Face it, diamonds are not really forever. All metals and gems age and that's an undeniable fact. They will eventually wear, tarnish or oxidise. But with good maintenance and care we can dramatically slow that process down so they can age gracefully like J-Lo.
We recommend cleaning your jewels once per month, but if you're half as lazy as me that's never going to happen until absolutely necessary. For general cleaning simply add a generous amount of detergent or anti bacterial soap into a bowl of warm water. Soak your jewellery in the mixture for up to 15 minutes before gently scrubbing away any built-up dirt using a toothbrush, making sure to clean any crevices thoroughly . Dab with a clean cloth to dry. Easy!
Note: this method is not suitable for moonstone, opal gems or any jewellery that uses glue.
Oxygen is bad for your health... if you're made of silver. There are multiple reasons why silver can tarnish and turn black. Chemical reaction to moisture, skin acids, oxygen, sulfur and hydrogen (which can be found in food items and everyday products, even polluted air) just to name a few causes. 2-3% of people have skin chemistry that can also react to the alloys in sterling silver causing discolouration.
Plain silver pieces can be cleaned using a silver dip solution. This method is only suitable if the piece is entirely silver (without decorative gems or other materials). Alternatively a polishing cloth works wonders and can instantly return the shine to your bling.
Gold can be cleaned using the "general cleaning" instructions above. Alternatively you can take it to your local jeweller to have it professional cleaned using ultrasonic cleaner or gold cleaning solutions.
It might be tempting to use a polishing cloth to bring back the shine, but please don't. The polishing compounds in the cloth can be abrasive and wear away the plating. Instead opt for a soft non-polishing cloth to remove any dirt. A gentle touch is key.
Mistakes to avoid:
these mistakes are made way too often, so a bit of a heads up for what not to do
1.) Using saline solution to clean stainless steel - saline contains salt which is corrosive and can significantly damage jewellery. If you're using saline solution to clean fresh body piercings make sure you dry yourself before reinserting any jewellery to avoid contact.
2.) Swimming with it on in sea water - Same as above. Salt hates jewellery. Chlorine in pools can also wreak havoc on gold jewellery so prolong contact should definitely be avoided.
3.) Showering with you jewellery - Although the occasional shower or dip in the pool with your jewellery is fine it's not a good to make it a habit. Steam and hot water can loosen the glue that holds the pieces together and constant contact with water can cause erosion and rusting depending on the metal.
4.) Using toothpaste to clean jewellery - toothpaste is slightly abrasive and can leave micro scratches to soft metals and platings
5.) Using alcohol as cleaning agent - there's a myth that alcohol and lemon juice are good cleaning agents for jewellery. Myth busted. These solutions are too harsh and can damage porous gem stones like opal and emerald and can corrode metals.
6.) Exposure to beauty products - hand lotion, hairspray and perfume can be devastating to jewellery. Remove any jewellery before applying products to minimise the exposure.
7.) Ultrasonic cleaners - the aggressive vibration of an ultrasonic cleaner can create fractures in softer gems and loosen jewellery that are made from different pieces. It's best to consult a professional jeweller before using this method.
8.) Wearing fine jewellery to bed - as you toss and turn in bed delicate jewellery can get caught on blankets and sheets causing bends and breaking. It's best practice to take off any jewellery before you catch some Zzzzzz's.
It's a hard life being a piece of jewellery. You're exposed to many elements which can harm your shine. Our best advice is to more mindful of it. To avoid damage and needing to clean your jewellery often, remove them before doing any intense activities like working out or sports so they don't get exposed to sweat, body oils and physical wear and tear.