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Preventing Jewellery Tarnishing

tarnished silver earrings on white background
tarnished silver earrings on white background

How To Stop Jewellery Tarnishing

Looking for ways to prevent jewellery tarnishing or just general best practices to keep jewellery in fine condition? This jewellery care guide is designed specifically for you!

Why Jewellery Tarnishes

Firstly it is important to understand why jewellery tarnishes. Precious metals like gold and silver are generally too soft and malleable to craft jewellery from. Day to day wearing of pure gold and silver can also easily lead to scratches and damage to the piece of jewellery that you paid so much for. Instead it is alloyed with metals like copper and zinc. For example sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure .999 silver and 7.5% alloy metals. 9 karat gold is made up of 37.5% pure .999 gold and 62.5% alloy metals and so on. This is actually why the “925” and “375” stamps are used in the hallmarks of these metals, to say that there is at least that percentage of the precious metal described in the piece of jewellery. (Learn more about this in our Hallmarking Guide.)

The alloy metals used in the creation of jewellery can react with sulphur in the air and a number of other day to day factors which people are exposed to everyday. So how to prevent jewellery tarnishing?

How To Prevent Jewellery Tarnishing Or Getting Damaged

silver tanzanite eternity ring being cleaned with jewellery care leaflet in the background

As with anything, over time jewellery can lose its radiance and sparkle due to day to day things. Things like soaps, perfume, cosmetics and a whole range of other factors have a negative effect on your jewellery and leave it looking dull and lifeless.

As a general rule of thumb, when putting on or taking off your jewellery it’s “last on, first off”. This basically means that it is best practice to have your jewellery as the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. It is recommended that you should always use any cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes, lotions or hairspray before putting on your jewellery to help avoid getting your jewellery covered in them as the chemicals inside can cause jewellery to tarnish.

It is also advisable to take your jewellery off before going to bed or before doing any activities or sports that may cause jewellery to get damaged. Another reason is because perspiration can in fact speed up the process of tarnishing precious metal jewellery.

blue water
Photo by Matthias Cooper on Pexels.com

Wearing your jewellery in the pool is another way your jewellery can be damaged. Chlorine is an arch nemesis of gold and silver as chlorine can actually weaken the structure of the metal which makes it more susceptible to breaks and severe damage down the line.

Following on from swimming pools is another one that we have all been guilty of at one time or another. Wearing jewellery to the beach. Sad for us jewellery lovers, I know. But in truth there are 2 very good reasons for this…

The first is that the saltwater of the sea can actually erode softer precious metals like gold, silver making them more likely to be damaged further down the line. This is especially fatal for areas of the jewellery which have been soldered.

Secondly, you know how you can’t help but end up covered in sand when you’re on the beach? Well sand actually has the potential to scratch your precious metal jewellery, especially if you’re trying to rub it off. The last thing anybody wants is for their treasured piece of jewellery to end up full of scratches. This unfortunately, is especially true if your jewellery is set with delicate stones like pearls or opals which is upsetting because pearls look awesome on the beach!

If your jewellery does by chance get damaged, it’s very possible that it can be restored by a professional jeweller. It is not always best to try repairs yourself unless you are trained or have the knowledge to do so. By trying to repair your jewellery yourself, you risk damaging it even more to the point that it is beyond repair or not worth the cost of repair which would be absolutely gutting.

If your jewellery gets tarnished on the other hand, you will likely be able to remove it yourself at home. See our jewellery cleaning guides for advice and tips on how to clean jewellery

Want To Know More?

If you’re still unsure about how to store jewellery safely then we are happy to provide extra support and advice! Please use the contact form below for any questions, problems or friendly advice and get a reply from our dedicated team within 24 hours!


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