To extend the life of your sterling silver and gemstone jewelry, there are a few things you can do:
GEMSTONES: You should always keep your gemstone jewelry away from harsh cleaning solutions and chemicals, heat sources, moisture, and abrasive cleaning methods. Emeralds may need to be re-oiled or refilled after years of wear (most jewelers should be able to do this or direct you to an appropriate jeweler).
Do not store your jewelry (especially silver) in plastic bags for long periods (unless the bag is a product specifically designed for the type of jewelry you are trying to store). Although some of our jewelry will be sent in plastic bags for safety during shipping, the bags are not intended for long term storage. Plastic bags can trap moisture and contain sulfur, both of which can cause tarnishing of silver (long term storage of pearls in plastic bags can also cause damage).
Silver is a softer metal and can scratch. Avoid throwing your sterling silver jewelry into an overcrowded jewelry box with other pieces. If possible, store each piece in its own box or leave some space between pieces in a large jewelry box to prevent tangling and scratching.
Sterling silver benefits from being stored away from the elements in a sealed jewelry box (keep away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight). Flannel-lined jewelry boxes or storage pouches/bags work well (avoid storing sterling silver on top of treated wood, as the chemicals can accelerate tarnishing). There are also "anti-tarnish" strips that can be purchased and used inside your jewelry box.
Keep It Dry & Away From Chemicals:
Sulfur, strong chemicals, chlorine, sweat/perspiration, and harsh sunlight can increase the the likelihood that a sterling silver jewelry piece will tarnish. It's best to keep your jewelry away from these things as much as possible. This means that you should attempt to do the following:
Don't wear your sterling silver jewelry in the pool, hot tub, or sauna.
Remove sterling silver jewelry before exercising or playing sports.
Remove jewelry before working with chemicals (such as when doing household chores or yard work) or cooking with foods that contain sulfur, such as eggs and mayonnaise.
Remove sterling silver jewelry before showering or bathing.
Don't store sterling silver jewelry in a hot, moist room of your home, such as the bathroom.
When getting ready to start your day or before going out, remember this general rule for sterling silver jewelry: "The first thing to take off and the last thing to put on." This means that you should avoid exposing your jewelry to substances like lotions, makeup, and hair products by putting it on last before going out and taking it off first when you return.
Remember To Clean It:
Don't let the the above precautions prevent you from wearing your sterling silver jewelry at appropriate times and enjoying it. If you do end up perspiring unexpectedly while wearing your jewelry or getting it wet, just remember to clean and dry it afterwards. To do this, see below.
Consider The Gemstones:
Most of the jewelry sold by Le Gem Nouveau includes gemstones or pearls, so it requires special care compared to jewelry composed of sterling silver only. You may see some online cleaning instructions for tarnished sterling silver that include baking soda or manufactured cleaning solutions. These can be too harsh for jewelry with gemstones and bonding agents used to secure the gemstones or pearls to the settings. For spot/routine cleaning, there are non-abrasive cloths that can be purchased and used to wipe down the silver portion of the jewelry (make sure the cloth you purchase is designed for the type of jewelry you are cleaning and is free of added chemicals that could damage metal plating). A Q-tip swab may also be useful. When cleaning, use strokes instead of a circular motion and be gentle. Dry all parts of the jewelry thoroughly after cleaning. You can also use this gentle cleaning/polishing method and a non-abrasive cloth for cleaning gemstones. If possible, avoid getting your jewelry wet or using soaps.
Don't Forget The Jeweler:
Do you have a jewelry piece that you want restored or cleaned, but are afraid of damaging it at home? Visit your local jeweler. They can make recommendations or clean the piece for you with special tools.
Sterling silver jewelry can last for years if treated properly and restored if tarnishing takes place, making it an excellent option for those seeking an affordable precious metal.