We all want our jewellery to continue to look as good as it did when we bought it. Caring for your jewellery is very important if you want to achieve this.
Sterling silver must be cleaned and stored properly to retain its original shine and lustre. All sterling silver will tarnish eventually if left. Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray, household cleaners and perfumes will accelerate tarnishing so always put your jewellery on last and take it off first.
Using a polishing cloth regularly is a good way to prevent the natural process of tarnishing. Silver is soft and can become scratched easily so don't use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewellery as they contain fibres that can scratch silver. Do not press hard when polishing gold plated silver as you may damage the surface. You can use a special silver cloth to polish your items (take care of any delicate gemstones if present), but a lint-free or a microfibre cloth will do as well. Always try to give your silver jewellery a quick wipe down with a suitable cloth after taking it off.
As oxygen in the air will tarnish sterling silver it is important to properly store your jewellery to help minimise the oxidation. Store each piece in an airtight bag and in an area of low humidity and place an anti-tarnish paper inside the bag. Silica gel packets are excellent for keeping the storage environment humidity free.
Taking the time to clean your silver jewellery after wearing it and storing it away from light and air is all that is needed to cut down on tarnish significantly.
Hairspray, lotions, perfumes, household cleaners and other cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems like turquoise, so remember - all jewellery should be put on last and taken off first.
The safest method to use to clean your gemstones is a clean, damp, lint-free cloth. Frequent cleaning is recommended to maintain the true beauty of the gemstones. Ideally you should wipe your piece of gemstone jewellery with a moistened soft lint free cloth after wear to remove any oil and salts. A new, clean, soft makeup brush (not a toothbrush!) can be used to clean in places where the polishing cloth cannot reach. A damp cotton bud can also be used for small gemstones - use the opposite end to dry off the gemstone. You should clean gemstones first and then carefully clean the silver as described above. Allow to dry thoroughly before storage.
The chemical composition of gemstones varies with some requiring special care when cleaning. Soaking beads may cause damage. If your gemstones need a deeper clean it is best to seek professional advice.
Store jewellery away from sunlight - the sun may fade some gemstones. Do not store jewellery next to radiators, heating vents or window sills. Heat can easily remove the natural moisture in gems. Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes may also fracture some gems. Pearls and opals should be stored in fabric instead of plastic because they need to breathe.
Swarovski recommends that their crystals be cleaned using a soft lint-free cloth. Keeping their sparkle starts with avoiding exposure to chemicals as described above. These chemicals can build up on the crystals and make them look dull. Many styles of Swarovski crystals have a thin coating to enhance their appearance so don't soak in water. Follow the cleaning instructions for gemstones above to keep your Swarovski crystals looking their best. If the crystals need a deeper clean, Swarovski sell special cleaning kits. If your crystal jewellery is carefully stored and looked after, intensive cleaning may never be needed. To avoid your Swarovski crystal jewellery from being scratched it should be stored in its own airtight plastic bag.