You've searched forever, and finally you’ve found what you were looking for! Of course, now you want to wear it all day, every day.
We get it, we really do: it's totally natural to want to wear those beautiful pieces 24-7. Unfortunately, that sort of constant wear can take its toll on your favourites! While it’s true that some earrings and rings can avoid the worst effects of being worn day in and day out, that’s not true for most pieces, so to keep your jewellery looking great, we recommend developing a care process for your pieces.
Think of caring for your jewellery as an extension of your self-care routine: just like diligent skin care will keep you looking great, taking care of those pieces you've lovingly chosen or have been gifted will keep them looking great too!
General Care for All Jewellery
There’s an old adage to remember: “First thing off, last thing on.” In an ideal world, your jewellery should be the first thing you remove before getting ready for bed at night, and the last thing you put on after getting ready in the morning! Perfumes, lotions, sunscreens, hair products and cleansers can all wreak havoc on metals and gemstones alike, causing colour changes, dullness, and lasting damage!
When not wearing your jewellery, store cleaned pieces in a cloth pouch (for gold or costume pieces), or in small plastic baggies (for silver and gold vermeil). Store chains individually to avoid tangling, and remember to do up the clasp!
It’s important to always remove jewellery before exercise.
While human skin is only mildly acidic at rest, sweat is a different story, and that acidity can cause certain metals to change colour- sometimes permanently! It’s best to be careful while weight training as well: you wouldn’t be the first person to damage or bend a favourite ring when handling a barbell!
Remember to remove your jewellery before swimming, hot-tubbing or going into a sauna.
Chemicals like chlorine will bind to certain metals and can cause permanent damage to your pieces! While it is often possible to scrub the black-brown patina off of a ring or necklace that was worn in the pool, the influence of those chemicals is insidious, causing a slew of damage not visible to the naked eye.
Similarly, watch out for salt water and intense heat! While both can trouble your metals, the real victim here tends to be gemstones: some gems will change colour or lose luster when exposed to intense heat or humidity, and porous or organic gems like opal and pearl will suffer from exposure to salt!
It’s a good idea to remove jewellery before bed.
Chains especially can suffer when slept in: they twist and pull as we shift in our sleep, causing the links to stretch unevenly. While this might not be obvious as first, the strength of a chain lies in its ability to evenly distribute weight- that means a stretched chain is at an increased risk of breaking, and we doubt you’d want that to happen to something you love so dearly you’d sleep in it!
Unguarded earring posts can cause discomfort for side-sleepers, leading to potential tenderness or restless sleep. To ensure your comfort, be sure to either wear earrings designed for comfortable sleeping, or soften the posts of your favourite studs with a pair soft silicon backings.
About Sterling Silver
“What is sterling silver? Is it real silver?”
Yes! Sterling silver is real silver: specifically, it is 925 silver, which refers to the percentage of silver versus alloyed metals.
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% alloyed metals: usually comprised primarily of copper alongside smaller amounts of tin and zinc. While it may seem strange at first to think that sterling silver is so widely preferred over fine silver, also called 999 silver, the truth is that fine silver is quite soft.
Just like gold, silver is alloyed for durability: the addition of other elements allows sterling silver to retain its lustrous brightness while lessening the likelihood of running afoul of dents and deep scratches caused by regular wear.
Caring for Sterling Silver
Depending on what it’s exposed to, silver can oxidize quickly- and sometimes so dramatically you might be tempted to panic!
Please, don’t panic: we have good news. In the vast majority of cases, silver can be brought back to its beautiful lustre very quickly and easily with a polishing cloth.
At a glance, a polishing cloth may look like just another piece of soft cloth, but in truth, it’s a specially treated tool for jewellery care! Polishing cloths are treated with polishing compound, allowing them to bind tarnish and remove most tarnish with a few gentle wipes. If you don’t have a polishing cloth of your own, consider picking up one of ours!
But remember: polishing cloths should not be laundered! Washing a polishing cloth will remove the polishing compound from the fabric!
To clean highly ornate pieces with lots of dips and divots, really dirty or oxidized silver, or pieces with a matte finish, make a soft paste of baking soda and water. Using either your fingers or an extra-soft toothbrush, gently clean the surface of your tarnished jewellery in light circular motions, being careful not to scrub or focus overmuch on one spot over others. Baking soda is mildly abrasive! Overworking your paste can dull the polish of a piece.
After you’ve finished cleaning your piece, rinse it thoroughly in clean- ideally running- water and pat dry. We recommend laying your piece out on a towel to ensure it has a chance to dry completely before you put it away for storage.
To slow the rate of oxidization- the natural process by which silver forms tarnish- we advise that your store your silver pieces somewhere enclosed and airtight, such as a plastic bag. Pieces left out in a dish or even in the drawers of a jewellery box will tarnish considerably more quickly!
About Gold Fill
“What the world is gold fill? Is that just another name for gold plate?”
The answer is: no, not quite. The key difference has to do with how the gold is applied to the under-metal, and in what density.
Gold plate, in general, refers to costume plating, which usually involves applying a very thin layer of gold to a solid brass base. That’s why costume plating tends to wear off so quickly!
Gold fill, sometimes known as “rolled gold” or “gold overlay”, refers to a process by which a thick sheet of solid gold- usually 14k- is mechanically fused to the under-metal. To be considered gold fill, the gold must comprise no less than 5% of overall weight.
