Easy ways to Care for your Sterling Silver or Karat Gold Jewelry - Tips for Cleaning, Polishing and Tarnish Removal - the easiest, best way to make your Rings, Bracelets, Earrings, Pendants and Chains Sparkle - is prevent tarnishing!

Jewelry24Seven banner

Home / About / Policy / Contact / Gemstone Facts / Gemstone Enhancement / Diamond Grades / Metal Facts / Birthstone List / Ring Size Chart / Jewelry Care / Articles / Sterling Silver Chains / Silver Bracelets / Silver Earrings /
Crystal Chains / Gemstone Pendants / Gemstone Rings / Hair Accessories / Silver Rings / Charms and Pendants / Cufflinks / Lockets / Cuff Bracelets / Silver Pins / Bali Jewelry / Celtic Jewelry / Marcasite Jewelry / Wedding Rings /

Silver Care - Polishing Silver Jewelry

Tips on keeping silver jewelry and gold jewelry sparkling!

Silver care and silver cleaning, about tarnishing, polishing silver jewelry and cleaning gold jewelry

All people who wear sterling silver jewelry need to care for it on occasion.
Sterling silver tarnishes, and we need to clean and polish it to keep it sparkling.

Highly polished silver can reflect up to 95% of direct light back to the viewer, giving it
a truly mirror like finish. Some pieces just don't look right unless they're really polished -
to a bright shine - while other pieces look their best with an "antique style" finish.

While silver jewelry is easy to care for and can be cleaned like any other metal object,
most of us like to keep the patina that develops on silver over time because it gives the metal
a deep shine and a glow other metals just can't compare to.

Cleaning sterling silver jewelry can remove this patina along with the tarnish.
We never clean our personal silver jewelry if at all possible ... we polish it.
Polishing silver jewelry gives it a soft look instead of the stark,
harsh look silver can get after the patina has been removed.

Sterling Silver Jewelry Care, Cleaning and Polishing

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The copper in the alloy reacts to the sulphur
compounds in the air (Sulphur Dioxide is a major component of air pollution) by tarnishing (oxidizing).

If your jewelry is made of fine silver - stamped .999 - it will get dirty,
but won't tarnish the way sterling, coin or European (.800) silver does.
This is because fine silver contains only a trace amount of other metals.

We believe cleaning silver jewelry should be reserved for those times when
there really is no other way to make the piece wearable. We like to think of a
commercial dip solution that removes tarnish the way you would think of bleach.
Bleach helps to remove stains ... but takes the color from the fabric along with the stain.
We use solutions like this rarely - basically as a last resort to remove stubborn tarnish.

If you really need to clean sterling silver jewelry because it is deeply tarnished,
a commercially available dip solution works, but is not recommended.

If you do this, remember  - your silver needs to be washed well and polished after cleaning.

These solutions generally will clean gemstones, also ... but only the
harder, non porous stones - quartz, including citrine and amethyst, natural topaz,
ruby and sapphire, and diamond. Don't use these solutions on emeralds or "mystic" topaz.

Do not use these dip solutions on pieces that contain soft or organic gems, including -
but not limited to - turquoise, malachite, opals, ammonite, shell, coral or pearls.
Jewelry containing these "gems" should also never be cleaned in ultrasonic machines.

To polish our jewelry, we use a jeweler's rouge cloth. This is a two part cloth -
one side is a deep red color that contains a polishing compound (rouge). This type of
cloth is safe for use on jewelry containing the organic and soft gems mentioned above.

First rub the jewelry with the rouge cloth. Then give it a sparkling polish with the yellow cloth.
This will remove the tarnish but leave that nice patina, and make your silver jewelry shine.
Wash your silver jewelry after cleaning or polishing to remove all traces of polish and cleaner.

Gold Jewelry

These tips also apply to gold jewelry. Most gold jewelry sold in the United States is a lower
karat alloy, from 10K to 14K. 12K gold is 50% gold; 14K is about 58% gold. Most of the rest
is copper, and just like in the sterling silver alloy, the copper oxidizes.

Tarnish is easy to see on silver - a white metal - but oxidation is less noticeable with
most gold jewelry because it just seems to be a darker shade of reddish - gold. The copper is
used to make these metals harder; pure 24K gold and .999 fine silver are very soft.

When your gold jewelry looks dull, polish it with a rouge cloth, exactly as with silver.

After wearing your silver or gold jewelry, wipe it clean and store it in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
Protecting it from air will help keep it looking new and it won't need to be polished as often.
This is the best way to stop tarnish - prevent it BEFORE it becomes a problem!

For information on metal alloys used to make jewelry, please visit this article: Metal Facts

Article written by Robert Edwards ©2015. All rights reserved.
Robert is a jeweler and metalsmith, and is webmaster of  http://www.jewelry24seven.com.

Anchor, Mariner or Gucci link / Bar Chain / Bead / Venetian Box / Byzantine /
Cable / Curb / Figaro / Figure 8 / Long & Short / Rolo / Rope / Snake /
Wheat /
Madiera Charm Bracelet / Swarovski Crystal Chain / Other Chains

©2015 Jewelry24Seven - All Rights Reserved.
No content may be reproduced without written permission.

Privacy Graphic

Metals Purity and Gemstone Quality graphic

We accept these Credit Cards


SRAJD Member

MJSA Member

questions? contact us