Cleaning your jewellery really is a case of ‘a stitch in time…‘, as a lost stone will not only be more costly to replace, but in the case of coloured semi-precious stones, these can prove extremely hard to match. I take a little time out each year to keep my jewellery in tip-top condition – a sparkling stone or a shimmering piece of silver or gold looks a million times better! Of course, some metals are more prone to tarnishing than others (notably silver), but even gold or rhodium plated items will respond to a spring clean. It’s also a chance to check for worn claws, loose stones or clasps that aren’t closing properly. If in doubt, take your jewels to your local specialist for their opinion.
Top tips or a sticky mess?
Over the years I have heard some bizarre-sounding recommendations for the use of household products as jewellery cleaners. In the days before the cartels moved in, when I used to travel to Mexico on buying trips, I can remember Señora Elena trying to convince me that the water my potatoes had cooked in would work wonders on my large silver bangles and chains. The Riveros family, on the other hand, swore by the cleansing properties of Coca Cola. Others have suggested restoring the shine on softer stones with toothpaste! All these options sound like a rather sticky mess, so I am sharing my preferred methods for cleaning your jewellery.
What you need for cleaning your jewellery
My home jewellery cleaning kit includes:
– An old, soft-bristled toothbrush
– Warm water
– Washing up liquid
– Bicarbonate of soda
– A piece of aluminium cooking foil or the top from a ring pull can
– Some acid-free tissue paper
– A plastic mesh style tea strainer
– A Hagerty jewellery cleaning cloth
Clean all stone jewellery with a warm (not hot), weak solution of water and mild washing up liquid. Remember all the nooks and crannies when cleaning your jewellery, especially the back of the stone. In open backed settings lots of dust and grime can collect in the behind the stone. Once it has been cleaned out, your stones will really sparkle. Leave to dry, on acid free tissue if you have some.
Dissolve a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a bowl of hot water, along with a piece of cooking foil or the ring pull from a drinks can. Once the liquid has cooled slightly, remove the earring back from your studs and immerse your earrings (and backs) in this solution. Leave for 5 minutes, then rinse and dry. This will not only restore the shine, but will neutralise the body acids that build up and can sometimes make your earrings sore.
Once dry, buff your items with a jewellery cleaning cloth, and store in a closed container, away from humidity and temperature extremes.
Your jewellery should now have regained its healthy shine and look as good as new!