How to Clean Jewelry

Kim Van Antwerp Art Jewelry

How to Clean Jewelry

I love making jewelry out of all sorts of materials, and it's true that cleaning something that contains textiles or vintage materials is a little more complex than tossing it in some tarnX. 

Please, don't toss anything in tarnX! That stuff is not good for the surface of your silver jewelry. 

The first thing to do, with a piece that is metal and stone, is to try just washing it with gentle soap and water. Castile bar or liquid soap is great. This goes for earrings, chains, whatever. Often it's just collected buildup from daily wear that's making your jewelry look dull. This goes for gold, silver, plated metal, you get the picture. It's not always necessary to get out the polishing cloth. In fact, some silver doesn't tarnish at all. If your piece is .999 Fine Silver or .935 Argentium silver, all you need to do is wash it.

The second thing to do is get out the polishing cloth. I generally use the Sunshine brand. 

So what if you have something that includes wool, silk ribbon, or other textile material? You're right, you probably don't want to just stick that under the faucet. If you are wanting to clean the silver on one of these pieces, you can just use your polishing cloth where needed. It won't hurt the textiles, but be careful not to transfer schmutz from the cloth to the piece.

Something to be very careful about is celluloid. There are wonderful sequins and even beads made from this material out there, and they will turn to JELLY when wet. I weed these out of my collection religiously, but you should know they are out there!

You can wipe down your jewelry with a soft damp cloth whenever necessary. To spot clean textile jewelry, try a Tide Pen! These wonderful tools work like a marking pen impregnated with stain remover.

So what if, say, you have spilled coffee on your Ribbon Wrap Bracelet? No worries! A piece like that, which is not extensively mixed and is a single layer of material, can safely be hand washed. Gently! Eucalan is a wonderful product which doesn't require rinsing. It's made for wool, which brings me to the question of what to do if you drop your needlefelted brooch into the soup? Well, how much worse can it get by wetting it with soap and water? Give that a try and then get in touch with me. We'll figure something out!

And that goes for any questions you might have. I'm always interested!