Fashion or imitation jewellery is not made of precious metals like gold, platinum, silver, etc. Normally it would not contain precious stones like diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire Garnet, etc. However, it might contain semi-precious stones like agate, amber, amethyst, aquamarine, aventurine, chalcedony, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, citrine, hematite, jasper, jet, kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, moonstone, obsidian, onyx, peridot, rhodonite, sunstone, turquoise, etc. or certain imitations of such stones having similar color but not the kind of required finish.
Fashion jewelry is more prone to wear and tear compared to precious jewelry. Hence, it becomes more and more critical to take care of this jewelry especially if you want to wear them for years to come.
1. How to store fashion jewelry for it to last long
First things first. If you can store our jewelry in an ideal way, it would help to reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance the jewelry would require. Following are certain tips to keep your jewelry clean and keep it brand new for longer.
- Wipe your jewelry with a clean microfiber cloth after each use, this way you would not need to clean it often. All dirt, water or any effect of air pollution that might have impacted and accumulated on the jewelry would be wiped off, thus making it look like new for a longer period.
- Store your jewelry properly. you might try storing the jewelry in ziplock bags. Designate one piece per bag. With no air, the metal cannot oxidize or turn green from exposure to the air. Jewelry boxes with a closing lid limit your jewelry’s exposed to air. The plastic pouch keeps it from being scratching against any other hard surfaces.
- Spray perfume applies cosmetics before putting on your jewelry. Anything water/oil-based can potentially tarnish your jewelry piece. Perfume and lotions can tarnish the finish of the pieces. Spraying perfume and putting on the lotions first, will coat the jewelry and might lead to tarnishing. Refrain from wearing your jewelry in the bath or shower, or when you work out because water and perspiration are corrosive in nature. You should wait until your body is dry, only then wear the jewelry piece. This would help prevent some of the corrosion of fashion jewelry that makes it look dull. This would ensure that the requirement of frequent cleaning is also reduced.
A small tip here, you can apply a coat of see-through nail polish on your jewelry. This would not only increase its shine but also help increase its life. This happens as the layer of nail paint would help keep the jewelry surface protected from pollutants and corrosion agents.
2. Identify the types of jewelry
In order to start the maintenance of jewelry you should first identify the material of the jewelry piece and then chose the relevant method of cleaning. This is like washing your colored and white clothes separately.
- All pieces of similar jewelry should be clubbed together. Polish or plating of one piece of jewelry might affect the plating of the other piece.
- Stone jewelry should be segregated as sometimes the stones are stuck on the jewelry with adhesive (not the normal grade). When cleaning you need to be sure of the amount of liquid being used. The liquid might loosen the stone and make it fall out. Also, using water could tarnish the backside of Kundan and enamel pieces.
3. Pick the tools
The right tools are important for good and better cleaning. The tools should be soft on the jewelry.
- The ideal would be to use a soft brush. This would be able to go to the internal intricate areas where dirt and flakes get accumulated. The soft toothbrush could also be used but with care. Hard surfaces for cleaning might lead to scratches on the jewelry. Used toothbrushes are hence a strict NO.
- A soft sponge could also be used. They would help to clean flat polished surfaces in a better manner.
4. Cleaning agent
Ideally, test a small portion of the jewelry, usually the backside of the earring or a necklace to first check the effect of the agent on the plating. If the plating looks good for at least 24 hours after treatment on the test surface, should one try to use the cleaning agent for the entire jewelry piece? There are lots of commercial cleaning agents available in the market. Ensure that you choose one which contains neither Ammonia nor alcohol. These could be harmful and tarnish your jewelry pieces. If you are someone who likes home based mild cleaners the following could be some of the possible options
Lemon juice –
Lemon is a natural mild acid. Rubbing some lemon juice (mixed with water) can help the process of cleaning. Lemon works especially well over the silver.
Vinegar with a water solution –
soak the jewelry in the solution for some time and clean with a soft brush or sponge. A brush might help to remove the flakes from the cracks if any.
Mild baby Shampoo –
Mix a couple of drops of baby shampoo in water. Shampoo can help cleaning of pearls. The solution should be like thick tomato soup. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of water. Apply the solution with a thick brush on the jewelry piece.
Don’t use this on enamel jewelry. Take some toothpaste on a soft brush and rub it on the piece of jewelry.
Contact lens solution –
Don’t use this method if you have sensitive skin. Enamel jewelry treatment should be avoided. Read the complete ingredients and caution labels before using the contact lens solution. Apply the contact lens solution with a brush and wipe it clean asap. In case the solution is left out of the jewelry for long, this could lead to tarnishing.
After applying the cleaning mixture and cleaning everything off, rinse the piece off in cool water as soon as possible. Rinse just enough to remove the soapy water solution from the jewelry. Immediately after you rinse off your jewelry, place it on a towel to soak up any excess water. Wipe the excess water using the towel. Immediately, blow-dry the jewelry. If the jewelry piece is not quickly dried, then it may lead to rust and water spots. Ensure to blow dry until it is completely dry. Take special care when blow-drying jewelry with gemstones, a warmer setting of the drier may lead the glue to melt.
[Disclaimer: The above methods as mentioned have been done under the strict supervision of experts. Adequate cautions have been mentioned, however, the author shall not be responsible for any damages that you might incur on your jewelry pieces due to faulty method or usage of heavy chemicals]