Jewelry Care + Cleaning Tips
A few of the regular questions we receive regarding jewelry: 'how do I care for my handmade jewelry?', 'will it turn my skin?', and 'will my jewelry change color or darken?'.
We wanted to include the topic as a journal post, shedding light on the jewelry tarnish conundrum and make the easy solution accessible for everyone.
All jewelry (except for solid gold) will tarnish or darken over time. That includes; Bronze, Brass, Sterling Silver, Gold-plated jewelry + Gold-fill jewelry. We listed the metal types in descending degree of tarnish. That means that all well-made jewelry will require some level of care, even though it's quite minimal.
Brass + Bronze
Brass is made of primarily copper + zinc, while bronze is primarily made of copper + tin. This means that while the materials are more cost-accessible from a retail perspective, they will always tarnish and darken more than other metals. Exposure to water + heat will only hasten the formation of the patina, so do NOT wear your jewelry in water, showers, gyms, hot tubs or pools. The patina on brass and bronze tends to range from muted, warm-coppery-brown to a light iridescence on the metals' surface. When these metals are against the skin, over time (it can vary based on the skin type), the skin can sometimes turn darker or a green color until the area is washed or exfoliated. In the past, we always used environmentally responsible coating agents that helped keep this from happening. But all clear-coats are mere attempts at preventing the inevitable. So instead of fighting the inherent makeup of the metal, we work with it and embrace the characteristic of the metals. When wearing bronze or brass jewelry, here's a few final tips: • Try to avoid inadvertently spraying hairspray or perfume on jewelry • Make sure you fully dry jewelry after washing your hands • If skin discoloration occurs, gently exfoliate your skin with water, soap, and a wash rag.
Sterling silver is made of 92.5% sterling and 7.5% of copper. This also means that over time, if left in a jewelry box or not worn often, the metal will darken to a brown-black oxidation. Silver stays brighter and cleaner the more often it is worn.
Fine silver is 99% silver and 1% copper. Which means it too, will still tarnish over time, though at a slower rate. A simple wipe with a sunshine cloth restores the finish of any silver, immediately.
Gold-plated jewelry is usually a silver or brass base that's been electroplated multiple times to create a consistent, even barrier over the core metal. Over time, the gold will eventually begin to wear and fade, causing tarnish and requiring a fresh plating. Quality plated jewelry can last up to a few years before requiring another plating.
Gold-filled jewelry is made with a tiny core of a base metal, the small core is wrapped with sheets of gold. So, there is a much higher content of gold on the jewelry, which means gold-filled jewelry will never fade and will never rub off. But, because the core is still a base metal, occasional wipes with a polishing cloth are recommended.
Cleaning + Storing
All metals and CN jewelry can be simply cleaned with a gentle wipe or rub with a jewelry's best friend: the 'Sunshine cloth'. The sunshine cloth will restore the piece to its original luster after moments of rubbing. It's pretty impressive how quickly it works! Soft scratches may disappear with the sunshine cloth, but dings and dents will require a professional polishing. Jewelry that has been cleaned should be stored in an air-tight bag away from heat and steam when not being worn. Our CN jewelry packaging includes a clear bag for storing as well as a sheet of anti-tarnish tissue paper to wrap your piece in. We recommend storing your pieces in their original packaging to help keep them clean, safe and dry. We do not recommend using cleaning solutions, especially on pieces with stones, the sunshine cloth will more than suffice. If you feel that your piece needs additional cleaning, we offer an in-house clean + polish service on all our jewelry. Sunshine cloths are available in the shop to add to your order, here.
If you have questions, or comments, feel free to reach out to us below. All items purchased prior to 1.1.16 are subject to one complimentary clean + polish service.