Cleaning Gold, Silver and Platinum Jewelry
Sterling silver tarnishes easily just from exposure to sulfides in the air, high humidity, and polution. Fortunately silver is easy to clean by simply rubbing the jewelry with a soft cotton cloth or a chemically treated cloth such as a Sunshine Cloth. The treated cloths also have a chemical in them to help fight tarnish as an added benefit.
You can also use a liquid tarnish remover to clean your silver jewelry. It’s quick and easy, but must be used with care. We recommend that you do not ‘dip’ any jewelry with gemstones or with a blackened or ‘antiqued’ finishes because the chemicals used to remove tarnish can also remove the paint or liver of sulphur used to create the blackened look, and can even remove the color from some gemstones. Finally, be sure to thoroughly rinse your jewelry with clean water after using liquid tarnish remover since some liquids may cause skin irritation if left in direct contact with your skin.
Like silver, gold jewelry can tarnish when exposed to certain chemicals and can even be broken down when exposed to chemicals like chlorine. More specifically, the alloys will begin to break down when exposed to chlorine, this could be household bleach, repeated and extensive exposure to swimming pool and hot tub chemicals, and the like. If you plan to spend a lot of time doing these activities, please consider removing your jewelry before taking the plunge.
The most common films and dirt the collect on gold jewelry are oils from lotions, or even your own skin, makeup, and hairspray. Most gold, when kept clean, remains easy to clean by rinsing it in a solution of mild detergent and gently scrubbing your jewelry with a soft toothbrush.
Another popular do it yourself method of cleaning your gold is to make a solution of 50% cold water and 50% ammonia and let your jewelry soak for at least 30 minutes. Carefully rinse your jewelry and either pat dry or allow to dry while resting on a tissue or soft cloth.
For more aggressive cleaning methods there are a host of products available that can be used to help you keep your jewelry looking like new. At home ultra-sonic cleaners and small steamers are becoming more and more popular. these products must be used with care though. Many gemstones do not survive well under ultra-sonic or steamers and great care should be used so that you do not loose your precious gemstones. If you have any doubts at all about cleaning your jewelry, please take it to a professional jeweler and allow them to decide what is safe for your jewelry.
Finally, there are times when your jewelry simply cannot be cleaned at home. For those occasions take a trip to your favorite jeweler and allow them to clean your jewelry for you. They can do this safely and quickly with more professional tools, and it’s a great excuse to go look at the pretty things in the jewelry cases!
Cleaning Platinum and Palladium
Platinum and Palladium can be cleaned just like your gold jewelry. You can use homemade solutions or the more professional cleaning tools available. In either case care must be taken to protect your gemstones just as you would when cleaning gold or silver jewelry.