Care Instructions - Hand on heart Jewellery
How to care for your jewellery..
Sterling silver jewellery needs a bit of TLC to stay in a good condition. We recommend checking the fittings and findings on your jewellery regularly to ensure the jewellery is kept secure, and cleaning regularly to keep a high shine.
What is tarnishing?
One of the most common problems that can occur with sterling silver is tarnishing. Sterling silver is an alloy made from 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, the other metals that can be used include copper, zinc, and nickel. These metals are added to pure silver in order to make it stronger and more suitable for everyday wear. As sterling silver is an alloy it is more prone to tarnishing than pure silver. Tarnishing is a chemical reaction that takes place between the alloy and Sulfur particles in the air, causing the jewellery to turn a brown colour. The longer the jewellery is left to continue tarnishing the harder it is to clean the piece. The amount of tarnishing that can occur on a piece is mainly dependent on the wearer of the jewellery, their skin and their habits meaning that every piece can tarnish at different rates and is not down to a manufacturing fault.
How to avoid tarnishing
- Avoid contact with chemicals. Chemicals that we apply to our skin or use in our everyday environment can accelerate the reaction causing the silver to tarnish faster. Try to avoid contact with perfumes, hairspray, body lotion and sunscreen as well as cleaning products such as bleach. You should also remove your jewellery when bathing or exercising.
- Regular cleaning. Often your jewellery will come into contact with some chemicals but cleaning your jewellery after each wear will help avoid discolouring due to tarnishing.
- Keeping your jewellery in a suitable location. Where you keep your jewellery is important as tarnishing is caused by Sulfur particles in the air. Your jewellery should not be left in the bathroom as the humidity and moisture can speed up the tarnishing process.
- Sterling silver is best kept in individual bags. Anti-tarnishing bags can be found from jewellery suppliers or you can keep the pieces in zip lock bags made from mylar or polyethylene, avoid bags made from polyvinyl as they contain Sulfur compounds.
- Wear your jewellery regularly. When wearing a piece of sterling silver jewellery everyday it is easy to notice any changes in colour and to clean it off. If you don’t wear your jewellery as often it is important to inspect and clean your pieces every couple of days to avoid tarnishing.
How to clean your jewellery
We do not recommend using liquid cleaning solutions on our personalised jewellery as this can remove the solution used to darken the prints. If your jewellery does tarnish, here are a couple of things to help remove the reaction:
- You can clean your jewellery with a silver polish cloth, which are available from most jewellers including ourselves. Our polish cloth contains a unique polishing agent specially formulated for cleaning sterling silver. First polish the surface of the silver with the inner cloth to add the polishing agent and buff the piece again with the outer cloth to give a lovely shine. Order a polish cloth here:
- Clean as soon as you notice a reaction. If you see a change in colour, clean your jewellery right away. Leaving the piece will only cause the reaction to worsen and the discolouring to continue.
- Our maintenance service. If you find a buildup of tarnish cannot be removed as you try to clean your jewellery we offer a maintenance service to have your handcrafted jewellery re-polished and re-darkened. This special service will make your piece look as good as new! Find out more about our new maintenance service here.
Like sterling silver jewellery it is important to check the fittings and findings of your stainless steel gifts regularly to ensure they are secure. Stainless steel does not tarnish like silver, nor will it rust, but it can become scratched when worn against other hard surfaces. To avoid scratching avoid the piece coming into contact with other metals and materials. If you find your stainless steel gift becomes dirty or stained it can washed by adding a few drops of mild soap to warm water, soaking a non-abrasive cloths in the solution and wiping the jewellery. Then rise your piece in clean water before patting dry with a clean non-abrasive cloth.
Caring for your leather is just as important as caring for the sterling silver charms attached. Again, checking the fitting of the bracelet is important to ensure the charms are secure. It is also very important to keep your bracelet away from water, getting the leather wet will cause damage and weaken the bracelet. Constant exposure to water may cause the leather to snap. If your bracelet becomes wet accidentally it should be wiped with a dry, non-abrasive cloth and left to dry out completely at room temperature.
If you feel your bracelet needs to be cleaned you can use a dry cloth to remove any dirt from the surface of the leather. Avoid contact with chemicals like perfume and body lotion to help keep the piece clean and be extra careful when cleaning the silver charms so the silver polish cloth compound does not come into contact with the leather. The bracelet should be stored like the sterling silver jewellery to ensure the chance of tarnishing on the charms is kept at a minimum.