Even the most beautiful jewelry can become tarnished and lose some of its shine. Knowing how to prevent jewelry from tarnishing and how to clean tarnished jewelry can allow you to enjoy your heirloom pieces and your treasured jewelry now and for many years to come. Here are some tips to help you manage tarnished jewelry.
Why Does Jewelry Tarnish?
Tarnishing is usually the result of exposure to chemical compounds. In some instances, your jewelry may become tarnished simply by exposure to air over time. Some of the most common reasons for tarnished jewelry include the following:
- Exposure to or contact with oil or sweat
- Contact with makeup, deodorants or perfume
- Oxidation caused by exposure to chemicals or other compounds
- Long-term effects of storage while exposed to air
Not all metals are susceptible to tarnishing. Brass, sterling silver and gold alloys of less than 14-karat purity are most vulnerable to tarnishing among standard jewelry settings.
- Brass tarnishes over time because of high amounts of copper in the alloy. When copper comes in contact with your skin, it oxidizes to create a green or black patina on the surface of the jewelry. In some cases, the tarnishing process can also turn your skin green as well.
- Sterling silver will also tarnish if exposed to moisture, sulfur, chlorine or the acidic surface of your skin. Tarnished jewelry typically looks duller and less attractive than clean and pristine sterling silver jewelry.
- Gold alloys that are of less than 14-karat purity can also tarnish because of the other metals that make up these alloys. If brass is used in a gold alloy, oxidation can cause the same greenish tinge to the setting and to your skin.
- Other metals may also tarnish with exposure to moisture, air or other chemical compounds.
Learning how to prevent jewelry from tarnishing can allow you to enjoy many years of beauty and function from these important adornment options and heirlooms.
How Do You Prevent Jewelry From Tarnishing?
A few simple strategies can allow you to delay or prevent tarnishing for your cherished items of jewelry. If you are wondering how to prevent jewelry from tarnishing, these methods offer added protection against tarnishing for your prized items:
- Proper storage is critical to prevent tarnishing. This means avoiding humid areas and cleaning your jewelry before storing it securely.
- When possible, separate jewelry by the type of metal used in the setting. This can reduce interaction between different types of jewelry.
- Maintain consistent temperatures in the area in which your jewelry is stored.
- Older pieces and more delicate jewelry may need protection from sunlight and other light sources to last as long as possible.
Regular cleaning can go a long way toward reducing tarnishing and keeping your jewelry in tip-top condition.
How Do You Clean Tarnished Jewelry?
Commercial cleaners can be used to eliminate tarnishing for sterling silver jewelry. For most brass jewelry items, however, simple soap and water and thorough drying can make a big difference in the appearance of your jewelry and can reduce the risk of tarnishing before and during storage.
You can also contact your local jewelry store to get recommendations on the best ways to clean your tarnished jewelry for maximum longevity and beauty.
Long-term Solutions for Dealing With Tarnished Jewelry?
If tarnished jewelry is an annoyance for you, there are some important options that you can consider to resolve this issue permanently:
- Purchasing non-tarnish jewelry can eliminate the bother of cleaning your jewelry frequently. Tarnish-free jewelry is available in a wide range of looks and price points to help you manage your time more effectively.
- You can also contact your jeweler to redesign jewelry with new settings that will not tarnish. A jewelry redesign can allow you to keep your current jewelry while giving it a new lease on life with a beautiful and tarnish-free finish.
- Rhodium plating is another option that can allow you to avoid all the annoyance of tarnished jewelry without changing the fundamental look of your jewelry pieces.
At A&J Jewelers, we offer practical help with cleaning, redesigning and creating beautiful works of art for all your jewelry needs. We serve Snellville and the surrounding communities in the Atlanta area with custom jewelry services that are designed with your needs in mind. Visit us online or give us a call at 678-344-1022 to learn more.