Have you ever gone to your jewellery box to get that gorgeous silver bangle you wore to that party a few months ago, only to discover that it’s lost its lovely shine and it now appears dirty and black? Cosmetics, soaps, perfumes and everyday dirt are just a few things that can cause your jewellery to tarnish and make stones to appear flat.
Here's our tips on how to clean your jewellery collection.
Remove Tarnish from Silver
Silver, left on its own and exposed to the elements, will unfortunately tarnish. If your silver jewellery is left at the bottom of a drawer or on the side for months on end, the pollutants in the air will cause the silver to oxidise and blacken.
If you want to clean and prevent tarnish, silver polish is the only way to go – we recommend Town Talk Anti-tarnish Silver Polish. But if you need something you can access right away, try these DIY methods:
- For pieces that are dull, filmy or starting to discolour, mix a few drops of a mild washing up liquid with warm water and dip in a soft cloth. Rub the jewellery, then rinse in cool water before buffing with another soft cloth until it’s dry. No dish soap? You can also use tomato ketchup or toothpaste with this method.
- For a heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda with one part water. Wet the silver and apply the solution with a soft, lint-free cloth. Work the paste into the crevices, turning the cloth as it goes grey, then rinse and buff dry. Avoid rubbing silver-plated jewellery too much as it could wear off the finish.
Shining up Gold
Give gold jewellery a bubble bath by pouring a few drops of mild washing up liquid into a small bowl of sodium-free sparkling water or club soda to loosen dirt and remove debris. Put the jewellery into a small tea strainer, and place it in the bowl to soak for about five minutes (or for gold filled jewellery, no more than one minute). Swish it around and then take out each piece to go over settings etc. with a soft toothbrush. Rinse each piece under running water and dry with a soft cloth.
Polishing Dulled Pearls
Pearls easily lose their lustre because they’re so porous. Whether they’re real, cultured, or faux, you must clean peals with care. First, lay the strand on a soft cloth. Dip a clean, small makeup brush into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo, and go over each pearl. To finish, rinse the pearls with a clean, well-wrung damp cloth. Let the strand dry flat to prevent the string from stretching. This no-soak treatment is also good for turquoise, another porous stone.
De-Gunking Costume Jewellery
With costume jewellery, stones are often glued rather than set, so don’t soak pieces in water or the glue could loosen and the gems could fall off. Therefore, for costume jewellery, dab a cloth into a bubbly solution of washing up liquid and water, and gently wipe any smudges or grime. Then rinse the piece with a well-wrung cloth dampened in plain water. Pat dry and lay the pieces upside down so moisture doesn’t soak into the setting.
Keep your jewellery looking good for longer
Always remove your rings when washing your hands or applying lotions to keep settings grime-free. After wearing pearls, wipe body oils and perfume off with a soft cloth. As for silver, it becomes shinier the more it's worn (the oils in your skin and friction slows down tarnishing), so don't let it sit in your jewellery box!
When you're not wearing it, store pieces in your jewellery box or an anti-tarnish bag to stop them being exposed to pollutants in the air. Keep a polishing cloth handy in your jewellery box so you can keep it nice and shiny after wearing it.
With all jewellery, please take care when cleaning it, especially if it has gemstones in it. Never use any chemicals that you’re not sure about; if in doubt, pop along to your local jewellers who will be able to clean it for you to make it look brand new.
If you've tried any of these tips, or have your own tried and tested methods, we'd love to hear in the comments below!