Saturday, 1 October 2011

Cleaning Jewellery

I have been looking into cleaning my jewellery after seeing a UK show where they cleaned jewellery with alfoil, ‘soda crystals’ and water.

I tried it today and it works so well - one of my bangles has just been sitting for years and was black and now it is beautiful and shiny again.

After looking into it I found out that you are not supposed to do this with any jewellery that has precious stones in it. (I tried it with topaz and the stone looks fine to me, but I wouldn’t do it on an expensive or favourite piece of jewellery just in case.) 

Also you have to make sure it is sterling silver (it should have a stamp saying 925 if it is) – I cleaned my charm bracelet and now it seems the jeweller didn’t use sterling silver solder on one of my charms and that spot has turned black!

This is not a method for regular cleaning – if you want to clean your jewellery regularly just use a jewellery polishing cloth. The more you wear your jewellery the less likely it is to tarnish due to the oils in your skin. 

Leaving them sitting around will cause tarnish due to the air and moisture. Store your jewellery in a velvet lined jewellery box or in little zip lock bags. To absorb the moisture you can use chalk (you know that you write on blackboards with) or those little packs of silica you get in your shoe boxes, vitamin containers, etc.

And of course jewellery is the last to go on and the first to be taken off! Perfume, deodorant, hair spray, etc. is not good for your jewellery.

Please note: While I have researched this and tested it out myself, I will not be held responsible for anything that happens to you or your possessions if you decide to give it a go...

You will need:
  • Boiling water
  • Bi-carb soda
  • Salt
  • Alfoil
  • Heat proof container (I used a pyrex bowl)
  • Wooden chopsticks
  • Sterling silver jewellery
  • Soft cloth
  • Polishing cloth

  1. Boil the kettle
  2. Line your container with the alfoil
  3. Put your jewellery on top of the alfoil (it is best to have each piece on the alfoil, not just a pile of jewellery)
  4. Put in equal parts of bi-carb and salt – about a teaspoon each should be enough depending on the size of your container and how much jewellery you are using.
  5. Now be careful not to breathe in the gases - Pour the boiling water on top and it will start fizzing and bubbling up.
  6. Because it works best with the jewellery being in contact with alfoil you may need to flip the jewellery over or swish it around for things like chains.
  7. Once it looks clean take it out using your chopsticks and rinse it well – PUT A PLUG IN THE SINK!
  8. You will need to dry the jewellery using a soft cloth or by waiting patiently.
  9. Once dry use your polishing cloth to make it shine like new and then safely store it away.

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