Jewellery Care

Jewellery is an investment in your wardrobe, it is gifted to commemorate special occasions or milestones, it is rarely bought on a whim, usually being lusted after and saved up for and sometimes it is passed down through generations. However, it can be easy to neglect these treasures when they’re not our everyday pieces. When left for long periods of time, our beloved jewellery rewards our neglect with tarnish.

What is tarnish?

If you own and love silver jewellery you’ll know exactly what we mean when we say tarnish. That annoying discolouration or dirty appearance on the surface of your pieces. Tarnishing is the process of oxidisation of metal. It starts to happen over time when your pieces come into contact with chemicals like sulphur, ammonia and natural oils in your skin, and are then exposed to oxygen. Thankfully it’s only a surface discolouration!

Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to care for silver and gold. Instead of using harsh and abrasive chemicals to clean away the tarnish, you can opt for eco-friendly cleaning choices. Read on for some of easiest ways to clean your jewellery and get ready to refresh your jewellery!

Preventative Care

Before we make some suggestions of how to bring your prices back to life we thought it would be helpful to share some ideas about how to avoid tarnish altogether.

Wear your jewellery

Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, wearing your jewellery as often as you can will help you avoid tarnish. How so? Your skin produces natural oils that seem to clean the metal as it rubs and touches the skin, keeping it looking bright and shiny. However, this same oil will cause tarnish when jewellery is left unworn for long periods of time, so the best way to stop your silver tarnishing is to wear it!

Avoid chemicals and cosmetics

To avoid tarnish, it is best to keep your jewellery out of contact with household chemicals, chlorine, or any substances containing sulphur, phosphates, ammonia or rubber. We recommend not wearing your silver jewellery when doing chores involving chemical cleaners.

Perfumes, skin lotions, hair spray, other hair products and even perspiration can also cause silver to tarnish. We recommend you get fully dressed before putting on your jewellery. Leave the best until last - like the icing on a cake!

Similarly, exposure to sunlight can cause silver to tarnish, so don’t store your jewellery in sunlight and possibly even take off your silver jewellery before swimming & sunbathing.

Storage is key

The most common cause of your jewellery tarnishing is simply exposure to air. So one of the easiest ways to prevent tarnish is to store silver in airtight plastic bags, even better to include anti-tarnish strips if possible. Although we prefer to avoid plastic in all aspects of life, in this regard it is unrivalled as far as we know (please let us know if you have alternatives!)

Make sure you store your jewellery pieces separately to avoid scratching and chains tangling. The storage area should be dry and with low humidity, adding a piece of chalk or activated charcoal can also help minimise tarnish.


Polishing Cloth

If your jewellery is stored in a jewellery box or other exposed area, regularly using a polishing cloth can keep them looking shiny. We recommend every jewellery-lover has a polishing cloth to hand. You can buy one from us here.

You could also use a microfibre cloth, lint-free flannel, or any other soft non-abrasive cloth to polish your pieces. As far as metals go, silver is relatively soft, which means it can easily become scratched so don’t be too vigorous with your polishing and do not use tissues or paper towels.

We do not plate our jewellery, but if you are polishing silver or gold-plated jewellery, be aware that over time your polishing might wear away the plating and reveal the metal underneath, so be careful!

Dip cleaner

Sometimes you need something a little more heavy duty and easily available. You can buy dip cleaners in large supermarkets. But please note that they can be too harsh for some types jewellery especially pieces with gemstones and pearls. The cleaning solution can severely damage them, so always read the instructions.

Washing up liquid

It might seem rudimentary but a mild washing-up liquid can be a great DIY cleaner for a variety of jewellery including silver, diamonds, and even delicate pearls. Just make sure it does not contain chemicals, such as ammonia or phosphates.

Simply mix the liquid with some warm water and dampen a soft cloth in the solution. Gently rub the pieces with the solution and rinse thoroughly in cool water. If you want to clean in deep texture or around diamonds, which can become grubby when worn daily, you could use a soft bristle brush, like a bamboo tooth brush.

Gemstones are very delicate and need to be treated with extra care. Stones like rubies and sapphires can withstand soapy water when you want to clean them, others cannot, so make sure to check the stone type before cleaning.

When cleaning pearls this way, bear in mind that you should only dip them in soapy water for short periods of time, leaving them submerged or scrubbing them vigorously can damage them, dry them with a soft cloth immediately after cleaning.


White vinegar is another DIY cleaning solution to help bring your gold and silver jewellery back to life.

Fill a small bowl with white vinegar and place your gold jewellery in it. Leave it submerged for no more than 20 minutes, then use a soft bristle brush to get at any stubborn grime. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. Do not exceed 20 minutes or the vinegar could damage your gold.

