Care of Jewellery
Give each piece of jewellery its own space. You can use compartments in a jewellery box or separate containers. Metal can scratch and scuff other metal. When gemstones and metals come in contact with each other, luster can be destroyed. Gemstones can scratch each other, too. If you prefer to keep all of your jewellery together in one big jewellery box, place each individual piece in a pouch or a sealed plastic bag. If you don't wear a piece often, just give it a wipe with a silver cloth before storing in a plastic bag.
For bracelets or necklaces, hang them on hooks or fasten the clasp when storing to prevent tangling.
Dry, Dry, Dry...Very important! Dry your jewellery thoroughly before placing it in an enclosed space. This will help prevent tarnish, clasp weakening and water damage to certain gemstones.
Gems requiring special care
Pearls need to be protected from scratches; perfumes and household chemicals which can wear away the nacre or cause color change.
Soft stones like lapis, howlite, turquoise, amber and opals can easily be scratched by pin stems and the edges of other jewellery. Protect pieces with these gemstones by wrapping them in jeweller's tissue and storing separately.Triplet opals should not be immersed in water.
All strung jewellery will need restringing at some point depending on how often it is worn. Its advised to restring every 12 months if the piece is worn often to avoid breakage and loss of stones or beads.
All gemstones should be protected from sharp blows, harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures and excessive exposure to strong light sources and sunlight as this can cause fading of the stones.
Keep your jewellery away from excessive exposure to the Sun or cold. Extreme heat can damage the jewellers cement (can cause the loss of stones), fade gemstones, damage pearls and marcasite. Severe cold can cause thermal shock and fracture some gemstones. Never leave your jewellery near a heat vent, window sill or the dashboard of a car.
What causes Sterling Silver to tarnish?
Tarnishing of sterling silver is a natural process. This is a result of the oxidation of the metal. Sometimes this is purposely done to enhance the features of the jewellery piece. All silver will need cleaning at some point.
Our precious metals are under constant attack by atmospheric pollutants during the manufacturing process, time in storage, transit, use and display. Build up of oils and acids from human hands and damp can accelerate the tarnishing process.
Of particular concern for sterling silver jewellery is hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Air pollution, petroleum products, fossil fuel combustion and natural sulfate breakdown are the culprits of corrosion, tarnishing and discoloration of metals.
Ironically, the more you wear your silver, the less it tarnishes! Silver should be protected from objects which are rich in sulfur such as: dried hard woods like oak, many paper and corrugated products made from the pulp of these woods. Oxidized / tarnished silver can be restored to its original color by a variety of methods. You can clean your silver with a silver cloth available at supermarkets. I would advise to wipe clean with a silver cloth after wear and before storing away, this only takes a few minutes. Do not use detergents, toothpaste or water on jewellery with stones or pearls. These will need specialized cleaning so not to damage the stones. Do not wear jewellery in swimming pools as the chlorine may effect the silver and may damage stones.
I hope this information helps you with the care of your jewellery so you can have many years of joy from wearing it.