All precious metals are different and should be cared for accordingly. Here are some easy steps you can take to keep your silver, gold or platinum jewelry brilliantly shining.
Caring for Silver
Of all the metals, silver requires the most attention as it’s incredibly vulnerable to tarnishing. Tarnish occurs when the copper in sterling silver reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air and oxidizes. The result is a filmy, discoloration that dulls the shine of your jewelry—and in some extreme instances, turning the silver brown. Fortunately there are preventative measures you can take to slow down the oxidization process.
First, store your silver jewelry in fabric lined jewelry box, kept in a dry, cool location. Fabric jewelry bags or even plastic zip-lock bags are a fine alternative for overnight storage.
We recommend slipping a few anti-tarnish strips into your jewelry storage container. These strips absorb the air pollutants that cause unsightly tarnishing. Similarly silica packs (like the ones tucked inside shoeboxes or handbags) absorb moisture to curtail oxidation.
In addition to safely storing your jewelry, do not wear silver jewelry in the shower, pool, hot tub or sauna. The combination of moisture, humidity and chlorinated water is particularly harsh on your sensitive silver.
To clean already tarnished silver, skip the DIY remedies. (The at-home baking soda or toothpaste-based recipes can actually scratch silver.) Instead wipe down your jewelry with a silver polishing cloth to restore the silver’s luster. If you need to bring in the heavy-duty cleaning supplies, use only cleaning products specifically designed for silver like a silver jewelry wash. And if the stubborn tarnish remains, bring your piece into a jeweler for a professional cleaning.
Caring for Karat Gold
Gold is particularly susceptible to soap reside which builds on the surface of the piece and dulls its luster. Simply removing your jewelry before showering or even washing your hands is a surefire way to reduce this unsightly build-up. That said, we recommend regularly buffing the piece with a soft chamois cloth (or an eyeglass-cleaning cloth) to keep your gold jewelry shining.
For a deeper clean, use a commercial cleaner specifically for gold jewelry. And if you need to remove tarnish in hard-to-reach places—say within the ornate crevices of a ring or pendant—use a soft, baby’s toothbrush to gently brush away dirt.
Caring for Gold Vermeil
Gold vermeil is non-gold metal coated with a thin layer of gold. Therefore you do not want to use an abrasive cleaning products or cloths on gold vermeil as it could easily scratch the piece to reveal the metal beneath.
Like karat gold, gold vermeil can be wiped clean and gently buffed with a soft cloth to preserve its shine. We also recommend asking a jeweler to re-plate your gold vermeil jewelry every one to two years or as needed if you it’s piece you were regularly.
Caring For Platinum
Platinum is a particularly resilient precious metal. Unlike silver, platinum does not tarnish and any subtle changes in color or brilliance can usually be wiped away with a clean, lint-free cloth.
And a word of caution here: platinum is a commonly found on engagements rings and wedding bands. So if your ring includes a precious stone, double-check with your jeweler before using any product on your ring as some gemstones are very sensitive to the chemicals found in certain cleaning agents. But because platinum is so durable, you can likely clean it with a little dishwashing liquid, diluted in lukewarm water.
Like any precious metal, scratches are an inevitability for your platinum piece. A jeweler can buff your item to restore its luster. And as a preventative measure, you can explore having your piece plated with rhodium to preserve that smooth and dazzling finish.