How to expertly clean jewellery, remove tarnish and make your bling sparkle

Make your jewellery collection glitter and gleam with these simple at-home cleaning hacks. 

Is your jewellery box full of tarnished rings and green necklaces? Well, luckily, every piece of jewellery can be cleaned, polished and left gleaming and sparkling like new.

“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.

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This means Provin is a huge advocate for looking after jewellery at home so it can last for as long as possible. “It’s very important we take care of our things,” she says. “Every piece of jewellery carries a lot of history. These pieces are with us everywhere we go and they create memories.”

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 clean silver
Clean silver expertly with this at-home hack.

How to do it:

  1. Select the pieces of jewellery you would like to clean.
  2. Wrap aluminium foil around a ceramic or glass bowl and place one jewellery piece inside.
  3. Add boiling water to the bowl, followed by the vinegar and the baking soda.
  4. Leave it for five minutes and use tweezers to check if all the tarnished parts are removed.
  5. 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.

Provin suggests using Goddards Long Term Silver Polish Cloth, which actively prevents tarnish.

If there are any hard to get to nooks and crannies where dirt has built up, you can use a small, soft toothbrush in the water to work out any grime.  

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.

Gold jewellery can be polished to regain its shine.

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.   


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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.”

Store carefully

“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.”

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