Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewellery
Has your sterling silver jewellery tarnished or lost its sparkle? I’ve been there myself so I know how you feel! Luckily this can be sorted with a little bit of care for your silver jewellery and knowing how to clean your silver jewellery.
WHY CLEANING STERLING SILVER IS IMPORTANT
Before cleaning silver jewellery, it’s important to know why sterling silver tarnishes. Since pure .999 silver is too soft and malleable to craft jewellery from, the most common form of silver jewellery is sterling silver which is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy metals like copper (which is where the term 925 silver comes from). This is because pure silver can easily be scratched and damaged when worn as jewellery. However the alloy metals in sterling silver jewellery can cause your pieces of jewellery to tarnish over time due to its reaction with sulphur in the air and other day to day factors.
Another factor to consider is whether or not your silver jewellery is plain silver, or set with gemstones as both require slightly different treatment depending on the gemstone. Here we will go into both…
Cleaning Plain Silver Jewellery
The fastest and most efficient way of cleaning plain silver jewellery would be to use a specially formulated and trust-able silver jewellery cleaner. At Argemti, we use Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner to clean our plain silver jewellery. However it is obviously possible to clean silver jewellery without using this product though it will take a little more time and effort. We will go through our preferred method in just a sec. If you are using a silver jewellery cleaner, it is very important that you read the instructions carefully as they can vary product to product.
If you are using Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner, then just follow the instructions below…
USING A JEWELLERY CLEANER
Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner
If you are cleaning oxidised silver jewellery, we would actually recommend not using this product as it can remove the oxidisation and ruin the effect it creates on your jewellery. You are much better using the soapy room temperature water method which we will go through below…
- Unscrew the lid from your Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner and remove the film.
- Place your sterling silver jewellery inside the dip tray and submerge the jewellery for no longer than 10 seconds
- Remove the jewellery from the solution, you can gently use the soft bristle brush provided or an old toothbrush to remove dirt in those hard to reach areas.
- Rinse your jewellery under warm water to remove the residue of the Silver Jewellery Cleaner.
- Gently dab your jewellery dry with a soft or microfiber cloth so as not to scratch your jewellery.
- Give your jewellery a wipe over with a polishing cloth to bring out its natural shine (Connoisseurs Ultrasoft Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth is perfect for this as it leave a protective anti-tarnish layer and gives jewellery a professional sparkle.)
Cleaning Silver Jewellery Set With Gemstones
Before cleaning gemstone set silver jewellery, it is important to know which gemstone it is that you are cleaning. Different gemstones have different properties and what works for one may be horribly damaging to another. Some gemstones can crack or damage under drastic temperature changes so as a general rule of thumb, room temperature water is always best when cleaning gemstone jewellery. It’s also worth noting that the Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery is not recommended for use with gemstones other than cubic zirconia. For cleaning silver jewellery set with gemstones it is much better to use Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner. For more information on cleaning gemstone jewellery please visit our Cleaning Gemstone Jewellery guide.
NOT USING A JEWELLERY CLEANER? NO PROBLEM
Warm Water & Mild Washing Up Liquid
Of course you do not need to use these products to clean jewellery like a professional. Using room temperature water with a very mild detergent is perfectly fine to clean silver jewellery with and works whether the jewellery is set with gemstones or not. Though it does take quite a bit longer. If you prefer to use this method, then just follow these steps…
- Fill up a bowl of warm water and add one small drop of a very mild detergent.
- Place your jewellery inside the soapy water and let it soak for around 20-30 minutes
- Remove the jewellery from the water and use a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush to remove the leftover dirt and reach those hard to reach areas
- To dry, gently dab your jewellery with a lint free cloth to make sure it does not get scratched
- Give the jewellery a quick polish to bring back its shine (Connoisseurs Silver Polishing Cloth is perfect for this as it leave a protective layer that prevents new tarnish)
WHAT NOT TO DO…
Stay Away From:
Toothpaste is another novel cleaning method we recommend staying clear of as the chemicals inside can strip away the metals of your jewellery over time and leave it looking dull.
PLEASE NEVER USE BLEACH OR HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS ON YOUR JEWELLERY. These types of cleaners are a surefire way to ruin your jewellery in no time and should be avoided at all costs.