silver bracelet

How To Clean Handmade Jewelry?

 Wondering how exactly to keep your unique handmade jewelry gorgeous? I have some tips on how to keep it beautiful so you can enjoy it for years to come.

First and foremost it is of utmost importance to know what kind of metal and gemstone (if the jewelry has one) are in your piece of artisan jewelry.  Sterling silver will need to be treated differently from plated silver, and so on. 

Any item that is constructed with plated materials or has a soft/delicate gemstone should always be gently polished with a polishing cloth made specifically for the metal. If the gem is pearl or something soft be careful to avoid the gem as best you can and never use a polishing cloth that has any kind of strong pumice in it. Sterling silver filled should also be polished with a polishing cloth. 

Sterling Silver may be polished in an ultrasonic machine, a silver liquid or many other silver polishing techniques as long as the silver doesn't have a special finish, but if a piece of jewelry has a gemstone it changes how to care for it. You can polish it with a gentle polishing cloth or look for a silver cleaner made for the type of gemstone you have. If it is a pearl, opal or other soft material, a cloth is best. Many jewelers suggest that just wearing your silver will keep it shiny and although that is commonly the case, some people have very acidic oil in their skin and this can have the opposite effect, especially when you get sweaty.  If it gets tarnished you can polish it out. Lastly when we say wear it to keep it shiny, that doesn't include wearing it in the shower, in the ocean, the pond or the pool. It may not harm it, but just be aware it can cause a patina or removal of a special finish. This is especially important if the item has a gemstone, as many gems are greatly affected by chemicals and water.

Copper should be treated just like sterling silver if you wish to keep it bright, but many people actually love the darkening that happens naturally over time. Also never use the same liquid polishing container for silver if you have cleaned a copper piece in the container, it will adhere the copper waste left behind onto the silver in what looks like a bad plating job and it's almost impossible to remove. Which leads to my next advice, if you have a piece that is silver and copper combined just stick with a polishing cloth. 

Gold, whether it is gold filled or pure only needs to be gently polished very infrequently with either a soft plain cloth or a polishing liquid made for gold. Rose Gold is the same, however please note that Rose gold will darken very slowly over time to create a deeper rose color which is normally desired, but if you wish it to stay a softer shade you may polish it as instructed above. As always if your piece has a gemstone be sure that any liquid cleaners are safe for your gem.

I hope this article will help you to take care of your precious artisan jewelry and my best advice to you is to know what you're buying so you can keep it beautiful for years to come.

Have a blessed day and check out all my blogs for more information on gemstones, materials, design services and more. Or head to my shop to see many of these techniques in my artisan jewelry line. 


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