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Important Jewelry Care


Gold/Silver Plated & Coated Jewelry Care

Before you purchase any jewelry, watch this video! https://youtu.be/RMP3PcKTsps


How Long Should Plated/Coated Jewelry Last?

With proper care, you should be able to maintain plated/coated jewelry for up to five years. It’s really a matter of keeping it away from the elements—salt, water, sweat, and high humidity—and chemicals from cleaners or perfumes. 


Why Does Plated/Coated Jewelry Tarnish?

Many people think that tarnish is a reaction to the oxygen in the air, but it is actually a reaction to elements in the air. Gold or Silver plating is a thin layer above a base metal, which makes pieces stronger and less likely to bend. Unfortunately, over time, the base metal will eventually come to the surface, causing the metal and the finish to discolor. This process breaks the plating down and requires proper polishing and maintenance to restore its shine. Luckily, there are tips to prevent plated/coated jewelry from tarnishing so it keeps its luxurious look.


Be Mindful of Elements and Exposure

Plated jewelry owners should avoid spraying your plated pieces—or even solid gold or silver pieces—directly with perfume. The chemicals can create a reaction similar to oxidation which basically means it can turn your metal black. It’s reversible, but can be a little shocking if you’re not expecting it.


Keep your plated jewelry away from chemical products like detergent and personal care items like perfumes, hairsprays, lotions, and creams. Acidic food ingredients like tomatoes are also a no-no as they impact the plating which can cause it to flake or wear off more quickly. As dust, dirt and oil from your skin, moisturizer and perfume accumulate onto the plating, the jewelry begins to dull or appear darkened. The environment you are in could even impact your jewelry, especially with warm humid coastal areas that have a high concentration of salt in the air. 


How Often to Care for Plated/Coated Jewelry

When you remove your jewelry for the day, get in the habit of giving it a quick wipe with a soft cloth, jewelry cloth or microfiber cloth after every use to remove smudges and surface soil. A more thorough cleaning should be done after exposure to chlorine, alcohol, acids, and sulfur compounds that cause the base metals to tarnish.


To remove body oils and soil, use a damp cotton ball, microfiber cloth, or jewelry cloth to wipe down plated jewelry after every single wearing. Allow to air-dry before storing. Don't use silver polish, toothpaste, harsh chemical cleaners, or abrasive scrub brushes on plated/coated jewelry.


How to Clean Plated/Coated Jewelry

While it is an extra step, cleaning plated metal is actually very simple and requires no high-tech materials. In a small bowl, combine warm water with a few drops of mild soap, it’s important not to use an antibacterial soap, as the chemical might tarnish plating. Stir the soap into the water to create some suds. Add one piece of jewelry and allow it to soak for about five minutes.


If there is any dirt embedded in the crevices of the jewelry, gently use a cotton swab or a soft-bristled baby toothbrush to gently remove it. Then rinse the piece thoroughly. Using a soft, lint-free cloth, dry the jewelry and buff the surface so it shines. Allow it to thoroughly air dry before storing.


If your jewelry has precious or semi-precious stones in it, you're going to need to be a bit more careful. It is best to avoid the soaking step. On some less expensive plated jewelry, the embellishments are simply glued on and soaking can loosen the glue. Some gemstones and pearls can be damaged when being soaked in liquid.


Instead of soaking, use a cotton ball or microfiber cloth dipped in the dishwashing liquid and water solution to clean the pieces. For a deep-clean, dampen a cotton swab in a solution of water and mild soap and use it to clear away any dirt or debris. Rinse and thoroughly dry the jewelry before storing.


Use Aluminum Foil And Baking Soda For A Deep Clean

It will work wonders in restoring its brilliance and removing severe cases of tarnish. Not only that but this method is gentle on the plating because it doesn't require abrasive contact with the jewelry. The chemical reaction between the solution and the jewelry will remove any tarnish whilst not being harsh on the plating.

  • Line a glass bowl with aluminum foil. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is facing upwards

  • Add one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt to the bowl.

  • Add enough hot water to the bowl so that the powders dissolve and ensure that there is enough of the solution to fully submerge your jewelry. Be sure you are in a ventilated area. 

  • Submerge your plated/coated jewelry in the solution and leave for several minutes

  • You’ll begin to notice black and yellow flakes float away from the jewelry. This is the sulfur, which is what caused the oxidation of the gold in the first place. These flakes will be attracted to the aluminum and will float towards it.

  • Once the tarnish has mostly come off the gold plating, remove the jewelry from the bowl and rub with a lint free cloth.

  • Rinse the gold plated items in warm running water and dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.

  • Once the jewelry is thoroughly dry, store in a protective container. 

 

Stainless Steel Jewelry Care

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an iron and chromium alloy. The exact components and ratios of the metal will vary based on the intended use of the steel. Stainless steel jewelry is hypoallergenic and nonreactive next to the skin. Stainless steel can be polished to look very similar to white gold and platinum jewelry. It can also be gold plated. The metal is also rust-resistant and easy to clean.


Be Mindful of Elements and Exposure

At a bare minimum, we recommend wiping down your stainless steel jewelry with a dry or lightly damp cloth every once in a while to keep it sparkling. Be sure to apply all body products including lotions, perfumes and hair products prior to putting your jewelry on. Remove stainless steel jewelry before working with harsh chemicals or swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.


