Looking after your gold & silver jewellery


When you invest in a beautiful piece of 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.

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.

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.

Solid gold is won’t corrode and tarnish, but it is usually alloyed with other materials which can lead to dulling over time. Again, a drop of washing up liquid and a soft cloth usually brings it back to its shiny best.

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. Just get in touch at info@elinhorgan.com

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