Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Clean Jewelry

You might think that the life of a jewelry artist is very glamorous with everyone clamoring to own your artistic creations.  But let me tell you, the grim reality is that it's not all shops, shows and parties.  Every time I remove jewelry from a store or have a pair of earrings that just won't sell, I have to clean them.  When I first realized this, it was a frustrating revelation and I sometimes just skipped it.  But when you're at a show and the sun is shining brightly on your earrings and there's a brown/gold cast to that sterling silver, people notice it and back away slowly, not making eye contact.

Let me school you in the nitty-gritty behind the limelight, Jewelry Artists have to regularly clean the jewelry that they sell or it doesn't sell.  Sometimes, the only reason I have clearance sales is because I don't want to clean my jewelry~

I've found some game-changing products that have made that chore not so chore-ish.

The first product that I use to clean my jewelry is a Sunshine Polishing Cloth.  These are great for a quick clean-up and I use them when I'm refreshing my stock at shops.  According to the website, these are "non-staining and easy-to-use cloths to remove tarnish from sterling silver, gold, brass, copper, glass, mirrors and most other surfaces, leaving a deep, long-lasting luster."

The only downside is that, though the tarnish is removed, the silver is not so sparkly after polishing.  If you don't mind that, you can get one for yourself RIGHT HERE:

I have jewelry in a coffee shop and it's amazing how quickly it gets tarnished.  (It even kind of smells like coffee when I remove it, but that's probably more than you needed to know.)   Instead of a quick swipe with my sunshine cloth, I soak the jewelry in Sunshine Jewelry Cleaner.  It's a pink, soapy liquid that comes with a little brush to get to the stubborn stains.

Here's how their site touts it:
4oz Jewelry Cleaner Feature:Made in the U.S.A.
4oz Jewelry Cleaner Feature:All Natural
4oz Jewelry Cleaner Feature:No ammonia, acids or alcohol
4oz Jewelry Cleaner Feature:Biodegradable; environmentally friendly

I use the container with a little basket so you can dump a bunch of jewelry in and leave it for an hour or so, then pull it out to rinse it off and not even get your hands sticky!  It's a little pricey, but if you're just cleaning your own jewelry it will last a long time.   Get your own HERE!

Most of the time, the jewelry is sparkly and the tarnish is gone.  When the tarnish is really stubborn, like on the aforementioned coffee shop jewelry, I use a polishing cream.

I like JewelBrite Polishing Cream best.  The site looks to be in transition right now so I'll provide a link later to the specific product that I use.  This polishing cream was my savior as far as jewelry cleaning goes.  You can use it on most stones and metals and it's biodegradable. Before I found this, I was trying the aluminum foil and baking soda method which mostly didn't work and was time-consuming and messy.

The best way to use the polishing cream is to dampen a wash cloth, swipe some cream on, polish then rinse.  It's great for chains because you can simply pull the chain through the cloth several times.

The Jewel-Brite polishing cream is also kind of expensive, but again, if you're only cleaning your own jewelry, the 2 oz. container should last a long time.  If it dries out, just add water.  Really good stuff!

So, now you know one of the ugly truths of being a jewelry artist.  But, thanks to these products, I can quickly get through it with very little headache and move along to the Beautiful Life~