Over my recuperation I actually took the time to go through my own jewelry and tag some things for "Green Granny" re-cycling, and of course general cleaning maintenance of my Sterling Silver pieces (which I'll admit were in sorry shape...). So I thought I would share a few tips and pointers for cleaning and storing your jewelry.
Here's some before, during & after pictures....
Sterling Silver Spiral Earrings I created were badly tarnished...
took a little time but they were restored back to all their shining glory
A variety of jewelry being inspected - with some being dipped in the heavy duty chemical cleaner which is necessary for those pieces that have a severe build-up of tarnish (the type of cleaner I rarely use - and one that requires gloves, ventilation and additional cleaning afterwards)...while other pieces
got the gentle no chemical dip and then bath in soapy warm water.
A batch of freshly cleaned Sterling Silver pieces drying :)
Close up...most people might trash these Sterling Silver hoops - but as you can see with the right cleaners - they are beautifully restored to their original shining finish.
Tarnish is a natural occuring process that happens when Sterling Silver is exposed to the elements of air, sun, and yes even the oils from that wood dresser top they might be laying on. That's why it's important if you're not wearing it, to put it in a storage bag with tarnish strip. It's also a good idea to periodically use a simple polishing cloth (such as Sunshine) to restore it's brilliance. Check out our Etsy "supply" store at JLynnJewelrySupplies - where you can purchase a small bag of tarnish strips and our favorite...a travel size roll of "Sunshine Cloth". Additionally my Sterling Silver pieces went through one additional step of cleaning and protection with the MAAS jewelry polishing creams in a Lavender scent.
These are the BEST polishes I have ever worked with. Use a soft lint free cotton cloth (old t-shirts or socks work well) - rub a small portion on and remove immediately. These work on virtually all metals and help them looking their best. The two items you see above are the Polish and Protector. The MAAS Protector polish is used after your piece is clean - it puts a natural protective finish on your jewelry to help resist the tarnishing process - I use it even on my Vintaj and FAB brass metals - LOVE IT. You can purchase directly from MAAS or online at other suppliers. There's also a variety of liquid cleaners and metal polishers that you can purchase at local retail stores - or check out the many offered online at bead supply stores such as Artbeads.com, FusionBeads.com, and Firemountaingems.com
And what about AFTER you do all this cleaning? If it's a base metal or Brass - you're pretty safe at hanging it up on a jewelry stand or tossing it in a jewelry box...however with Sterling Silver pieces I recommend the following when not wearing:
Purchase small plastic 2x2 bags and pop in a tarnish strip with your jewelry & seal.
These are the perfect size to fit in a drawer, jewelry chest...and really help keep them organized and untangled. Even the simple Cardboard picture storage boxes work fabulous :)
The purple square you see here is actually my personal favorite...it's a three tiered stacking, satin covered jewelry storage box with a variety of individualized compartments.
Jewelry can lift your spirits, catch an eye, make an impression or simply make you feel great :)
So take time to care for these little treasures!