We're like magpies--those birds notorious for their attraction to shiny objects-- we buy jewelry because it sparkles and shines and calls to us. Our new pieces thrill us even just sitting on our dresser, and when we have new metal we wear it and wear it often. Sigh...oh so pretty.... Until one day we look down and notice that the metal is dull and dark, sometimes with a tacky film on it and then guess what happens? We stop wearing it. There's always that nebulous idea of locating the silver polish and polishing it but it never quite happens. So we move on to newer, brighter, shinier, our poor tarnished piece left to live out the rest of it's days getting splattered with toothpaste flecks and hanging on for dear life to the bathroom ledge or buried in a dark and dusty jewelry box.
Tarnished, rarely worn and oh so sad.
Silver polish is a messy hassle and buffing cloths are only slightly effective. So how do we clean our pieces? My favorite way to clean jewelry is with a small tuft of the finest grade steel wool you can find. Hardware stores are your best bet (you can find it sometimes in the detergent aisle in the grocery store but it's usually a very rough grade and it's usually pre soaped--not what you're looking for in other words). Steel wool cleaning is really easy, quick and you don't end up with dried pink grit from left over silver polish in the crevices of your pieces and their chains.
A clean necklace is a happy necklace
1. Take a tuft of steel wool, I like 0000 grade (or 4 aught) 000 (triple aught) will also work but I wouldn't go much bigger than that or you won't get as much shine (*please note--if the finish on your piece is a high shine (a highly polished, smooth finish) DO NOT use steel wool...I'll cover options for that kind of finish below) wet under running water, add a drop of regular dish soap and working in a small circular motion- polish away all tarnish. If you're polishing a chain, just flatten the steel wool and wrap the wool (taco style) around the chain and run the chain up and down, holding the wool tightly along the chain. When tarnish is gone, rinse the jewelry until it's soap free and viola!
2. Now, for any piece that's finished with a high shine, if you use steel wool, it will put tiny scratches in the finish (which won't ruin in but will change the finish into more of a "brushed" finish and if that isn't what you want, baking soda is a safer option. Add a few drops (you want a paste consistency) of water to a pile of baking soda. Using a toothbrush, scrub the paste in a circular motion all over the piece you're working with. This will remove most tarnish and restore a nice healthy glow to your piece. Baking soda isn't as aggressive as steel wool though so if you can't get quite the tarnish removal you were hoping for with this technique, you may have to resort to the dreaded silver polish.
One last thing--did you know that we clean pieces that we've made for free? If you'd rather just not be bothered--send your pieces back to our studio and we'll clean, polish and make any small little repairs necessary to ensure that you keep wearing your pieces for years to come!
PO BOX 782
Louisville Colorado 80026
(please enclose a note with instructions and a return shipping address!)