Jewelry is one of the most essential elements of any outfit. They exude that luxury and sophistication that radiate to the person wearing them. Necklaces, earrings, and other accessories create that excellent finishing touch, elevating any look. And since they can be crafted into various unique designs and shapes using different materials such as metals, beads, and gemstones, they remain popular today.
However, while jewelry pieces are made of the highest quality materials, they can still tarnish and get damaged over time if not taken care of properly. Thus, it’s crucial to have a jewelry care guide to ensure that the timeless jewelry won’t run out of time. But if an unfortunate event happens to these treasures, how will you bring them back to life?
Well, nothing to worry about because this blog will discuss several ways to save and restore your jewelry. First, let’s get started by learning what causes damage to your classic pieces.
What Damages Your Jewelry?
Besides time, there are many things that can affect the beauty of your jewelry. Below are a few of them:
Extreme Temperatures and Humidity
The way that jewelry reacts to temperature may vary depending on the piece’s structure and substance. Extreme temperatures can harm and tarnish some materials because they are sensitive to them.
For instance, jewelry with gemstones like opals and emeralds may fracture or explode when transitioning from ambient to below-freezing temperatures. On the other hand, other precious metals and gemstones may become brittle or faded when exposed to direct sunlight for long hours. Some even get deformed in extreme temperatures.
Given all this, it’s always essential to keep your jewelry in a cool, dry place to preserve the visual quality and structural integrity of your treasures. Also, don’t wear them outside if it’s blazing hot or cold outside. Learn how to dress for the occasion.
Exposure To Chemicals
Exposure to chemicals is another one that can pose harm to your jewelry. Chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia, bleach, and acetone can cause discoloration, corrosion, and in some cases, deterioration of the metal you’re using for your accessories.
Aside from those, your jewelry can also be damaged when you get into contact with perfume, hair products, lotion, and other skin products you wear. All of them contain substances like sulfur and oxygen, which when combined with the compounds in the jewelry, cause discoloration.
That being said, every time you’ll get up for a party, and want to look radiant using jewelry, make wearing accessories your last step. Apply all your makeup first before you incorporate jewelry pieces into your outfit.
In addition, when doing skincare for your neck, make sure to remove your necklace before you start. That way, the products won’t get in contact with your jewelry and cause such buildup that leads to tarnish and discoloration.
After a long day wearing your jewelry, you have to make sure that you wipe it clean before you put it back in its case. That way, you can get rid of the dirt, sweat, and other substances that may cause tarnishes and discoloration on your jewelry.
In addition, you have to separate your jewelry pieces by type because each one has its own storage requirements. For instance, you must not place your diamonds in the same storage as other gemstones and precious metals. Because as you may already know, diamonds are the toughest element by nature; they may be too abrasive for other jewelry materials, such as emeralds and rubies, causing blemishes and scratches.
Finally, getting custom-made jewelry boxes would be best since each precious jewelry deserves special attention. Have your designer craft one with a soft lining and many compartments to store your jewelry pieces in a way that they won’t rub against each other. This way, you will avoid abrasions every time you take your jewelry in and out of the box.
Sometimes, it is the craftsmanship that decides the lifespan of your jewelry. If your accessories are designed in a very poor way, expect them to break, even with just the slightest bit of pressure. Poorly soldered pieces can come apart with the stones falling out—no matter how precious they may be—causing you to lose your treasure. Additionally, poor craftsmanship can cause finished pieces to snag on clothing and even irritate your skin.
Ways To Bring Them Back To Life
If there are things that can taint the beauty of your jewelry pieces, there must also be a way to restore them. Let’s take a closer look at the simplest ways to bring back your treasures to life using the products you can find in the comfort of your own home.
Toothpaste and A Soft-Bristle Toothbrush
You’ve probably used this technique in cleaning hard-to-remove stains on various things at home, but it turns out that it can also work in removing tarnish from jewelry. Plus, you can do it in very easy steps.
Though unlike how you normally use toothpaste and toothbrush, here, you will squeeze the toothpaste directly onto your tarnished jewelry. Then, work the paste into all the item’s crannies and crevices. Once you apply the paste all over the piece, gently scrub the toothpaste off using a soft-bristled toothbrush. While doing so, look out for debris and dirt and scrape them all off. Rinse afterward with warm water and dry it with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
There are two ways you can use white vinegar to bring your gem back to life. One is by combining it with water. The other is by using baking soda with it. Below is the procedure for using both.
White Vinegar + Water
In this process, you have to mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Soak the jewelry for 15 to 20 minutes and then scrub it gently with a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to target every tarnish you see on the jewelry, and also soak the toothbrush first in the solution before doing the job. After cleaning, the jewelry should be rinsed in cold water and dried with a soft cloth.
White Vinegar + Baking Soda
While the previous method aims to just clean, combining baking soda and vinegar is best for polishing your jewelry item. Basically, you must have already cleaned it off before going to this step.
Here, you have to create a mixture of a 1/2 cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda. Soak your jewelry items in the solution for two to three hours. Once the time is up, rinse your precious items under a cold shower and dry them thoroughly with a soft cloth.
While these cleaning methods are often effective, they should be used sparingly, as excessive use of vinegar may damage the jewelry over time.
While lemon juice looks too abrasive to clean tarnished jewelry, you’ll be surprised how it works wonders. Your first step would be creating a solution in a bowl with part water and part lemon juice. After that, you can soak your tarnished jewelry and let it sit for at least 10 mins above. If the dirt and grim don’t dissolve after the said time, let it sit for a little while longer before rinsing it with water and drying it off with a clean microfiber cloth.
Warm Bubble Bath
Giving your jewelry pieces a warm bubble bath may be the easiest method, but it can do the trick. It can work for various jewelry materials like silver, gold, and other precious stones.
All you have to do is get a bowl and fill it with warm water and mild dish soap. Mix it until the solution becomes foamy, and then place the jewelry there for at least 30 minutes. Once done, put it in another bowl with clean water to rinse. Scrub the tarnished part using a soft-bristled toothbrush and then buff dry using a clean cloth.
Aluminum Foil, Salt, and Baking Soda
Line a plate or found pan using the shiny side up of an aluminum foil sheet. Then, lay your tarnished jewelry on it. Once done, mix one cup of warm water with one tablespoon each of salt and baking soda. Then, pour some into the dish to create a chemical reaction and eliminate the dirt and tarnish from your treasure. Finish the process by rinsing it off with warm water and drying it clean with a clean cloth.
Using ammonia is another way to bring your jewelry pieces back to their best condition. Just create a solution with one full cup of warm water and a 1/2 cup of clear ammonia. Then let your treasures soak for at least 10 minutes. Once done, wipe them clean and air dry them.
Always remember that while it can work on gold and silver jewelry, this technique is not suitable for pearls and other precious metals as it could damage their fragile interiors.
The Art of Restoration
The art of jewelry restoration can be complex since its goal is to bring your treasures back to their original condition. Depending on the extent of the may, it may involve cleaning, polishing, and replacing the missing parts of the jewelry.
Given that, if the issue of your jewelry is already outside your scope and can’t be fixed by our tips above, the best course of action would be to take your jewelry to a professional jeweler. That way, you can ensure to get the best restoration work since they’re skilled and have the tools to do so.