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Cleaning & Caring: Plated Jewellery
Cleaning plated jewellery has its challenges and one of the best things it to wipe it regularly with a soft cloth after each use to remove body oils and airborne dust or pollutants.
Sometimes we start with this intention, but soon it becomes hard work and we just remove the piece and pop it back into the drawer, jewellery box or display unit, but over time the piece will show signs of tarnish and dullness. What to do?
One easy (and cheap) way to store jewellery is in a sealed container with one of those little silica gel bags that come in all sorts of things. Think of it as recycling. I save these little packets from all sorts of purchases – from shoes right through to bags of flatbread wraps – and pop them in with my jewellery or supplies.
Another simple idea (but you generally must purchase them) are little Anti-Tarnish Paper Strips. They are treated to protect metals from tarnishing by absorbing sulphides and other pollutants in the air. They will protect silver, gold, copper, bronze, nickel, tin and plated metals; for everything from jewellery to musical instruments.
Oops, too late!
The above will all protect your jewellery from tarnish, but how to get it gleaming again after the damage has been done?
Below are a few ideas for cleaning jewellery at home. Please note that not every cleaning suggestion is suitable for every piece of jewellery.
I am not affiliated with or have any connection to the companies or products mentioned in this post.
This information is from my own personal use and observations.
Please err on the side of caution when trying these and use your least loved items as a tester.
Electrolytic Cleaning Plates
Years ago, I was at one of the home shows and after watching the demonstration, bought a “o-so-Bright” plate for electrolytic cleaning of gold, silver, silver plate and jewellery.
Now this does work and generally works well but NOT for jewellery that contains Pearls, Opal, other delicate stones or anything glued. To activate the reaction, boiling water is used, and this is way to harmful for some stones and settings.
Specific Jewellery Cleaning Solutions
Another option is one of the delicate Jewellery Cleaners specifically made for Semi-Precious stones, Pearls and costume jewellery.
This comes in a tub with a little strainer inside. You generally place an item at a time in the solution, wait 30 seconds, lift the strainer and remove the piece. This piece then needs to be rinsed in lukewarm water (there is a little brush in the kit to remove any debris that hasn’t soaked off) and then dried with a lint free cloth.
Again, this works, but if you many pieces to clean, this will take a while.
Jewellery Cleaning Cloths
I also use a Selvyt RS polishing cloth.
These multipurpose polishing cloths are manufactured from woven unbleached cotton with a raised surface.
This surface lifts particles to leave a perfect finish on platinum, gold, silver, and fashion jewellery; silver plate and hollow ware; stainless steel; polished wood; optical lenses; computer screens; leather goods and more.
They can be washed and reused many times and work well, I just need to find the chambermaid to start polishing, there is some elbow grease required.
Rouge Polishing Compound
If you have a lot of left-over elbow grease or an electronic buffer, you can use a red “Dialux Rouge” compound to polish with.
This is good on larger or less intricate objects, but I find with beaded jewellery it tends to get stuck in all the nooks and crannies and I end up with a bigger mess than when I started.
DIY Cleaning Solution
Another quick and easy one to try is Alka Seltzer.
I read about this one last night and gave it a go. Pop your items in a glass or cup, cover with water and add an Alka Seltzer tablet or sachet. Leave for 5 min to do its bubbling then rinse and dry.
I didn’t have any Alka Seltzer in the house, but did have some chemists own brand Ural style powder so I thought I would experiment as most of the ingredients were the same (without the aspirin – which I didn’t think the jewellery would benefit from anyway). It worked pretty well on the glass and metal beads I experimented on.
I haven’t tried on stones etc yet so will keep you up to date on that.
Remember - please err on the side of caution when trying these and use your least loved items as a tester.
I have tried all these cleaning methods with varying degrees of success and ease but would like to reiterate that the easiest thing is to quickly wipe the pieces over after each use, that way you won’t need to spend extra time cleaning, rinsing and buffing. It’s a bit like the “stitch in time” expression.
If you have successfully tried other methods, I would love to hear about them.