Cleaning Costume Jewelry
- METALS ONLY - no bead weaving
FOR STERLING SILVER PIECES
Your sterling silver jewelry needs to be properly stored to prevent oxidization and surface scratches and all that is needed is a little care. Storing in a drawer will help but storing in an air-tight baggy is perfect. It will stop tarnish and scratches.
To clean your sterling silver you can use a “dip” like Hagarty, or Goddard. I have even heard of fellow jewelry artists using toothpaste to polish the metals but I wouldn’t. Sounds like too much work.
This is the method I use especially where tiny cracks & crevices are present:
– 1 tbs baking soda
– 1 tsp of salt
– enough boiling water to cover your piece(s)
– tin foil for the bottom of your bowl (FOR ME THIS IS OPTIONAL)
Put everything on top of the tin foil including your item(s) and pour the bowling water. Simply let it sit for about 1 minute, or less, until the tarnish disappears. For layers of tarnish you can repeat the process after scrubbing with a toothbrush. Rinse with water and thoroughly dry.
Do not use this method on Fine Diamond or Gemstone Jewelry. Your stones may become loose. These methods are also not recommended for oxidized or antiqued metals.
Fine diamond jewelry requires further cleaning services than I can provide and should be taken to a trusted diamond jewelry store. Especially if you wear rings with large stones regularly. The Rhodium plating may need replacing to protect the gold beneath it. Diamonds mounted in a prong setting or even in a bezel may need to be “tightened”. Lastly, nothing sparkles more than highly polished diamonds. Have your diamond jewelry inspected and cleaned regularly, by professionals.
FOR METAL PLATED JEWELRY
Storing plated jewelry is the same as sterling. Keep it in a plastic baggy for best results. It will look good as new every time you wear it!
There is no hope for your metal jewelry if the plating is already worn off. This can happen with wear & tear. Even perfumes and sweat can remove the plating. If the plating is intact and just needs a little sparkle you can use the same cleaning process as above. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PLATED JEWELRY in the boiling solution longer than 1 minute at a time. Rinse with water and thoroughly dry.
DO NOT USE THESE CLEANING METHODS ON ANY KNOTTED, BEAD WOVEN, OR ANY CRYSTAL JEWELRY THAT HAS A SPECIAL COATING ON IT.
FOR SHINY COPPER JEWELRY
Same care and storage for copper jewelry applies. It’s even softer and more prone to surface scratches than plated jewelry. To clean your copper use an acidic like lemon or vinegar. Either will work and you can repeat until the copper is shiny and bright! Just put enough in a ceramic or porcelain bowl and let it sit for a few minutes (or longer) until the bright copper is visible.
SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS (or any bead woven piece)
I make a lot of woven projects using crystals and Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, seed beads, and other types of beads. Some even have special coatings, effects and designs on the man-made beads. These beads will scratch if improperly stored or roughly handled.
Swarovski crystal beads are the most beautiful and costly man-made crystals. I use many with the A/B coatings – double and triple times, because of the depth and sparkle they create. Crystals should always be gently rubbed with a soft cloth.
DO NOT USE BOILING HOT WATER ON ANY BEAD WOVEN ITEM
A soft cloth is all that is needed to safely clean your Swarovski crystal jewelry or other bead woven jewelry, including knotted pieces. Avoid spraying perfume onto your skin while wearing beaded jewelry and don’t wear when swimming or showering. Store your pieces in an air-tight baggy to prolong the beauty and life. Its sounds crazy but I use bubble wrap as well as airtight baggies and containers. In fact my pieces are stored in triple layers of air-tight containers. This keeps each piece looking as good as the first day it was created.