Caring for your Handmade Jewelry

cleaning silver

The care instructions below are good for all types of jewelry.  The cleaning instructions however, are only intended here to be used for sterling silver jewelry.  Most of my wire jewelry pieces are created with Sterling Silver,  they are polished to enhance the intricate wire patterns and I include a soft polishing cloth with each purchase.  However wire work needs a little extra care

The best care you can give your handmade jewelry is to NOT wear it when swimming or bathing or during activities that cause perspiration. Natural gemstones can be damaged by chemical reactions. Chlorine, salt water, perspiration, perfumes… all can cause damage, change of color, etc.  A moment or two of care can protect your piece from damage and allow you to enjoy them for a long long time.

  • Put your perfume on BEFORE your jewelry. 
  • Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place away from direct sun exposure. 
  • Silver tarnishes but  wearing them often will slowly coat the silver with the oils from your skin which will help slow the oxidation process. Wipe your silver with a clean dry cloth and store properly when not wearing. This won’t prevent tarnishing, but will help. 
  • Remove your jewelry before you go to bed. Wearing your handmade creations to bed can damage them. 
  • Anti tarnish strips are an easy thing to put in your jewelry box when you aren’t wearing your pieces and they slow down the tarnish process.

Cleaning your STERLING SILVER handmade jewelry:

Most pieces just need a wipe with your polishing cloth every once in a while to keep their shine. However if you have left your silver out exposed to the air for a very long time and it looks badly tarnished, don’t use a toothbrush to scrub the delicate wire work as you will likely damage it or at the very least mangle the weave.

Personally, I love my ionic cleaner (not ultrasonic – that can cause damage to some gemstones) I have a Speed Brite and that sucker is life changing – 30 seconds to bright and shiny and it is safe for emeralds opals and pearls 🙂

If you prefer not to purchase a jewelry cleaner then another easy household option is baking soda and foil

  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda 
  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent like Arm and Hammer
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 piece aluminum foil
  1. Heat water in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
  2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that roughly covers the bottom of a small bowl (like a cereal bowl).
  3. Pour hot water into bowl. Place salt, soda, and dish washing liquid into bowl. Place jewelry on top of foil and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse jewelry in cool water and dry jewelry completely with soft cloth. Discard solution after use.
  4. According to wire-sculpture.com, “this works well for gold-filled, brass, German (nickel) silver, and sterling silver.
  5. If there is a lot of tarnish or dirt on the piece, you can rinse the piece and soak for an additional few minutes.

Make sure you google your gemstones and look up appropriate care before cleaning them however. Better to be safe than sorry 🙂