Last month we provided tips summertime tips for cleaning and maintaining your jewelry in the summer months, as well as tips on caring for pearls and gemstones. This month G&S Metals and Refiners wants to continue with our tips, by providing tips for cleaning silver (whether sterling or Argentium®, platinum, and gold jewelry.) As you read our tips below you should keep in mind that when it comes to cleaning jewelry you don’t want to vigorously scrub, lighter is better!
Sterling and Argentium® Silver Jewelry
Clean silver jewelry with a mild soap and water solution, allowing the water to bead up, and then pat dry with a soft cloth. For more stubborn grime, use a commercial jewelry cleaner designed for silver use.
Another option for cleaning tarnished silver is science. Using baking soda, aluminum foil and hot water you can convert silver sulfite into aluminum sulfite via an electrochemical reaction, just watch our youtube video below!
Store your silver in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tarnish-preventive bag or wrapped in a soft piece of felt or cloth. Store pieces individually, so that they don’t knock together and scratch.
Do not rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or a fine piece of felt; tissue paper or paper towels can cause scratches in the jewelry because of the fibers in these products.
Make sure your silver is not exposed to air during storage; this can cause silver to tarnish.
An ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly clean jewelry by using sound waves to loosen dirt and grime, but may damage or crack colored gemstones or dislodge stones from loose or compromised settings. Ultrasonic cleaning machines are best for all-metal pieces.
Remove tarnish with commercial jewelry cleaner, or by using mild soap and water mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Carefully brush with a soft bristle brush (a soft toothbrush or even a paint brush.) After the brushing, simply rinse with lukewarm water and allow to dry.
For heavily tarnished or worn jewelry (especially antique jewelry,) consult a jeweler or jewelry restoration specialist
Remove grease from karat gold jewelry by dipping the jewelry into isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Some suggest various liquors for this purpose, but methyl alcohols like liquor can leave a film on gemstones, reducing their luster and brilliance.
Some common advice for cleaning jewelry is to use whitening tooth paste. This is not a good recommendation as the abrasiveness of toothpaste may scratch the polished finish, reducing the shine.
Platinum can be cleaned in the same manner as other fine jewelry, with mild soap, warm water, and gentle brushing with a soft bristle brush
Some commercial jewelry cleaners will work for platinum, and will indicate this on the bottle.
Store your platinum jewelry separately and with care, not allowing pieces to touch each other as even platinum is susceptible to scratches.
Scratches and other signs of wear can eventually appear on platinum. However a jeweler will be able to polish the piece back to as good as new.
If your platinum is set with diamonds or other precious stones, be especially careful, as these materials can be more susceptible to deformation and loosening.
Some fine jewelry pieces combine platinum with karat gold jewelry. Care for these pieces as you would gold jewelry.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our back to back blog posts with tips on cleaning and maintaining your jewelry! If you have any additional tips for proper jewelry care you can share them in the comments below!