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The Complete Guide to Cleaning Your Jewellery - Gold, Silver and More

Last updated on March 06, 2023

Brand new jewellery sparkles, especially under the bright lights at the jewellery store. But after a while, your earrings, bracelets and rings take on a worn look. Dust and dirt creep into the crevices of your favourite filigree ring. Silver earrings tarnish and show their age. Even diamonds, those light-filled gems, can appear cloudy and dim.

If this is the state of your jewellery, it’s cleaning time! With a little care and attention, you can restore your collection to its former glory and wear your jewellery with pride. You may even find that you love your rings and necklaces more than ever, now that you’ve seen them at their very best.

Refer to our complete guide to cleaning jewellery whenever your collection loses its lustre. Let’s get started.


General Jewellery Care

We’ll talk about specific cleaning techniques for different kinds of jewellery in the next section. But first, let’s review a few tips for general jewellery care.


Don’t allow jewellery pieces to rub against each other or hard surfaces. 

Scratches plague fine jewellery, but you can minimise the risk of scratches by storing it in small, padded boxes or soft pouches. When you’re wearing your jewellery, avoid using heavy tools or engaging in activities that could result in scrapes and scratches. For instance, you’ll want to leave your rings at home if you’re planning to spend the day building sandcastles at the beach. You can always wrap jewellery in tissues and place them in a sealable freezer or lunch bag. 


Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.

The chemicals in household cleaners, sunscreen, nail polish remover and pool chemicals can react with precious metals and gemstones, altering their appearance and affecting their sheen. If you can’t remove your ring for cleaning, wear protective gloves to prevent exposure to the chemicals.


Be cautious about jewellery and water.

Not only can jewellery pieces clatter down drains or get lost in the sea, but they can suffer damage from everyday activities like showering. Soap residue from shampoo and body wash can coat jewellery, which makes it susceptible to attracting dust and dirt particles. 


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Caring for Gold Jewellery

Now that we know the general guidelines for caring for jewellery let’s look at specific instructions for gold. 

Since pure gold is too soft for jewellery making, your pieces will be made of an alloy containing gold and other metals. If the gold is 14k or above, it shouldn’t tarnish or discolour with regular wear. If you’ve noticed a colour change, wash the gold piece with mild soap, water and a soft brush. Rinse it thoroughly, and shine it up with a soft, clean cloth.

If a good cleaning doesn’t bring it back to its original sheen, you should question whether your jewellery is made of gold. If it takes on a greenish tint, it may be brass or contain a higher content of other metals than you suspected.The green is caused by an acidic reaction to copper or silver in the metal. 


Caring for Silver Jewellery

All precious metals can tarnish to some degree, but sterling silver tarnishes quickly. Left to itself over time, sterling silver turns brown, grey or black. Sterling silver tarnishes more easily than pure silver because it has been alloyed with copper. What can you do to prevent tarnish?

One of the most natural strategies for preventing tarnish is to wear your silver jewellery regularly. As the metal moves against your skin, it stays clean and bright. You can also prevent tarnish by avoiding humidity, when possible. For example, don’t leave your silver earrings in a steamy bathroom. Instead, tuck them away in a jewellery box in a dryer location. If you live in a humid climate, consider placing your jewellery storage near a humidity absorber.


Caring for Gemstones

Clean gemstones using water, a neutral, mild detergent and a soft brush. Jewellery that features hard gemstones like diamonds, rubies and sapphires are generally safe for use in ultrasonic cleaners. 

Avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner for pieces that contain pearls, turquoise, opal, lapis lazulis and other soft gemstones. These fragile gemstones require careful handling and shouldn’t be worn when they could be in contact with household cleaners, shampoo, perfume and other chemical-containing substances.


Insure Your Jewellery

While you can keep your jewellery clean and safe at home, it’s not always possible to protect it from theft and loss. That’s why we provide affordable jewellery insurance to our customers. To learn more about protecting your jewellery with JewelCover insurance, get in touch with us today.

If you wouldn’t be able to easily replace your favourite jewellery, insure it. Our full-value protection provides peace of mind.


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