To maintain your jewellery, wipe gently with a damp cloth that is soft and clean. Do not soak in water. Avoid contact with soaps, detergents, perfume or hair spray.
STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY
As a natural material, silver reacts with its environment, especially the chemicals in the air and, over time, silver does become tarnished. This doesn’t mean that your fabulous new piece of jewellery is defective, far from it, it just proves that your beautiful accessory is good quality silver.
It’s very easy to get your silver jewellery back to its former glory and, like most things, the earlier you catch the tarnish the easier it is to get rid of it. When tarnish starts to turn any colour from yellowy brown to black you may have to get it professionally cleaned.
You can clean your mildly tarnished silver at home with Sterling Silver dips - but you do need to be careful! The dips, while very effective at removing tarnish, are equally as effective at removing the colour and polish off gemstones. It’s a good rule not to dip any jewellery with stones, but gemstones that are particularly affected are pearls, sodalite, malachite, lapis lazuli, white opals, turquoise or any soft or porous stones.
Also remember not to leave your jewellery in the dip too long and don’t rinse it off with cold water otherwise you could find your jewellery gets a white residue which can be as hard to remove as the tarnish. To make sure your jewellery stays perfect, always read the manufacturer’s instructions.
To clean untarnished silver (and keep it that way), use a phosphate-free detergent or non-abrasive cloth made for cleaning jewellery - these cloths should come with a built in jewellery cleaner.
There are also some preventative steps you can take - so that you won’t have to worry about tarnished silver. Cleaning your silver regularly is one way to avoid it but you can also avoid tarnish by wearing your jewellery often. Just be careful that when you’re wearing your silver that you don’t expose it to household chemicals, hair products, perfumes, cosmetics, perspiration, rubber, latex, chlorinated water or direct sunlight.
Avoiding (or at least reducing) tarnish is easy, just make sure you put your make-up, perfume and hairspray on before you put your jewellery on - and take off your silver jewellery before you go swimming and sunbathing. Getting dressed just like your granny used to, with jewellery last, has more than just quaint traditionalism to recommend it - it’s a habit that’ll help keep your jewelry sparkling and beautiful.
14K GOLD FILLED JEWELLERY
Gold filled jewellery is a good quality, more affordable alternative to solid gold. Also known as “rolled gold” or “gold overlay”, it’s easily confused with gold plating; however, the key difference is that it’s filled with solid gold, hence the name!
In terms of construction of gold filled jewellery, the layer of solid gold is bonded to a base metal (such as brass, rhodium, copper or sterling silver) using a specific amount of heat and pressure. The jewellery piece has to have solid gold content of at least 5% of its total weight, otherwise it’s not classed as gold filled.
“Yellow gold” refers to the specific colouring of the jewellery which, in this case, is widely recognized as the traditional gold hue. You can also get “white gold” (silver) filled jewellery, as well as “rose gold”
Unlike gold plating, gold filled jewellery is tarnish resistant and won’t turn your skin green!
Furthermore, if you care for gold filled jewellery properly, it will last you a life time.
HOW TO CARE FOR GOLD FILLED
- Clean your gold filled jewellery regularly using warm water to wash and a soft cloth to pat dry. Never rub it after washing as this can cause discolouration.
- Avoid wearing your gold filled jewellery in the ocean or swimming pools, as the salt water and chlorine can cause damage.
- Keep your gold filled jewellery as dry as possible and away from pesky humidity! Make sure you store it individually in an air-tight plastic bag as rubbing it against other jewellery can cause it to lose its sheen.
- Avoid wearing your gold filled jewellery when cleaning. Exposure to heavy detergents and cleaning agents can be detrimental.
- Be mindful that perfume, hairspray and hand lotions may tarnish your gold filled jewellery due to the harsh chemicals they contain.
- Gently wipe your gold filled piece with a jewellery polishing, non-scratch cloth every now and again to promote shine.
- Excessive touching of gold filled jewelry, whether by yourself or other people, can lead to surface friction and discoloring – so try to avoid the temptation!
GOLD/ SILVER PLATED JEWELRY
Generally, plating is the process through which a piece of jewellery made from a certain metal or alloy is covered with a layer of another metal. For example, a copper or silver ring with a layer of gold on top would be sold as gold plated.
Eventually the plating that covers your jewellery will inevitably wear away. The thicker the outer layer (Vermeil) , the more time it will take before it wears away and the lower layer becomes visible.
At that point, you can take the piece to your jeweller to get it replated. The problem with replating is that it costs money and some metals, such as gold or rhodium, are very expensive