We all love that feeling when we unpack our brand new jewellery to see a bright and shiny piece reflecting the lights. As you know jewellery are made of metals and metals need maintenance and caring to remain as shiny as their first day. The last thing you want to do it’s to ruin your jewellery due to poor care or storage in the wrong places. Hopefully there are few tricks and tips (and even grandma’s secrets!) to help you keep and maintain your precious jewellery for many years. The list of hacks I list here is definitely not exhaustive but they are the ones we use for our custom cufflinks and tie clips at Gregson & Buck. Some techniques work for all materials whilst others are specific and respond well to one material. Let’s dive in!
Metals and precious metals are subject to oxidation. Therefore the first thing you need to do is to store your jewels in a cool and dry place. I also recommend to keep your jewels separated in order to avoid scratching, tangling or chipping. A wooden box doesn’t only allow you to store your pieces in individual spaces, it’s also a beautiful object that complement your jewellery!
While travelling please never ever just throw your jewels in your luggage. Not only you’ll take the chance to scratch them but jewels are sometimes fragile and can easily break (and that’s obviously something we want to avoid)! You basically have two options: i) you put your jewels in a small velvet bag that you keep in a safe place; ii) you store your jewels in a small solid box for the transport.
There are plenty of brands out there claiming to be THE solution for jewellery caring. I believe some of them have good quality products some don’t. People could argue ages about the best brand but once again I’ll tell you what we use at Gregson & Buck. We have tried several brands and we finally chose to work with Hagerty (https://www.hagertyshop.uk/). So far, we have been very satisfied with all their products. They have different product formats such as bath, paste or cream which allow one to choose the right product for the right jewel.
Every materials also have their specifications regarding caring and maintenance
Stainless steel won’t rust but can tarnish over time. As a general rule, try to avoid contact with chemicals such as lotions, chlorine from pools, etc. If you want to clean steel, put a few drops of dishwashing water in warm water and wipe your jewels with it. Then, rinse it.
Bronze is highly subject to oxidization and there is no much we can do to prevent it. The best thing to do is to store the cufflinks in a dry and cool place. Apart from using specialized products, there are 2 “grandma tricks” to clean and maintain bronze jewels:
- Put the jewel in a glass of lukewarm water and a bit of ammoniac for a few seconds, rub the cufflinks then rinse it.
- Put white vinegar on a piece of linen and rub the jewel with that then rinse it.
Keep gold-plated jewellery away from hard surfaces to prevent scratches and the gold layer to wear away faster. Clean your gold jewellery lightly with a damp cotton cloth. This will help eliminate the accumulation of dirt or dust on the surface and the wear of the gold layer. Use an enamel for non-abrasive jewellery and rub gently over the gold plated jewellery to restore the shine. If the gold layer starts to wear off you can bring your jewels to your local gold jeweller to replace the gold layer.
In a recipient, combine 1/3 of a glass of a mild liquid detergent with 1 glass of warm water. Soak your rhodium plated jewels in the solution for 10 minutes. Make sure you don’t leave the jewels too long otherwise it could affect the plating layer. Then, gently scrub the jewel with a soft toothbrush or a soft polishing cloth. Rinse it and your jewel is as shiny as it was in its first day!
First of all, make sure you keep you sterling silver jewels in a solid bow because this metal is very flexible and you don’t want to alter the shape of the jewels due to poor storage. For silver caring, the best trick in my opinion is to use toothpaste and to rub the jewel with your hands before rinsing it. Check out this video to see how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM-OdZEin60.
Jewellery are meant to be hold and kept for a very long time (more than one lifetime) so it’s important to give your precious jewels the care they deserve!
If you have any other hacks or tips to clean jewels, please feel free to leave a comment!