Tips on How to Keep Fashion Jewelry and Sterling Silver Like New
Posted on January 28 2023
I have been a jewelry fanatic for my entire life and jewelry has been my career for almost the last 20 years - I have gathered so many tips and bits of knowledge over the years. I wanted share some simple ideas that will prolong the life of your fashion jewelry and also keep it, as well as your sterling silver, much nicer for much longer. "Fashion jewelry, which used to be called "costume Jewelry" involves some sort of plating over a base metal. This base metal may be copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel or other metal. Sterling silver and gold are solid metals. With solid metal, you can buff and remove layers until the piece is gone and you will never see another metal because it is solid all the way through. There seems to be a lot of confusion about tarnishing vs. wearing away of a plated finish. To add more confusion, fashion (plated jewelry) can also tarnish, which can be polished away. However, once that plated finish wears off, there is nothing that you can do except enjoy the new color, which may be copper and look like rose gold, or have it re-plated. For most of us, the longer the plating lasts, the happier we are! So here are the most important tips, in my opinion.
1) Always wash your jewelry after wearing, with a mild dish soap and water, and dry it very well before put it away. The reason for this is that all of the oils from your skin, creams, and make-up get on the jewelry. If you just put it away with all of that (invisible junk) clinging to the jewelry, it will eat away at the plating on fashion jewelry or oxidize and wear away at your sterling silver. So, always put it away fresh and clean!
2) Always store your jewelry in airtight plastic pouches or containers. Air is the enemy to your jewelry. I like the little zip-loc style pouches, they come in all different sizes. Some people even put a piece of chalk or a silica pack (absorbs moisture) into the zip-loc bags to keep dampness out. While jewelry racks are appealing to some, your jewelry is hanging around out there gathering dust, basking in humidity as the oils and make-up seep in and this will completely oxidize the finish and destroy your pieces.
3) Always remove your sterling silver and fashion jewelry before swimming or going to the beach. When you swim in pools, even saltwater pools (the salt is chemically converted to chlorine, which is a surprise to many) the chemicals will eat away at the plating on fashion jewelry and tarnish your sterling silver. I remember jumping into a pool with just polished sterling and by the time I was done, it was super tarnished. Ocean swimming is basically the same for fashion jewelry, not so bad for sterling, but let's not forget that sand scratches jewelry horribly. An added risk though, is that sparkly objects under the water are known to attract sharks, as they mistake the sparkle for fish scales. As much as I love wearing my bling to the beach, I'd prefer not to be lunch for some shark.
4) Last but not least, always put your fashion jewelry on last. Let your creams and make-up dry first. Any sprays or hair products will also eat away at the finish or cause sterling to become dull and tarnished. So, get all ready, and when you are completely done, then add your bling and get out there and shine!