Protect your stainless steel jewelry from direct contact with hairspray, perfumes, and other cosmetics which contain alcohol or other ingredients that can dull and erode the finish. A general rule of thumb to protect jewelry is that it should be the first thing you take off and the last thing you put on. Do not use harsh abrasive cleaners when cleaning stainless steel jewelry.


How Often to Care for Stainless Steel Jewelry

While stainless steel jewelry does not rust, it can become dull from tarnish caused by pollution and small scratches. If your jewelry has lost its luster, it's time to give it a thorough cleaning. Stainless steel jewelry should be cleaned immediately if exposed to excessive dirt, grease, or harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach. To remove body oils and soil, use a damp cotton ball, microfiber cloth, or jewelry cloth to wipe down your jewelry. Allow to air-dry before storing. 


How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry

Water and Vinegar

Pour 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto a cloth to wipe down the jewelry. Opt for a cloth made of soft material so that it won't scratch the stainless steel. Then, spray the solution on the cloth until it's damp and gently scrub the jewelry.


Soap and Water

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Add two or three drops of a mild dishwashing liquid and agitate gently to disperse the soap. Fill a second bowl with plain warm water. Submerge the jewelry and allow it to soak in the warm water for about five minutes. This gives the dishwashing liquid time to begin breaking down the soil.


After soaking, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub away any visible soil. Pay close attention to engraved areas or small nooks and crannies in a chain. After scrubbing, dip the jewelry in the second bowl of warm water to rinse away any residue. You can also hold the jewelry under a soft stream of running warm water. Use a lint-free microfiber cloth to dry the jewelry. Finish the cleaning by buffing the surface with a dry microfiber cloth or a jeweler's polishing cloth.


If your jewelry has precious or semi-precious stones in it, you're going to need to be a bit more careful. It is best to avoid the soaking step. On some less expensive silver-plated jewelry, the embellishments are simply glued on and soaking can loosen the glue. Some gemstones and pearls can be damaged when being soaked in liquid. Instead of soaking, use a cotton ball or microfiber cloth dipped in the dishwashing liquid and water solution to clean the pieces. Rinse and thoroughly dry the jewelry before storing.


Toothpaste

Toothpaste works well as a stainless steel polish. Choose a mild, non-gel formula that does not contain teeth whitening ingredients. Dampen a soft-bristled toothbrush or a small microfiber cloth with water. Add a dab of toothpaste and gently clean the surface of the stainless steel jewelry. After cleaning, rinse the jewelry in warm water making sure that all of the toothpaste is removed. Dry with a microfiber cloth and buff to restore the shine. 


Baking Soda

It will work wonders in restoring its brilliance and removing severe cases of tarnish. Not only that but this method is gentle on the gold plating because it doesn't require abrasive contact with the jewelry. The chemical reaction between the solution and the jewelry will remove any tarnish whilst not being harsh on the gold plating.

  • In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water to make a paste.

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply the paste to the stainless steel jewelry. 

  • Rinse the items in warm running water and dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.

  • Once the jewelry is thoroughly dry, store in a protective container. 


Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner uses ultrasound waves to pull contaminants from the surface of the jewelry. This tool is particularly useful for intricately carved stainless steel jewelry; however, most ultrasonic cleaners are not safe for soft, gemstone embellished jewelry. Follow the recommendations in the user manual.


 

Store Jewelry Strategically

Once your jewelry is perfectly clean be sure to carefully store your jewelry in a safe place. A jewelry box is the perfect home to store your jewelry. Understanding how best to store your go-to necklaces or earrings is just as important as knowing how to clean your jewelry. Experts recommend storing jewelry in a pouch, case, or jewelry box to prevent tarnishing and fading.


If you want to take the ultimate care of your jewelry, store in a dark, cool, and dry place to avoid humidity and heat, which can cause tarnishing. Storing jewelry in a pouch or dark area will prevent the opportunity to be exposed to daily humidity that could also alter the initial plating. Make sure your pieces are somewhat separated to avoid contact with objects that can scratch or chip the finish. 


Case in point: when gold-plated jewelry is exposed to external elements or chemicals, certain base metals may cause discoloration. Brass, for instance, is a very reactive metal and when it’s exposed to high levels of humidity or salt water, the brass can begin reacting and breaking through the plating.


Invest in a Soft Cloth and Anti-Tarnish Pouch and Tabs

Jewelry can be cleaned with a soft, non-abrasive, and lint-free cloth or chamois to keep the shine. Start by gently rubbing the surface of the jewelry and clean or spot treat as needed.


Do not use a polishing cloth on plated metals, as this will strip away the plating. There are also special anti-tarnishing bags and tabs that will prevent your jewelry from oxidizing and getting discolored to store your jewelry in. Be sure to be gentle when polishing the jewelry by wiping instead of scrubbing. Regularly cleaning and wiping down your jewelry after wear can help keep your pieces shiny and scratch-free for longer. 


How do anti-tarnish bags work?

Anti-tarnish reclosable plastic bags and plastic strips/tabs are made with a plastic film that absorbs and neutralizes the corrosive gasses that attack silver and other precious metals. Anti-tarnish reclosable bags ensure a tarnish-free product even when the bag is opened multiple times. Anti-tarnish strips/tabs use copper based polymers that react to hydrogen sulfide and other tarnish causing gasses and neutralize them before they cause tarnish by simply stopping tarnish from forming in the first place.


Bless Your Vibes offers an add-on for $1 if you would like to purchase an anti-tarnish bag with special anti-tarnish tab inside to store your jewelry.



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