Your Silver pieces will need a little bit more than vinegar alone, dampen a cloth with vinegar and baking soda, then rub it onto the surface.

Never use vinegar on Gemstones or Pearls as it can damage them.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is probably the most commonly used eco-friendly cleaner for a variety of tasks in your home. It is great for cleaning jewellery too, especially if your pieces need a deeper clean.

Dampen a cloth, rub on some baking soda, then gently polish your silver with it. It can also be used on gold. Just sprinkle some baking soda onto the gold, gently rub it, leave for a few minutes then thoroughly wash it off.

To get into the crevices of detailed pieces or behind stones, create a thin paste with basking soda and a small amount of water. Use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush with the paste to get into even the smallest parts.

Baking soda is our preferred method of cleaning so we thought we would demonstrate it for you here.

Care and Storage

Always store your jewellery pieces so that they don’t rub together, scratch or tangle. Rather than storing them in a box, hanging necklaces can help avoid tangling. Also remember to keep your chains fastened so they don’t become tangled.

Silver jewellery should be kept in a dark, cool and dry place. With time and wear, sterling silver will naturally become oxidised and eventually tarnish making it look black. Storing silver jewellery in a sealed plastic bag or airtight box when it is not being worn will keep out the air that causes oxidation. 

Do not keep jewellery in direct sunlight as prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause many gemstones to fade and lose their colour. 

Silver is H2O sensitive, try to avoid submerging pieces in water because over time the Sterling Silver will oxidise. Also take care to avoid extreme humidity or heat as this may cause tarnishing.

Your jewellery is particularly susceptible to damage from the effects of chemicals present in perfume, hairspray, make-up, nail polish remover, body oils, sun tan lotion and deodorant. All of these can make pieces prematurely tarnish. 

If you are slightly allergic to your earrings, or get a rash or itchy reaction when wearing them, try switching to wearing solid gold jewellery or try putting a little bit of clear nail varnish on the post and butterfly. When it eventually wears off just re-apply it.

Tarnish and Cleaning

Silver jewellery should be kept in a dark, cool and dry place. With time and wear, sterling silver will naturally become oxidised and eventually tarnish making it look grey or black. It can be easily cleaned with a polishing cloth or dip cleaner,

Earrings can often react to your natural body chemistry making the posts appear black. This will not harm your skin.

If your pieces are in need of some cleaning, you can use a mild washing up liquid with warm water and a soft toothbrush, then rinse with clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth. Do not leave any piece of jewellery damp.

Even something as strong as solid 9ct solid gold deserves some loving. To maintain its beauty, scrub lightly with a soft toothbrush and warm water.

If you wear a lot of jewellery it is worth investing in a polishing cloth or liquid ‘dip’ cleaner for keeping your pieces shining for longer. Cleaning products for silver are readily available in larger supermarkets. Alternatively, check out our blog post on eco-friendly jewellery care for tips and techniques to make your jewellery bright and shiny again!

Sterling Silver

Silver is a soft metal that is easily scratched or tarnished.

As individuals we all have very different skin types which don't react in the same way to substances that it comes into contact with. The acids will vary in your skin which can affect the speed at which the silver will tarnish when it comes into contact with the natural oils of your skin.

Solid Gold

Solid gold is a precious metal that will not oxidise or discolour, since it is the least reactive metal. The 9ct alloy gives our pieces their beautiful, subtle hue. It is also an active lifestyle’s best friend; it scratches less and doesn't bend or wear out as easily as 18ct.

9ct gold is 37.5% pure gold, with other metals making up the other 62.5%. People often prefer to have a higher percentage of gold than this, as it makes the metal more precious, but 9ct is favoured by some as the high proportion of other metals makes it more hard-wearing. If you want a more long-lasting ring, and don't mind it being less 'pure', then 9ct is the choice for you.

Rose Gold is made of a beautiful mix of gold and copper - there is no such thing as 'pure rose gold' - 9ct rose gold contains 37.5% gold.

Over time, 9ct gold may dull from contact with detergents, moisturisers and other chemicals - ideally you would take the piece off as needed to protect it from such substances. If it does dull then even a quick buff with a soft cloth should brighten it up. 9ct Gold will eventually show scratches from every day wear and tear.


Freshwater Pearls are sensitive in nature, so don’t forget to treat them with love. Avoid direct contact with chemicals found in perfume or other cosmetics. DO NOT use ‘dip’ style jewellery cleaner on Pearl jewellery.

Always remember that your jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off when dressing.