Most of the jewellery we sell here at Smithsonia is crafted from sterling silver, a beautiful metal on it's own or as a frame for semi precious stones. We are often asked how to look after the jewellery, so here goes....
It is a natural process for silver to tarnish. It's caused by contact with air, sunshine and chemicals, but it is very easy to keep it looking lovely, shiny and new.
1. The best way to keep your jewellery looking good is simply to wear it regularly.
2. Be careful how you store your jewellery when you are not wearing it. Silver is quite soft and does scratch easily, so don't store it all piled up together. Keep it in a dry atmosphere. We always wrap our jewellery in acid free tissue when we sell it - recycle this into your jewellery box and it will help to maintain a shine.
3. Dress like your granny used to - clothes, makeup, hair then jewellery - as hairspray, cosmetics etc can increase tarnishing.
4. Always remove jewellery before swimming, sunbathing, doing the housework, cooking and washing up - obviously within reason ! It's safe to keep necklaces on when washing the dishes unless you are very enthusiastic !! Chemicals can seriously effect the look of silver.
It is also important to remember that some stones are set using a strong solvent which will eventually dissolve, so removing rings before washing is important.
5. If you regularly clean your jewellery it will continue to look good. It's as necessary and as simple as keeping your clothes clean. We use silver polishing cloths, which are impregnated with silver polish, for our day to day cleaning. If a piece becomes particularly tarnished we do use silver dips which are available in most large supermarkets, but it is important to follow instructions and do not use on stoned jewellery.
6. Simple soap and water with a soft toothbrush is the best way to start at home. Use a gentle detergent and warm water. This is particularly good for clear gemstones in rings which get grubby from behind. But do not immerse them totally in water and not at all if you have opaque stones such as pearls, opals and turquoise.
7. And finally...there are some useful homemade remedies. Try lemon juice mixed with olive oil and rinse or baking soda and water and rinse or baking soda and white vinegar ( watch out for the bubbling ) and, you've got it, rinse.
Look after your jewellery and it will last you for years. And when you need something new, we have a fabulous selection.