Caring For Your Jewelry

I get asked many times from people about the different types of metal used with jewelry and how to clean and care for it so that the jewelry will last.

For easy jewelry cleaning, we do recommend the Connoisseurs brand of cleaner. You can purchase it on Amazon or at most convenient stores. 

You can also easily clean your jewelry yourself if you do not want to purchase the liquid cleaner mentioned above. There is no need to memorize all of this information. Just know that when you purchase jewelry from Sierra-Abby Jewelry, you also get a note card with how to care for your jewelry. With proper care, your jewelry will last for years.

There are a couple of factors to keep in mind when caring for your jewelry:

  1. What chemicals or substances is your jewelry in contact with?
  2. What residue stays on your jewelry for longer periods of time?
  3. How is your piece stored?
First, let's discuss the different types of metals.
    Gold Plated
    Gold plated is a light layer of gold at 0.05% of actual gold. It can be less. This gold layer lies on top of a base metal like brass or copper. The layer of gold is plated onto the base metal to create the gold-plated jewelry. 
    Gold-plated jewelry is cheaper than other types of gold jewelry because it uses a little amount of gold. It is more prone to tarnishing when exposed to any kinds of liquid or chemicals. It may also irritate sensitive skin.
    If you want to keep gold-plated jewelry looking nice and shiny, wipe it down after every wear with a damp cotton ball or microfiber cloth. If the metal is exposed to chlorine, alcohol, acids, or sulfur compounds that cause a tarnish, it should be cleaned thoroughly.
    Gold Filled
    Gold filled is a solid layer of gold that is mechanically pressure bonded to a base metal (such as brass, rhodium, copper or sterling silver), using a specific amount of heat and pressure. The jewelry piece has to have solid gold content of at least 5% of its total weight, otherwise it’s not classed as gold filled. It is a popular alternative to solid gold, because its more durable, more affordable, and more versatile for different lifestyle and activities. Gold filled is different than gold plated in several ways:
    • Gold filled contains a substantial layer of 14 karat (k) gold, rather than a microscopic layer of gold plating (or gold dipped). Gold filled is required by law to have at least 5% of gold by weight. Consequently, gold filled is worth more and maintains its value better than gold plated, which has a minimal amount of gold.  
    • A gold-filled finish will not flake off or chip and is tarnish resistant, if properly maintain and cleaned.
    Sterling Silver
    Sterling silver is an alloy of silver, containing 92.5% pure silver with most likely copper or another metal as the remaining metal. Sterling silver is considered a precious metal. 
    • Although sterling silver is stronger than solid silver, it is softer than gold filled metal, and can be prone to scratching if not treated with care.
    • Sterling silver tarnishes naturally and occurs with even the most expensive sterling silver. Tarnishing with sterling silver is caused by a chemical reaction between the sterling silver and the air and any chemicals that come in contact with it. Skin oils and body chemistry may actually help to preserve the sterling silver, so it's fine to wear it frequently.
    Stainless Steel

    Strong and resilient. It is an alloy of carbon and iron, stainless steel is made up of at least 10.5% chromium and at most 1.2% carbon. This is combined with other alloys like nickel and titanium for durability and other advantageous properties. Stainless steel is a popular material for jewelry because it’s affordable and durable.

    • Unlike other softer materials, it can withstand most daily activities without sustaining corrosion and scratches.
    • It doesn’t tarnish and needs minimal maintenance. 

    Stainless steel is excellent for those who are allergic to certain metals or prefer to avoid silver and gold. With its resistance to rust, oxidation and discoloration, this corrosion-resistant alloy is ideal for long-lasting jewelry designs. This metal is the best suggestion for those living in high-humidity locations, as the metal will keep from rusting much longer than other metals.

    How to Clean Your Jewelry From Sierra-Abby Jewelry
    Following these best practices will ensure a long, beautiful life of your jewelry:
    • Remove jewelry during physical activities.
    • Remove jewelry when using chemicals: shampoos, harsh soaps, lotions, makeup, hairspray, etc., including some household items and foods that contain sulfur should be avoided whenever possible.
    • Avoid prolonged exposure to chlorine, pools, hot tubs or spas.
    • Avoid abrasive materials like a terry cloth, towel, clothing, tissues or paper towels (they are micro-abrasive and should be avoided).
    • Store your jewelry in a dry, air-tight area (e.g. plastic bag). Always try to clean your piece before storing. Use a generic micro fiber cloth or lens cloth to remove any oxidation or tarnish marks. Gently rub across the surface until the shine has been restored.
    • Regularly clean your jewelry using mild soap or a professional jewelry cleaning solution. Pat dry, and do not rub.
    • Take extra care around perspiration, salt, chlorine, perfume, lotions, and makeup as they can damage fine jewelry.
    • Although rare, sometimes individual body chemistries can react with the metal and cause a reaction. Pregnancy, thyroid disorders, hormone levels, medications and more can affect body alkalinity versus acidity, and may cause a reaction with your piece. 

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