Real Talk: Jewelry Care
If you search "jewelry care" online it’s easy to get swept up in the long list of things you should and shouldn’t be doing. And if you’re like us, we always want to know the “why” behind everything so we put some of the most common tips to the test and came up with a super easy guide to jewelry care (it’s only 3 steps) and answered some of your frequently asked questions.
But first, why do gold and silver tarnish?
While testing these tips, our experiments were done on our own jewelry (our jewelry is made from precious metals like 14K gold and sterling silver). Also, not all precious metals are created equal and it depends on the quality of the gold or sterling silver in your own jewelry. Here are some quick facts about these metals that explains what may cause them to tarnish in the first place (yes, even your solid gold jewelry):
14K Gold: While solid 24K gold does not tarnish, it’s too soft for use in jewelry which is why you often see 14K or 18K gold. It means it’s 14/24 or 18/24 parts gold alloyed with other metals such as copper, manganese, palladium and/or sterling silver. This is also why you might see some of your solid gold jewelry show some tarnish; it’s because of the other metal content.
925 Sterling Silver: Like gold, pure silver is too soft to use for jewelry and sterling silver is often used instead. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. Silver tarnishes when exposed to oxygen and sulfur. It’s not an indication of its quality but just a natural character of this precious metal.
14K Vermeil: Our jewelry is made from 14K vermeil which is a thick layer of 14K gold on sterling silver. Unlike gold plated jewelry that is flash plated with a thin layer of gold and where the base metal could be unknown, 14K vermeil is regulated. The base metal must be sterling silver and the gold layer is required to be at least 1.5 microns thick. We source our precious metals directly from select refineries that offer premium quality metals using sustainable refining methods and recycled materials.
3 easy tips to keep your jewelry sparkling:
1. Wear it often. The oils from your body help keep tarnish at bay.* Good quality jewelry is meant to be worn. We actually wear test our jewelry for over a year before we even think about introducing it to you. The real deal is yes, vermeil jewelry is a thick a layer of 14K gold on sterling silver so the gold will eventually wear slightly over a long period of time (and also dependent on how you take care of it) but it’s going to hold up to regular wear - otherwise, what’s the point in buying jewelry if you can’t wear it.
*Yes, this is dependent on body chemistry and there may be occasional instances where some people don’t react well to certain metals but most of the time, this isn’t the case.
2. Store your jewelry. As pretty as it is to keep your jewelry in beautiful dishes and jewelry holders, we recommend putting them in airtight containers like the box it comes in, jewelry pouches or even good ol’ small zip lock bags will do the trick. It protects it from the air which helps speed up tarnish (especially when it’s not on you - i.e. those protective body oils). Moisture and sunlight can also cause jewelry to tarnish or fade and of course, keeping it in a safe place keeps it from getting lost.
3. Give your jewelry a gentle wipe. Seems like everyone will tell you to clean your jewelry every time after you wear it but I don’t know anyone who actually does this. Gently wiping your jewelry will help get rid of residue to keep your jewelry looking sparkly but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t clean it after each wear. Periodic wiping is A-OK and when you do it, be gentle and use a soft cloth so it doesn’t scratch. Sometimes we just use the sleeve of our comfiest sweatshirt.
Common questions and answers:
1.“Never expose your jewelry to liquids” - yay or nay?
It’s ok if your jewelry gets exposed to water but keep it away from chemicals. Exposure to water doesn’t harm your jewelry, just gently dry it off. Chemicals (including pool chlorine, cleaning detergents, jewelry cleaning chemicals, beauty products like perfumes, hairspray, sunscreen, and lotions) can damage, eat away and dull precious metals (even solid gold jewelry) and do even worse to other non-precious metals.
2. Should I take my jewelry off when I work out?
It’s up to you. Sweat can leave a residue on your jewelry that can dull it and some people’s body chemistry just doesn’t mix well with certain metals (see Tip #1 above). Depending on the intensity of your work out, you also risk damaging or losing your jewelry. If you do leave your jewelry on during a workout, we recommend gently wiping it with a soft cloth (see Tip #2 above).
3. That DIY jewelry cleaning concoction all over Pinterest - does it work?
There’s a DIY jewelry cleaning solution all over Pinterest where you mix 1 cup boiling water, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda into a foil-lined container. Put your jewelry in it and then slowly add ½ a cup of vinegar and let the fizz do its magic. Rinse with water and then gently dry.
We put this to the test and it worked. However, this method is pretty harsh on jewelry and we wouldn’t do it regularly, only if the tarnish is really bad. If you do this too often, it eats away at the precious metal and especially with vermeil jewelry, the plating is thick enough to withstand this but probably not on a regular basis. We recommend doing the 3 steps above on the regular and resort to this for heavy duty cleaning.
before: (we put these pieces into extreme conditions to tarnish it so we could test this cleaning method)
after: (It worked! Thank you Pinterest)
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