CARING FOR YOUR METAL JEWELRY by TerrAdore Jewelry
You don’t have to avoid wearing silver and copper jewelry just because you have had a bad experience with discoloration (tarnishing) or skin reaction? Here are a few simple steps which will allow you to enjoy wearing metal jewelry without any problems.
TerrAdore jewelry designs have been treated prior to purchase to avoid discoloration where possible. In the case of intricate designs, sterling silver has been substituted by argentium, a no-tarnish, higher grade silver which contains platinum. This product is a more expensive silver than sterling and may be reflected in the overall price of the item depending on the amount of silver used.
Here are a few ways to maintain your metal jewelry so that it always looks beautiful:
- Clean jewelry regularly as the environment, skin oils and finger-prints can damage the finish of any jewelry. Avoid commercial jewelry cleaners for silver, particularly the dipping kind or the ones you can purchase from the hardware or grocery store, as they can permanently ruin the metal and gemstones. Rubbing with a soft cloth (a clean, well-worn cotton rag) after each wearing is ideal, or, if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, gently scrub the piece with blue Dawn or other gentle dishwashing detergent and a soft toothbrush. If the silver is very tarnished you may have to a polishing paper or cloth (available from TerrAdore) from a reputable jewelry store and spend some time with the piece to bring back the color and shine. Copper cleaning products (Bar Keep or Penny Brite) will clean copper, but tomato-based sauces such as ketchup also work.
- Always rinse thoroughly after cleaning, dry with a clean soft cloth and then blow dry (if the piece is special or expensive) to remove all moisture before protecting and storing. .
- After cleaning, protect your jewelry by coating it with restoration wax or any of the following: soft beeswax, furniture wax, car wax, floor wax, or neutral shoe polish. Rub the metal with a small amount of wax on a soft cloth, wait a few minutes, and then buff. Before waxing, assess how it will affect the finish of the jewelry, such as the patina, etching, embossing or shine. You may want to just wax the parts that are not seen.
- Longer term protection can be achieved by applying clear nail polish or spray polyurethane on the parts of the jewelry that cannot be seen or touch the skin. You can also use jewelry sealer, found at jewelry supply stores. These longer term coatings tend to be more noticeable than wax.
- Store your jewelry in small plastic bags with as much air removed as possible. Optimal effects are achieved by placing an anti-tarnish paper, or the anti-moisture packets found in medicine bottles, in the bag with each piece. Anti-tarnish papers can be obtained by jewelry supply stores and TerrAdore. Having more than one piece of jewelry per bag increases the chances of scratching and discoloration.
- Avoid wearing copper or silver jewelry on the beach, in the sea or bathing with salts. When living or vacationing in salty environments, it is even more important to clean metal jewelry after use and store in plastic bags with anti-tarnish paper.