As we all know, solid gold (also known as karat gold) can be a substantial investment. Gold filled jewellery, often made available in rose or yellow gold, is a good-quality, affordable alternative: tarnish-resistant and designed to last, gold fill pieces can last a lifetime when well cared for!
If you have a gold piece stamped with 925, the designation for sterling silver, you’re looking at a piece of gold vermeil jewellery! Gold vermeil is a thin plating- though more substantial than costume plating- of gold over sterling silver. Gold vermeil pieces should be treated and stored as if they were silver, with one major exception: cleaning a gold vermeil piece with a polishing cloth or a baking soda paste will abrade the plate! Whenever possible, gold vermeil items in need of cleaning should be cleaned in an ionic or ultrasonic cleaner to avoid deterioration of the gold finish.
Caring for Gold Fill
Just like solid gold, despite its resistance to tarnish, gold filled jewellery can still become dull over time due to a natural accumulation of debris and residue. If you find your piece has become dull, wash it gently with a very mild liquid detergent- ideally one without moisturizing or perfumed elements, as these sometimes have a risk of residue- and water, rinse well, and pat dry with a clean, soft cloth. As above, make sure your piece is completely dry before storing.
To prevent dulling, we advise that you gently wipe your gold filled pieces with a soft clean cloth after wear to remove potential buildup. Polishing gold fill with a jewellery polishing cloth every now and again is also an excellent idea, as the polishing compound in the fabric promotes shine.
Whenever possible, avoid storing your gold fill jewellery in humid environments! Humidity can wreak havoc on all sorts of jewellery, speeding up the process of tarnishing and making surfaces dull.
Make sure to store your pieces individually, as pieces stored together will shift against one another, and the friction will gradually wear down their polished shine.
“Wait, you mentioned brass before- that’s what’s under the plating in most costume jewellery, right?”
Yes, but not all brass is created equal, and well cared for brass makes for a beautifully affordable solid metal alternative to gold!
Brass, a copper-zinc alloy with a bright gold colour, has its own special set of circumstances.
Caring for Brass
Because brass is a copper alloy, it comes with all the caveats of copper: copper, that lovely brilliant orange metal, is very sensitive to acidity, turning green when exposed to acidic substances! This patina, which can form on copper and copper alloys such as brass and bronze, is called verdigris. It’s the same process by which the roof of the Canadian parliament buildings or the Statue of Liberty get their colour!
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, human skin is mildly acidic- and yes, that’s why you might remove an inexpensive ring to find it’s left a greenish or blue band on your finger where the plate has worn down. The severity of this varies from person to person! Some people find they can’t wear copper alloys at all, with pieces going entirely matte within a matter of hours, whereas others never see so much as a smudge from their brass and copper pieces.
Most people lie somewhere in-between, able to wear brass jewellery comfortably, but still liable to experience some greenish staining when they remove their jewellery. Don’t worry! This colour is easily removed from skin with soap and water, and if you find it bothers you, you may have luck with the barrier method employed by some brass-wearers.
The most common method to create a barrier between the skin and the acid-sensitive brass is this: clean the surface of the piece thoroughly with a soft, clean cloth and then coat the areas which make contact with skin (such as the interior of a ring) with a layer of clear nail polish.
Brass, like silver, can usually be brought back to its original shine with a jewellery polishing cloth and a little bit of elbow grease.
When it comes to cleaning a very stubbornly oxidized pieces of brass, an emergency fix is available, but should only be undertaken with care.
To remove very persistent tarnish from brass, dip the item in a solution of two parts water and one part white vinegar. Swish the piece around for a second or two and then immediately rinse very thoroughly under clean, running water before patting dry. Under no circumstances should brass be left submerged in or in contact with an acidic solution for an extended period of time, as prolonged exposure will cause the copper to leech from the surface of the piece, creating increased fragility, spotting, and irreversible colour change.
Proceed with caution.
About Gold and Platinum
Ah, precious gold! Ah, lustrous platinum!
Gold and platinum are the rockstars of the jewellery world, and for good reason: from their rich, unchanging colour to the ease of care they require, these metals are able to last and be passed down for generations with conscientious care.
Caring for Gold and Platinum
Clean gold and platinum regularly by wiping away buildup with a jewellery cleaning cloth. When pieces require more in-depth care, clean with a mild soap and water, as with gold fill. To clean difficult to reach places, such as under stone settings, use an extra soft toothbrush to gently work free any buildup and residue.
Be sure to cover open sink drains before rinsing thoroughly under warm water, and dry thoroughly with a clean, lint-free cloth. Be careful not to soak or brush delicate gemstones mounted in gold or platinum jewellery, such as pearls, mother of pearl, opal, tanzanite, or emerald, as this can cause them to change colour or lose lustre.
The most common issue with rings which see daily wear is a buildup of hand lotions and sunscreen accumulating on and around stones. Diamonds in particular attract oils and dirt, so if you are able to remove your rings when applying creams, this will decrease the need for regular cleanings to keep your sparkling favourites sparkling!
Two of our locations are equipped with an Ultrasonic Cleaner: feel free to drop by and leave your jewellery for an Ultrasonic Spa treatment!