Make your jewellery collection glitter and gleam with these simple at-home cleaning hacks.
“No jewellery is ever ruined, we can always clean and keep wearing it,” says Vanessa Provin, founder of jewellery brand Behô Studio, based at Peckham Levels, London. Provin is passionate about sustainable jewellery, using materials like recycled silver and gold to make her pieces as eco-friendly as possible and working with local artisans in her native Brazil.
Here, Provin explains how you can make your jewellery glitter for as long as possible, using very simple, accessible cleaning methods.
How to clean silver jewellery
A simple method to make your silver jewellery sparkle is to create a baking soda bath.
What you’ll need:
- 1 tbs of baking soda
- 1 litre of water
- 100ml of white vinegar
How to do it:
- Select the pieces of jewellery you would like to clean.
- Wrap aluminium foil around a ceramic or glass bowl and place one jewellery piece inside.
- Add boiling water to the bowl, followed by the vinegar and the baking soda.
- Leave it for five minutes and use tweezers to check if all the tarnished parts are removed.
- Remove the jewellery with the tweezers.
If you want to make your jewellery really gleam, Provin recommends finishing the cleaning with a professional polishing cloth.
How to clean gold jewellery
Gold jewellery doesn’t tend to tarnish as much as silver; however, it can lose its shine and gold-plated pieces can fade to silver again if they’re worn a lot.
As gold pieces are more delicate, Provin suggests simply soaking them in boiling water and adding a small amount of neutral detergent if the pieces are particularly tarnished. Only soak gold jewellery for a short amount of time – five minutes is ample.
If a gold-plated item has begun to turn silver, she suggests taking it to a professional to be re-plated.
How to clean gemstones
If your jewellery is set with gemstones, you can still clean it using the methods above. However, some soft gemstones, sapphire, amethyst and lapis lazuli, for example, can be damaged if the water is too hot, or they soak for too long.
Provin suggests soaking for no more than five minutes in warm, rather than boiling, water.
How to clean brass and copper jewellery
“Copper and brass tarnish very easily and are most likely to turn green,” says Provin.
She recommends washing this sort of jewellery with warm water and a neutral soap.
How to take the very best care of your jewellery
Just like your clothes, the more you take time to look after your jewellery the longer you’ll be able to enjoy it. And when it comes to jewellery care, Provin explains that there are a few golden rules:
Keep away from chemicals
“Chemicals are the worst enemy of jewellery,” she says. “So if you’re swimming in chlorinated water, washing dishes, showering, or wearing perfume, it’s really important to take your jewellery off before.”
“Jewellery can tarnish even if you’re not wearing it,” Provin adds. “Jewellery likes to be warm, so it’s really important to keep wearing it as much as possible. It’s also important to store it correctly.”
Provin suggests keeping your jewellery in a box with dividers so it can be separated, or in separate bags (cotton bags work well).
“If you put all the pieces together in a box or bowl, they will start to tarnish because they need to be able to breathe,” she says. “Leaving all your jewellery together in the same closed place is when they are most likely to tarnish.”
Images: Getty/Justin Lambert, Getty/Vedrana Sucic/EyeEm, Getty/SolStock