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How to look after your gold & silver jewellery

When you invest in a beautiful piece of handmade jewellery, you naturally want to keep it looking its best. By taking a few simple precautions in how you store and care for it, you can make sure that it remains in tip top condition.

How to look after and store your silver jewellery

Any silver jewellery exposed to the air will develop a layer of tarnish over time. This is caused by a chemical reaction between the silver and oxygen, moisture, sulfides and chlorides in the air. Where possible you should avoid storing it an environment which is warm and humid as this will expedite the process. To ensure that your jewellery remains in the best possible condition, keep it in a box with a tarnish free pad. Also remember to keep necklace and bracelet clasps done up to minimise the likelihood of the chains getting tangled.

How to deal with tarnish on silver jewellery

As it’s only the top few layers of silver that react with the air to form a tarnish, it can easily be cleaned away. I prefer not to use silver dip and always avoid harsh abrasives which can scratch the surface as silver is very soft. A drop of washing up liquid, some warm water and a soft cloth is a much gentler alternative. There are also specialist cloths which are impregnated with a silver cleaner and anti tarnish agent. You can pick these up fairly cheaply from most supermarkets and they last for ages. I use a Town Talk one from Lakeland (pictured below) and have found it really good. Oxidised silver pieces should never be polished as this will remove the surface colour.

How to care for your gold jewellery

Pure gold doesn't corrode and tarnish, but it is alloyed with other materials for jewellery making which can lead to dulling over time. The lower the carat of gold the less 'pure' it is. Again, a drop of washing up liquid and a soft cloth usually brings it back to its shiny best. Visit the What are the different types of gold? blog post for more information on types and carats of gold.

How to look after gold plated jewellery

Gold plated pieces need extra care however, as the solution which coats the silver can wear off over time. A gentle going over with a cotton ball should do the trick. Do not use a polishing cloth for plated items as it will remove the plated finish. It’s also worth keeping hold of any bags and boxes that you receive with your jewellery as using these will prevent scratches through contact with other pieces.

It’s always a good idea to remove your jewellery when swimming. Not only is there a chance that it might slip off and you’ll lose it, but chemicals used in swimming pools will damage the finish of plated and oxidised items. It is also advisable to take off your jewellery when showering and, where possible, to avoid contact with perfumes and other cosmetics which can react and damage the surface.

If you own a piece of Elin Horgan Jewellery that is in need of some TLC then do please let me know. If you return the piece to me, I’m always happy to mend or replace catches and chains or re-polish where possible. Visit the Wear, Care & Repair page for details of replacement parts, repairs and plating services.

Elin Horgan designs and creates handmade jewellery in her Bristol studio. Elin’s beautifully simple handmade jewellery is carefully crafted and designed to be worn every day. You can read more about Elin’s work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand on her About Elin Horgan Jewellery page.

If you’d like to enquire about a specific product or discuss a custom piece of jewellery, please have a look at the Bespoke Handmade Jewellery page or email

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