March 21, 2019Educational
Spring Cleaning Tips: Jewelry Edition
Spring has Spring! Well, officially, anyway. The temps in Raleigh are still in the 40s when I wake up, but I see the bright shining sunshine (somewhere) towards the end of this winter-tunnel. My arms will finally be bare again, and all my favorite bracelets will finally get their day in the SUN!
But, uh oh, I haven't been wearing them much for the past several months - my brass has gone dark and my silver a bit patina'd. (jk, yall know I keep my jewels top notch year-round, but ya feel me on this, right?) No worries, I'm here to share my easiest go-to Spring Cleaning for Jewelry Tips - that you can do at home. Best part? There's only two things you need. (Okay, technically speaking you might need a brush of some sort to actually adhere the ketchup but in reality, your fingers could work. Just stay with me here...)
*Quick note: these tips work on solid metals; I do not recommend them for plated jewelry.
Spring Cleaning Tip 1:
The Polishing Cloth
I got my polishing cloth years ago while I was still in school (come to think of it, it's probably time for a new one); but I've found that Sunshine Polishing Cloths are the next best thing to a professional jeweler's one. You can find them almost anywhere (Amazon Prime
that baby), and I used to sell them on my site (shout it out in the comments if you want me to bring them back!) They come in many colors (I've used the yellow most frequently; it's their original) and they're safe to use on any solid metals - gold, brass, silver, and even mirrors so says their website! Each cloth has special chemicals in it to bring back a shining luster to your jewelry. Literally rub on, rub off whatever needs a spruce, and you are good to go! But, you might want to wash your hands afterwards because, in my experience, the darker chemicals that arise while cleaning can sometimes come off and get on your hands. They aren't harmful, just unsightly if you've got big plans later.
One big thing to note: NEVER wash your polishing cloth. Laundering it will take away all of the special chemicals that do all the deep cleaning. Your polishing cloth can last you for many years (I'm proof!) even after it's turned black - which by the way, the black you see is just the chemicals coming to the surface and doing their job.
Spring Cleaning Tip 2:
The Ketchup Method
I've said this before, and I'll say it a million times over, shouting from the rooftops if I have to, WASH YOUR JEWELRY IN KETCHUP! I know, it sounds absolutely absurd, but it works. The acid in ketchup can remove tarnish from most jewelry, though full transparency here, I've only used it on brass pieces as my silver doesn't seem to tarnish too frequently. I learned this trick from some random blog post I read several years ago, and it's stuck with me. While googling just today, I found an article
on all sorts of unusual items (beer, vodka, etc) in your home that can improve the look of your jewelry - if anyone tests these out, let a girl know!
But, back to the ketchup trick. It's literally as easy as it sounds. Place some ketchup in a bowl, submerge your brass jewelry in it for 3-5 minutes, then wash with warm water. I like to take it a step further, though. I use an old toothbrush to actually apply the ketchup to the brass piece for two reasons. 1. the jewelry I'm working with is sometimes too large to be submerged into a bowl of ketchup so using that much ketchup would be wasteful. I use this trick on every bridal belt I make before the ribbon gets attached, and everyone swears the brass belts are solid gold when they're delivered because they're so shiny! and 2. my jewelry has alot of texture and by using the toothbrush, I'm able to get into all the nitty gritty areas of that cast birch and organic metal and make the jewelry really shine.
It's been a fail-safe trick - a shine that even my professional jewelers polishing wheels can't duplicate. Of course, for me, for the ketchup trick to work, the piece has to be properly prepared post-casting, which my team in NYC does beautifully. They give me the perfectly prepped canvas, meaning that all of you get the perfect full picture.
For those of you testing out these cleaning tips, tell me how it goes!! Can't wait to hear how you make those pieces wearable and lovable again!