General advice for the care of your handmade jewellery
No matter what it’s made from, jewellery is delicate and should be treated with care. A few simple steps and precautions will help you keep your jewellery in tip-top condition.
Silver naturally tarnishes, especially when exposed to pollutants in the air and to humidity. The darker areas in recesses that develop as a result are often considered to be part of the unique charm of silver jewellery.
Bear in mind, though, that silver that is regularly worn generally needs a bit less care. You may want to have your silver jewellery professionally cleaned every couple of years: we offer an aftercare service on all our jewellery. Please contact us to enquire about charges and turnaround times for this service.
Cleaning polished or frosted silver
Unless it contains items that could be damaged by being submerged in water, occasionally wash your silver jewellery in warm water with a phosphate-free detergent or mild shampoo, carefully rinse it, and thoroughly dry it with a soft cotton cloth (or a hairdryer on a low heat – but only if you judge gentle heat won’t harm it).
If silver jewellery does become tarnished (brown-looking), we advise the use of the following simple and efficient cleaning method that also has the benefit of being non-toxic. Happily, no rubbing or scrubbing is involved. Here’s how:
- Place the silver jewellery in a small dish lined with aluminium foil. For the desired electro-chemical reaction to occur, the silver must touch the aluminium.
- Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda over the jewellery and pour on hot water until the jewellery is covered. It’s fine to clean several pieces at once, as long as you take care that they don’t scratch each other and that chains don’t become tangled. Additional bicarbonate of soda may be required (depending on how much water you’ve used).
- Results should be visible within a minute or two. Once the jewellery is clean, thoroughly wash it in warm water with phosphate-free detergent, rinse well, then dry it carefully with a soft cloth. Thorough drying after cleaning is essential, as moisture is one of the main causes of tarnish. Careful use of a hairdryer can assist.
- Cautions: as with all cleaning products, the jewellery should never be left in contact with the solution longer than necessary to remove the tarnishing. If using gloves when washing your jewellery, use latex (unless allergic) and not rubber gloves. This method is for bright-finish silver jewellery only: other materials and gemstones may be adversely affected.
Cleaning gold vermeil
Our vermeil jewellery is solid sterling silver, coated with a thick (2.5 microns) layer of real gold. The layer of gold is much thicker than with standard gold-plating, but may still be accidentally removed by scuffing, over-zealous cleaning or damage. Clean gold vermeil jewellery only when necessary: to clean, wash with diluted phosphate-free detergent or mild shampoo, rinse carefully and thoroughly dry with a soft cotton cloth or hairdryer.
Re-plating service for gold vermeil
Unlike with standard gold plating ( which is often just a very thin layer of low-carat gold over a base metal like brass), our quality gold vermeil (whether 18k rose gold vermeil or 22k yellow gold vermeil) can last a lifetime with minimal wear and careful storage. However, time, heavy wear and/or incorrect storage may result in your jewellery requiring some love and attention: we offer a re-plating service if necessary for all our jewellery, at modest cost. Please contact us for details and prices for this service.
Patinas and antiquing
If your jewellery has an antiqued (blackened) patina, we will have applied a sealant to prolong the life of the patina. However, patinas are surface effects, and cannot be considered to be permanent. Expect a patinated surface effect to be naturally worn away from raised surfaces over time and with wear, and to be affected or removed by cleaning. Most pieces can be re-antiqued if necessary/desired: please contact us for details and prices.
Proper storage is key to minimising damage through scratches, and to minimising tarnishing. When not being worn, each piece should be put away separately, so that the metals do not rub against and scratch each other. Ideally, wrap each item in acid-free tissue paper for extra protection, and place inside polyethylene plastic zip bags (your jewellery will have arrived packed in acid-free tissue paper). The airtight zip seal keeps out harmful pollutants from the air, as well as humidity. Please note that jewellery should not be stored in our recycled Kraft gift boxes or on our recycled Kraft presentation cards, as the acids in recycled paper and card can adversely affect non-ferrous metals over time.
With proper care your jewellery will stay as beautiful as the day you first wore it and will become a precious heirloom that can be enjoyed by generations. We wish you many years of enjoyment from it.
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