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CLEANING YOUR JEWELRY

by Rebekah Jaramillo

SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR CLEANING JEWELRY

 

Most of the jewelry I create is made from metals that are reactive; meaning they can tarnish and their finish will evolve over time. I LOVE this about metal, but I also LOVE shiny things. It's good to have an easy cleaning technique in your back pocket for when you need to brighten things up! I've got your back! Here's my go to technique:


SUPPLIES:

  1. Barkeepers Friend (aka BKF)
  2. Small dish
  3. Water
  4. Gloves (suggested)
This cleaning product (no, this is not sponsored but with how much I use it and recommend it that would be great! hah) works wonders! Shine up that tub, or a stained pot and your porcelain sink when you're done clean your jewels! You'll love it. It's available on most cleaning aisles and will only set you back only about $2-3 for a can. It's available in a premixed wet version, or in dry granules. I've only bought the dry granules for no reason other than that's what we've always had. 
 

HOW TO:

  1. Collect all jewels needing polishing.
  2. Make a paste with water & the BKF in a small dish.
  3. Using your fingers rub the paste into the jewelry.
  4. Rinse & dry jewelry WELL!
  5. Voila, enjoy your tarnish free and polished jewels!

Jewelry cleaning supplies

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Check these babies out! The jewelry on the left is how they looked before and the ones on the right are what they looked like after. I really appreciate and love the deep and dark color that jewelry takes on when it's patinated, so I don't often need to clean my jewelry, but somedays an outfit calls for a bright & shiny piece of jewelry and it's great to have this in your arsenal for a quick cleanup. Just do the cleaning before you get all fancy! 

Before and after comparisons of jewelry cleaned with barkeepers friend

 

Some things to note about how and why jewelry tarnishes.

 

TYPE OF METAL:

Not all metal is the same. Gold is a pure metal. It comes out of the ground and aside from being hammered and melted into shape it's exactly the same element from start to finish. Silver, otherwise known as fine silver, is also a pure metal but it's too soft to be worn, and so other metals are added to make it stronger. This is called alloy. Sterling Silver and brass are alloys, both mixed with varying levels of copper and/or tin to achieve the desired colors and strengths. Copper is the main culprit for tarnishing and oxidizing.


LOCATION OF WEAR:

You may notice that jewelry worn on your neck tarnishes faster than an earring might. The décolletage - your neck & chest area - is porous and oily, and often times the metal sits directly on the skin. Versus, an earring which has minimal point of contact with your skin. Versus a ring which gets touched and rubbed on clothing often, and which is a less porous and oily area. Each of these will have an effect on how your jewelry tarnishes.


STORAGE:

Keeping your jewelry stored in a dry area will help curb any tarnish. Here's a little pro tip you know those little packets that come inside of products you order or inside a package of seaweed? Those things are MONEY! Keep them in your jewelry box to absorb moisture and keep the tarnish and oxidation to a minimum! Storing in the bathroom is not ideal. (I say as I shake my finger at my own self!) Not only is it typically a very moist area, but products in the air will also effect the tarnish rate.


OTHER CLEANING METHODS:

A jewelry polishing cloth works wonders too! These cloths will work forEVER. They are specifically formulated with a gentle micro-abrasive. It's ideal for gold-filled pieces, and safe for precious metals, base metals, glass, wood, hard plastic, ceramic and mirrors.

We now jewelry polishing cloths available - for just $5! Add it on to your next order to keep your jewels looking sweet!

Here's a video of my process:

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