Gold Jewelry Care
The most common reason when gold turns or tarnishes, it is metallic abrasion, caused by makeup on skin or clothing. Cosmetics often contain compounds harder than the jewelry itself, which wear or rub off very tiny particles. Very finely divided metal always appears black rather than metallic, so it looks like a jet-black dust. When this dust comes into contact with absorbent surfaces such as skin or clothing, it sticks, forming a black smudge.
To prevent this, try switching cosmetics. If this is not possible, try removing jewelry while applying them, and clean skin areas in contact with jewelry with soap and water.
Another cause is actual corrosion of the metals. Gold itself does not corrode, but its primary alloys of silver or copper will do so (forming very dark chemical compounds) under moist or wet conditions.
When you perspire, fats and fatty acids released can cause corrosion of 14-karat gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast and semitropical areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors skin. Smog fumes gradually attack jewelry and are evident as a tarnish that rubs off on the skin.
Our suggestion is to remove jewelry often and use an absorbent powder, free of abrasives, on skin that comes into contact with jewelry.
Even the design of jewelry can be an influence. Wide shanks have more surface area to contact abrasives or corrosives. Concave surfaces inside a shank form collection points that trap moisture and contaminants, also causing a type of dermatitis.
You can remove all rings before using soaps, cleaning compounds or detergents, and clean their rings frequently. As well as solving the problem, you will be amazed at how much better your jewelry looks!
In addition to these corrective actions, we recommend that you switch to 18-karat gold or platinum. The lower alloy content of 18-karat gold (25%, versus almost 42%) significantly reduces the problem, and the use of platinum should eliminate it completely.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Care
Tarnishing of Sterling Silver is a Natural process that can never be stopped. It can only be slowed down by coating with a protective layer of lacquer. (HMH “double” lacquers all of the medals.) Over time, any sterling silver jewelry exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. It is the other metals, primarily copper, that makes sterling silver tarnish. The copper reacts to moisture and sulfur in the air, causing sterling silver to tarnish. Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals (hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, soaps, etc.) as well as acidic foods can speed up the tarnishing process.
Some people can wear Silver with no effect, while others, with a high acidity level in their body, can tarnish silver almost immediately. Like all other silver products ever made, they need to be cleaned and polished by the user to remove the tarnish.
• The medal can be worn “over” clothing to neutralize the natural tarnishing process for someone who has high body acidity
. • If the jewelry is taken off at times, the best way to prevent tarnishing is to store clean, dry sterling silver in a dry airtight container, like a Ziploc bag
. • An anti-tarnish strip with the silver jewelry in a Ziploc bag will help fight against tarnish
. • Don’t leave silver jewelry in the bathroom, and do not wear it in the shower, swimming pool or hot tub. Humidity can speed up the oxidation process that produces tarnish
. • Minimize sterling silver’s contact to chemicals (hairspray, perfume, body lotion, bleach, etc.)
. • After taking off silver jewelry, clean it with a dry soft cloth before putting it back into an airtight container
• Do not use rubber bands to bundle jewelry because when rubber bands age, they release sulfur that causes tarnishing
. • A general rule of thumb for silver jewelry: it should be the last thing on before leaving the house, and the first thing removed when returning home.
Tarnishing is not a defect. It is an inevitable occurrence that needs to be taken care of by the wearer, as it has been done for centuries.
If an item does begin to tarnish, cleaning it right away will make it easier to restore the shine. Use a silver polishing cloth to remove oxidation from silver.
If the polishing cloth doesn’t work, wash the silver jewelry (without gemstones or pearls) in warm water containing a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Immerse the sterling silver in the water and gently hand wash. Use a cotton swab for tight corners. A soft baby toothbrush can be used for more abrasive cleaning when needed.
If the jewelry contains gemstones or pearls, do not submerge the entire piece into water. Instead, use a cotton swab with a mild dishwashing liquid to wash only the silver. Thoroughly rinse and completely dry the sterling silver before storing, as moisture is one of the factors that contribute to tarnishing!
If this process has not removed the tarnish on the sterling silver, it may require a visit to a professional jeweler who will either clean the sterling silver with an ultrasonic cleaner, or buff it with stages of abrasive paper. We do not recommend using toothpaste or baking soda for cleaning as it may scratch the surface of the silver. The most effective approach to managing tarnish is to properly store, and clean sterling silver to prevent the tarnish before it takes effect.