Caring for enamel work

Enamel is glass and if mistreated can break. The following will help keep your enamel jewellery free of chips:

  • Store items in a plastic baggie separate from other jewellery.  Don't snuggle it all in a pile!
  • Avoid dropping enameled jewellery oh hard surfaces such as cement floors and ceramic tile.  They don't get along.

Why does jewellery tarnish & how can I slow down the process?

Jewellery becomes tarnished over time as it's exposed to impurities in the air.  This process is called oxidation.  Some things that can speed up this process are:

  • Ocean Air
  • Air quality & pollution
  • Body chemistry - medication and highly acidic drinks released through the pores in our skin can come in contact with the metal, speeding up the oxidation process.  Especially on a hot day!

Tips for preventing tarnish

  • Store your jewellery in zip-lock bags and be sure to squeeze out the extra air.
  • Place anti tarnish strips in your jewellery box and or in the zip-lock bags.

Polishing your tarnished jewellery:

High Polished Metals: 

High polished metals are best kept clean using a 'Rouge Cloth' or 'Polishing Cloth'.  These cloths are often double sided cotton cloths where one side is infused with a cleaning compound, and the other is not.  This cloth can be rubbed against the polished surface to remove fingerprints and tarnish.  The plain side of the cloth can be used afterward to further buff the metal and remove any compound left behind on the metal.  To clean chains, simply fold the cloth and gently draw the chain through, repeating the process as necessary until free of tarnish.  Eventually the rouge cloth will begin to blacken, but it will still continue to work for a very long time.

The benefit of this cloth over liquid tarnish removers is that it does not harm semi-precious and precious stones.  Personally, I don't like using liquid cleaners and dips unless the jewellery has extremely hard to reach areas.  It does provide some instant gratification whereas the cloth requires some time and effort, however I find that the jewllery tends to tarnish quicker once you start using it.  I also like to keep my chemical use to a minimum when I can.  A polishing cloth can be found at any local jewellery tool supply store, many retail jewellery stores, or on the internet.

NOTE:  This method is not recommended for matte finishes as the polishing compound will tend to stick in the low grooves, resulting in a dull surface.


Matte Finished Metals:

Matte finished metals are very easy to buff up using a brass brush and some soapy water, or a tooth brush and soapy water.  The brass brush works the best and is like a large tooth brush for jewellery, working in a similar fashion.  Apply dish soap and water to the bristles on the brush.  Basic green soaps like Polmolive work best.  DO NOT use oxi-clean dish soaps.  These contain oxygen.  The oxygen molecules will actually attach to your jewellery, causing it to tarnish very quickly.  This effect is extremely difficult to remove.  Wet the bristles with water.  Avoid excess water on the wooden handle as sub missing the handle to too much water will cause it to crack over time, losing the bristles.  Gently rub the tips of the bristles against the metal.  Rinse with fresh water to remove any soap residue.

You can use the brass brush on jewellery that had a high polish but has become scratched and worn with time.  The brush will uniformly burnish the metal and brighten it up again.  A brass brush can be found at any local jewellery tool supply store, or on the internet.

Remember if you don't have any of the above mentioned tools, a simple toothbrush and mild dishsoap or gentle toothpaste will do the trick! 

 

Happy Cleaning :)