heat source or damp.
Another little trick I use for fiddly things (like pieces with lots of small attachments that are hard to get to) is to store them in old silver cloths. So when you get a new cloth, don’t throw your old one away, just wrap your jewellery in it!
Can You Stop Silver Tarnishing?
Prevention is always better than a cure. If you follow a few simple rules, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend on cleaning dramatically.
As a rule of thumb, your jewellery should go on last and come off first! Lotions, perfumes, and make-up will obviously make a sticky mess if they are applied while you’ve got jewellery on, so just let all that soak in first and then add the bling.
Pure silver doesn’t tarnish - it’s the small amount of copper introduced that causes the problems. So why do we mix it with copper? Because silver in its pure form is very soft. The copper adds strength to enable us to create intricate designs and stop it from bending easily while wearing it. The same goes for gold too, check out our other blog on Noble Metals HERE.
Copper tarnishes when it comes into contact with sulphides in the ozone (basically air!) or different types of acid. You might not think you’ve been anywhere near any acid but it’s a lot more common than you realise. For a start, any bleached or dyed material contains acids, hairspray, perfume, even perspiration has all types of salts in it which will go to work on your silver. But this isn’t going to be instantaneous and it’s an easy fix!
What's the Best Way to Refresh Tired Pieces?
Chains are usually the worse culprits for getting rather yucky. The links are perfect for harbouring dirt and grime and can become pretty disgusting rather fast.
If you have a chain that is already oxidised internally, then all you need is a silver cloth. However, if your chain was originally totally shiny and you want it to stay that way, then here is a time when you might need the heavy guns. This is the ONLY time I’m going to suggest chemicals or machines!
An ultrasonic machine works using chemicals that attach to the dirt and oxide, then sending a high frequency pulse to dislodge them. So, in the case of a chain, where there aren’t any porous stones that the chemicals will attack and corrode or settings that will loosen, it’s safe to use.
The other method would be a chemical soak, here there are lots of different options. Homemade remedies such as vinegar, water, and bicarbonate of soda are ok, but you really need to rub it after the soak to clear the tarnish. This is difficult on the inside of links. Then there are the commercial chemical solutions, most of which use acids to break down the oxides. Unfortunately, due to silver (and gold) being soft metals, over time these chemicals eat away at the surface, so use sparingly.
All Hail the Silver Cloth
Basically, everything aside from chains will need a different method to return them to their shining best. Your best option is a silver cloth - we stock the best, Town Talk Silver Cloth in a large size, and we also include a mini-cloth in each order.
Not only is it going to remove the tarnishing, but it will ‘buff’ the surface of the metal helping to remove the tiny scratches, that over time will build up and will give it a frosted look (inevitable to some degree but I personally love the look of old silver that has softened and mellowed) If the oxidising has gone a little too far for just a rub with the dry cloth, then drip a little water on the affected area first, this helps to release the impregnated solutions in the cloth.
What About the Gemstones?
There is so much to say about caring for precious stones that I could have written a full Jewellery Care Guide all of its own on this topic! Instead, I created this blog all about caring for different stones. Feel free to get in touch via email if you still have questions after reading it.
Can I Wear My Jewellery Swimming?
I often get asked whether it's OK to wear jewellery in the ocean (Kalapriya is based on the south coast of NSW!) and basically the answer is yes you can. Just be sure to give your jewellery a little love once you’re back on shore. Rinse in clean water, dry well and if you can, give it a quick clean over with a silver cloth. That’s the silver part, the stones vary - read our Stone Care blog to learn more.
The ABSOLUTE worse place for jewellery, though, is a hot tub! I know this from experience. I still have a pair of anklets that are totally black, several years after exposure to the heavily chlorinated water. So, avoid wearing jewellery in this kind of environment.