Truth time - The pandemic hasn't just been hard for us, it's also a problem for your jewellery if you don't look after it. If you've been wearing your silver rings frequently you may have noticed that all that handwashing and hand sanitising isn't doing your jewellery any favours. You're going to need to give them a bit of love to keep them looking good.
Sterling Silver Jewellery does best when kept away from chemicals, and that includes soaps & sanitiser where the alcohol content, added perfume scent, sticky build up and constant moisture is a big no-no for silver. The chemicals react with the air and the surface of the metal to leave behind a tarnish - anything from a dull grey to patchy black coating on the surface. Add in the inevitable build up of left over soap particles between your finger and rings as you quickly dry your hands and they could be starting to look a bit grim. Ideally, it's best to take them off completely when washing hands but that's not always practical.
Here are my top tips to keep your jewellery looking good.
Try and avoid contact with chemicals if you can. That means taking your rings off if you know you're going to be in contact with sanitiser often and cleaning them after you have. Prevention is always the best solution.
Use your own hand sanitiser if possible. Each time you use a different type of sanitiser you're introducing more chemicals as all sanitisers and soaps are made differently, and this can cause unexpected reactions – both for your jewellery and your skin!
Take off your jewellery, or wear rubber gloves when cleaning. Again, that heady mix of disinfectants, antibacs and bleach are a recipe for disaster!
Bonus jewellery care tips too important to leave out!
Never EVER wear Silver jewellery in a hot tub. Instant deep almost permanent blackening of Silver will occur- so deep that even I don't have the tools to fully remove it! This is due to the products used in a hot tub to keep the water clean.
Avoid shampoos & treatments with selenium sulphide (as found in anti dandruff treatments). Again,this chemical reacts immediate with the silver and creates a black surface that's hard to fix.
Everyday Jewellery Care
If they have succumbed to tarnish, or soap build up, the best treatment is to give them a light scrub with an old toothbrush and a mild soap (I use unperfumed washing up liquid or Castile soap with lukewarm water - not too hot nor too cold!). If your ring has a gem, be very careful - some gems need special care so you may need to be very gentle. Take care to check that any pronged gems haven't become loose. If they have, then I'd recommend getting it fixed and cleaned professionally before the gem falls out! Dry with a microfibre or a cotton cloth. Use the Town talk cloth to buff it back to a high shine. The cloth is impregnated with a cleaning solution making it easy to use and returned the jewellery to a good shine.
A bit of care little and often is best - a fortnightly quick buff with the cleaning cloth, or a gentle scrub with an old soft toothbrush and just water and a little unperfumed soap will keep things looking fine, and stop any build up.
If in doubt about the best way to care for your pieces, contact the maker or jeweller where you've purchased from. Jewellery usually comes with a care label, or check their website for info. I'm more than happy to give advice on my own rings (just shoot me a message!) but other pieces by other makers may have platings or coating that need a specific care plan so always check in with them for tailored advice.