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Caring For Your Handmade jewelry

Handmade Jewelry Care

Jewelry that is handmade with care should also be worn with care

Even the best-made, highest quality jewelry is delicate. If not handled properly, jewelry will break or become damaged. Handmade jewelry can be extra delicate, so a little extra care will allow it to last a lifetime

COMMON SENSE (in other words, lessons I learned the hard way)
Do not sleep, shower, bathe, swim, do dishes or household cleaning with chemicals. Tap, well, sea, and pool water all contain a variety of chemicals that can result in damage or excessive wear to metals and stones.

Do not exercise when wearing your jewelry. Sweat, tugging, pulling, and rough handling can result in broken links, wire, and thread.

Put your jewelry on after you have applied make-up, hair products, or perfumes. Repeated exposure to the chemicals in beauty products causes your jewelry to lose its sparkle and shine

Before wearing, always check all of the connections, clasps, and jumprings. If something is loose, bring the piece to a jeweler to be maintained, or get handy with needle nose pliers to tighten loose elements. Feel free to ask me for techniques. It is easy to maintain jewelry components.


Sterling silver will tarnish. Salt from your skin and oxygen in air are the two biggest causes of tarnished silver. To avoid this, clean your jewelry frequently. Store as
detailed below.

Soap and water will also keep your silver looking good. The rules for silver also apply to: gold, gold filled, gold plated, and base metal jewelry, (copper, brass, etc).

Chlorine, salt water, suntan lotion, hair spray, perfume, sweat, dirt buildup (never taking jewelry off), chemically treated pools, whirlpools, exposure to air, and household cleaners  containing bleach will discolor silver. Polish your silver pieces regularly with a gentle liquid paste to remove tarnish. A polishing cloth may be used.

Use a Jewelers cloth to clean and shine your jewelry (Silver polishing cloths are available at supermarkets, and jewelry stores.) Never use tissue or paper towels with fibers that can easily scratch. Silver is a soft metal that scratches or dents easily.

For gemstones and pearls:  I recommend cleaning with a damp cloth to gently wipe the pieces. Never use chemicals on gemstones and pearls. Dry completely with a soft cloth. Do not use toothpaste and a toothbrush. (More pearl info below.)

To bring back sparkle to faceted stones and crystals, wash with warm water, mild detergent, (such as dish soap) and a very SOFT brush. Brush the inside and back of the setting. Light comes in through the back of the setting so get that gunk out. Rinse well. Avoid using cleaners such as ammonia since they will remove sealers or coatings on the stones and cause irreparable dullness.

Soft gemstones such as lapis, malachite, coral, turquoise should be cleaned carefully with mild soap. Only the softest cloths should be used.

Glass and plastic beads and crystals can be cleaned with lukewarm mild soapy water such as dishsoap.  Rinse well. Gently pat dry using a soft cloth and make sure your jewelry is completely dry before storing again. 

Polish gently using a jewelry polishing cloth. For harder to reach spaces, such as the wires in between the stones on wire wrapped jewelry, just give a gentle scrub over the area with a SOFT brush such as a child's tooth brush and water.


Commercial Jewelry Cleaner. Do not use solvents or any harsh chemicals. Liquid jewelry cleaning solution is not safe for all jewelry and may damage some stones. Many contain ammonia. Do not use Windex! Do not use toothpaste and a toothbrush.

DO: Use mild soap, warm water, rinse well, and polish with a soft cloth.

Chemical dips or ionic cleaners. Many jewelry cleaning solutions,steam, and ultrasonic cleaners will cause irreparable damage to some gemstones. Ask your jeweler prior to using any of these.


Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is likely to fade most stones over time. 

Many stones are color enhanced and will definitely fade. Sterling silver and gold-fill metals can tarnish with age, so it is best to store your jewelry in an airtight container. Be careful, not all plastics are good for storing jewelry. Some plastic containers contain sulfur compounds causing your jewelry to tarnish faster. You will find this out quickly. Clean the piece as directed above or as directed by your jeweler.

You can put Anti Tarnish Strips by 3M in with your jewelry that is prone to tarnish. These are inexpensive and last a long time. Check jewelry supply stores and Amazon.com


Minimize scratches and tarnishing by storing your jewelry in separate, small plastic ziplock bags, and in separate compartments in your jewelry box. 

Purchase small ziplocks from jewelry supply stores or try Ebay or Amazon. Jewelry can be stored in a jewelry box, regular box, or drawer, providing you store each piece in small individual zip-lock bags. These are the best, but they come in a large bulk:


When possible, store your jewelry either laying down flat or hanging straight to prevent kinks.

Never store your jewelry in a pile or a dish. Metals and gemstones can cut and scratch each other. Chains can kink and tangle.

SPECIFIC TO PEARLS and OPALS (from Mikimoto)

Never use chemicals on or near pearls. 
Pearls are especially delicate; do not wear perfume near your pearls.

Pearls are organic gemstones that are vulnerable to acid, alkaline and extremes of humidity. To preserve your pearls' radiance, avoid letting them be exposed to cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume.

Always put on your jewelry as a final touch, after applying make-up and styling hair.

Perspiration can harm the pearl's luster. To prevent this, before returning your pearls to the jewelry box, wipe them gently with a soft cloth

Be sure to take off your pearl rings before you apply hand and body creams.

Do NOT put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner.


Pearls are exceptionally shock-resistant, but  they can be scratched by contact with sharp objects or other gemstones. 

To prevent tangles and scratches, fasten clasps and pins, lay each item out separately in a compartmentalized jewelry box. When carrying your pearls, use a protective felt-like jewelry pouch. Do not use ziplocks for pearls. Use the velvet bag or box that came with them.

The more you wear pearls, the more beautiful they become. Leaving pearl jewelry in a security box for long periods may cause pearls to dehydrate, so enjoy them frequently. There is a saying that "pearls want to be worn," and it is true!

Mostly, the care of your handmade jewelry is common sense. If I missed anything, or if you have any questions, please shoot me a comment.
Thank you for reading,

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