Caring for your jewelry

Each piece of my jewelry is handcrafted and therefore delicate. Please take care of your jewelry so you can enjoy them for a lifetime. The majority of my jewelry consist of sterling silver, oxidised silver and 18kt gold. These can all be cleaned with the soft cloth that you will receive along with your purchase. If you like, you can also purchase soapnuts with your order for a very gentle and natural cleaning experience, or a professional polishing cloth.

One of the most important, basic things you can do yourself to protect your jewelry and keep it in stellar condition for years, is inspecting it regularly. Before you put on your jewelry, take a few moments to carefully look it over and ensure that nothing is loose or unsteady and that there are no hairline cracks or other issues.

If you notice the beginnings of damage in the first place you can prevent further damage. If one of the prongs of your gemstone or diamond setting seems unsecure or overly worn, then you should avoid wearing the piece until a professional jeweler can check it out. Really, just admire your jewelry often to minimize potentially costly repairs and prevent headaches. Notice anything? Send me a photo or send the piece back to me altogether for a touch-up.


General Care and Storing

You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often, as the oils on your skin will "clean" the silver and keep it looking shiny. Unfortunately, the metal will still become dull or darken with normal wear. This is because lotions, direct sunlight, soap, detergents, perfume, contact with household chemicals, salt water, chlorine in swimming pools and even perspiration all take their toll on fine jewelry and tend to accelerate tarnishing. Take off your jewelry before doing household chores or gardening to avoid knocking out stones, and it's a good idea to take off your jewelry before applying creams and lotions. Gemstone settings can get clogged up with cream easily. There's a reason ladies get dressed with jewelry last, as a finishing touch!

To avoid tarnishing when you store your jewelry, make sure it is stored airtight, as humidity is an enemy to precious metals. Your bathroom is the most convenient yet the worst possible place for you to store your jewelry. You can use little plastic bags. Do make sure you don't store multiple jewelry pieces in the same bag; the individual pieces can scratch each other. Keeping link or chain bracelets unclasped or unhooked will prevent scratching as well. If humidity is a problem, you can place a piece of chalk, a packet of activated charcoal, or a package of silica gel in your jewelry box to minimize tarnish.


Sterling Silver

If your sterling silver jewelry has become severely tarnished, my first recommendation is to gently clean it with a soapnut or use a professional silver cleaning cloth. An impregnated cloth allows you to clean your silver without damaging your gemstones like a liquid cleaner would.

For sterling silver jewelry without gemstones or with only diamonds, you can make your own silver cleaning solution in your own kitchen. One teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt mixed in a small jar or cup filled with lukewarm (not hot) water. Personally, I prefer a jar so I can shake the solution. Add a piece of aluminium foil, and place your jewelry carefully on the foil. You can close it with another piece of foil if you like. You want to make sure that the jewelry touches the foil so that the tarnish can transfer. After about five minutes you can take them out of the water and gently buff your jewelry with a clean cloth. If you need just a little more cleaning, for example a chain which still has some tarnish where the links touch, brush carefully with a clean toothbrush.

Oxidized black silver

My oxidized silver jewelry is intended to look darkened, matte and black, so please DO NOT POLISH IT. Any solution will remove the oxidization patina. It's best to keep it away from soap and any cleaning agents. I recommend a clean cloth and lukewarm water to clean oxidized silver jewelry. All oxidized silver jewelry will eventually become "shiny" again, due to normal wear, and if this is the case, you can always send it back to me to have it re-oxidized. Please do not store your oxidised silver jewelry with your sterling silver jewelry, as the oxidisation may tarnish your shiny silver jewelry. Wouldn't want that to happen!

Did you know that the metal of your jewelry reacts with your skin?

Gold jewelry

Gold is not as reactive to air and skin as sterling silver, but still needs to be cleaned occasionally to keep its luster and shine. A soft polishing cloth which has been impregnated will help keep your gold shining. The SILBO polishing cloth is my personal favourite. Take care to be gentle and not to polish too enthusiastically; even with the added metals, gold is still very soft and easily scratched. You can also gently rub your gold jewelry with soapnut (use a soft wet toothbrush to transfer the foam from the soapnut to your jewels), rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth. 


Gemstones

All gemstones and diamonds used are genuine and individually unique. Gemstones are porous rocks that can absorb anything. For this very reason you should avoid using even soap when cleaning them. They should simply be wiped gently with a moist cloth. Pearls and many gemstones do not stand the force of cleaning agents or ultrasonic cleaners. There are some things to avoid. Direct contact with water (salt or pool water with chlorine) and chemicals such as bleach, sulfur and detergents will erode the finish and polish of the gems leaving them dull. Hairspray, perfume, lotions and excessive perspiration can also cause dullness if not regularly cleaned off. It's simply a matter of knowing what to do and what not to do when taking care of your precious stones.

The best single piece of advice I can give you is to wipe your precious stone jewelry with a clean, soft damp cloth after wearing, and take them off when you put on lotions and creams. Especially opal will love a moist wipe. This little habit will ensure that your jewelry always looks its best. When your gemstone jewelry is not being worn, store in a soft pouch or plastic bag. Please note that pearls and opals should be stored in fabric instead of plastic because they like to "breathe".


Hidden Gems Rings

The stones of your ring are held in place by the tension of the metal around it. No glues or prongs. Settings tend to loosen over time, sterling silver sooner than solid gold. This setting is not a traditional setting, and the stones are not uniformly cut. This means that it's less secure than a traditional setting with a standard size stone in it. Occasionally the silver has to be pushed over the gems a little more.

I wear my Hidden Gems ring daily. I wear it while surfing, playing frisbee, mountain walks, cooking, doing yoga headstands... Literally everything. I really only take it off to take shots of my other jewelry being worn or when I put sunscreen or lotions on. But it's very important that you check your ring regularly to make sure none of the diamonds or gems are loose. Simply run your finger over the diamonds to see if they're still sitting securely.

Notice any of the stones moving even a little bit? Ask your local jeweler to make sure that the silver grips more tightly around the diamonds, send it back to me for repairs, or you can do it yourself with small crafts pliers. First wrap a little painters tape or heavy cloth around the tips of the pliers to avoid any scratches. Then very gently push the silver a little more over the diamonds. It'll add a few more dents, which to me only adds to the rustic character of your ring!