About this time last year I put a slip of paper with the words “Beautify, Simplify, Tend” on the little antique altar in my bedroom. Over the course of this year, slowly but surely, I've been excavating room by room, drawer by drawer, bookshelf by bookshelf the things we really need, love and that bring joy to me and my family. All the rest has been kindly escorted out of the house and it seems to be making the “tending” part of the equation actually possible.
I do admit it hasn't really been my strength, the tending. I'm quick “onto the next thing” before I've dealt with what just happened and am most guilty of not putting things back where they belong. I see now how vital good tending is.
In honor of this theme I thought I'd share some pointers on the care and tending of your jewelry...
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper or other metal alloys. This is where the tarnish comes in.
Why does silver tarnish?
Tarnish is a dulling which naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air. Most people think silver tarnishes due to oxidation. But, chemically speaking, silver is not very reactive—it does not react with oxygen or water at normal temperatures. However, other metals in the alloy, usually copper, may react with oxygen in the air.
Care should be taken to avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.
The best way to keep your silver jewelry clean is by wearing it often. However, humidity and storing the silver can tarnish the piece, also known as oxidation, which will give the silver a darkened blackish color. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible.
Liquid or Cream Silver Cleaner:
Making sure to gently clean your piece with mild dish detergent first, then simply dip your piece in a shallow dish of silver cleaner and swish. Avoid pearls or stones by using a Q-tip instead of immersing the piece in the liquid. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Plastic Zip Lock bags:
Storing your clean, dry and untarnished sterling pieces in zip lock bags is a very effective way to keep your pieces tarnish free.
A silver polishing cloth formulated specifically to remove tarnish is effective in cleaning silver jewelry. Sunshine Cloth is a great one.
Aluminum Foil Method:
Fill a bowl or jar halfway with hot water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the bowl or a little more, depending on the size of the bowl. Mix the salt until it dissolves. Add a few strips of aluminum foil to the bowl. Add the silver jewelry to the bowl. Stir it around and let it sit for a few minutes. The aluminum foil interacts with the salt and removes the tarnish off the silver. Rinse the jewelry with water. This process may need to be repeated a few times, but it is very effective in restoring your silver jewelry to its original shine.
What is vermeil anyway and how we make ours nickel free?
The word "vermeil" is a French word which came into use in the English language, mostly in America, in the 19th century as an alternative for the usual term silver-gilt. It is a very heavy plating of 14k gold over sterling silver (not other base metals).
Typically a plate of nickel is put on first to create a barrier between the sterling and gold which prevents tarnishing to come through the outer surface of the gold. In our studio we decided to use Palladium instead to create nickel-free pieces. Palladium is fine white-grey metal similar in value as gold. It does not tarnish and is used more and more today in fine jewelry in the United States as an alternative to white gold or platinum.
The best way to care for it?
Gently clean your gold vermeil jewelry with a soft polishing cloth. As with all fine things in life, you should take care to protect your jewelry and always store separately, taking care not to drop, bash or scratch.
The best way to clean your gold jewelry is by using a solution of warm water and mild dish soap with a soft-bristled toothbrush or soft cloth. Gently, but thoroughly, brush your gold jewelry with the solution. Then, rinse the item(s) under lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean your jewelry, as this can cause scratches and reduce the gold's luster.
When your gold jewelry is not being worn, store items in a soft pouch or separate compartment of your jewelry box.
Let us do it for you!
We are happy to clean and re matte your piece for you at any point!
Simply package your piece in a small jewelry box then place in a bubble envelope and ship to the address below, if you ship USPS with a delivery confirmation it will likely ship under $2.50.
InBloom Studio: 6801 Maryland Ave. Braddock Heights, MD 21714