jewelry care guide
Caring for Your Handcrafted Jewelry
In order for your jewelry to look its best for as long as possible, it is important to learn a bit about the materials used in your piece and how to care for them.
Please note that wire designs require very gentle washing so as not to dislodge the wire wrapping.
Avoid wearing your jewelry in the shower, pool, while working out, etc. Don’t expose it to cosmetics, hair products, or perfumes. When traveling with your jewelry, store each piece in separate compartments or bags to avoid pieces rubbing together.
Sterling Silver (bright, no patina or darkening)
The best way to store sterling silver jewelry is in a sealed plastic bag, by itself. This will prevent oxidation and scratches. Inexpensive anti-tarnish strips may be used in the bag to further prevent unwanted patina from forming. If it requires cleaning, the best method is a soft brush combined with gentle soap and warm water. Some stones should not be soaked. Pieces without gemstones may be dipped in silver cleaner – it is very important NOT to place gemstones in silver cleaner. A polishing cloth may be used as needed.
Sterling Silver (oxidized, with patina – black or antiqued)
This type of silver should ideally be stored the same way as bright silver, above, to prevent further patina from forming. It may be cleaned with a soft brush, warm water and a small amount of gentle soap (check if your gemstones can handle a soak or the soap first). NEVER use silver cleaner on pieces with oxidized sterling silver, as it will remove the intentional patina. A polishing cloth may be used as needed, but care must be taken not to remove the darkened areas of the metal.
14kt Gold- or Rose Gold-Fill
Gold-fill wire and components begin with a base-metal core, upon which a thick layer of 14kt gold or rose gold is heat and pressure bonded. The gold is a minimum of 5% of the total product weight, by law. This process is unlike plating – the core will not be exposed and the outer gold layer will not chip or wear away. Caring for this material is very easy. It resists tarnish, but should still be stored in a plastic bag by itself. It can be washed gently with a soft brush and warm water with gentle soap, if needed (check if your gemstones can tolerate soap and water first). Otherwise, swipe it with a soft polishing cloth to maintain cleanliness and shine.
Most gemstones can tolerate, and will only require, a wash with warm water and gentle soap. A soft brush works well if a deeper clean is needed. There are care exceptions for the following gemstones:
Amber (cannot use a brush – may scratch)
Chrysocolla (cannot use a brush – may scratch)
Coral (use a damp cloth)
Opal (use a damp cloth)
Pearl (use a damp cloth)
Turquoise (use a damp cloth to wipe, then dry immediately)