If you want your jewelry to have a long and happy life, you first have to know a little bit about your jewelry item. This page is in place to educate you and extend the life of your jewelry.
If your jewelry is solid gold or sterling silver, little care is needed to keep your jewelry looking new. Some simple steps like taking it off before a shower, swimming, or using harsh cleaners or chemicals will help preserve the life and finish of your jewelry. If your piece is plated, things get a little more complicated.
Plating yields a beautiful colored finish without having to invest the money that a solid gold piece would cost. But this price break comes at its own cost. Eventually the plating will wear away, exposing the base metal below.
In order to extend the life of that plated piece and get the most wear out of it, you just need to exercise a little common sense. Nobody can determine exactly how long your plating will last. It depends on a variety of factors like how often your wear the item. If your jewelry item is earrings, it stands to reason that the plating will last longer than if it were, for example, a ring, which would touch everything that you touch. The inside of the ring would wear away first, because of the constant contact rubbing your finger, as rings see a lot more exposure to surfaces and the elements, where the plating on a pair of earrings may last years or longer, rings will see wear and tear to the plating in a few months. Let’s just say your purchase is a gold plated ring and the base metal is silver, If you wear it all of the time, eventually the gold will become lighter and lighter until the silver is exposed. If the ring gets scratched, the scratch will be a silver line, which will be quite noticeable. If you’re going to be working with your hands or doing heavy chores, do your jewelry a favor and give it the day off. It’s always best to store the plated pieces in your collection inside the box it came in, or a velvet or silk pouch to keep them away from anything that could damage them.
When your plated jewelry needs to be cleaned, don’t use traditional jewelry cleaners, or any other chemical-filled solution, not even toothpaste. Instead, rely on soft cotton, liquid non-abrasive soap and warm water, but only if you must. If you use lotions, perfumes, oils or sweat excessively, this can also affect or discolor the plating. Believe it or not, your bodys own PH can even affect the life of your plating, making it come off in days, while someone with a more balanced PH could preserve it for months.
If your Jewelry has stones (especially opal or pearls) you’ll want to take great care not to get them wet or expose them to harsh elements. Did you know that an opal can crack from the temperature shock of taking a hot shower? And that hairspray can ruin the pearlescent finish of a pearl?
Care for your jewelry and it will stay beautiful and give you enjoyment for years to come.