Saturday, January 30, 2010

Keep that jewelry nice!

When I was new to Etsy, I remember someone giving me a rather nasty critique in a convo (that's Etsy talk for conversations): It said, "Well, your stuff is ok, but plated? no one wants plated.. people want to buy sterling silver or real gold, at the very least, gold-filled. Can't say how you'll do, but change your metals, and you'll do better."

Yeah, bummer, but I wasn't discouraged. For one thing, I make what I like. And another, I make fashion jewelry (using a lot of plated metals, although I do, on occasion, use sterling and gold), because you can buy without feeling guilty. And yes, I know, they say that jewelry purchase is an impulse purchase, but nowadays, no one can really afford to be impulsive. You have to shop smart.

I realized that a lot of people don't really know how to care for their fashion jewelry. Tarnishing is a real thing, but it can be avoided or at the very least, slowed. I've put together "tips" on how to keep your fashion jewelry looking like new.  I'm still updating it, please feel free to comment and add your own advice.

Fashion and Costume Jewelry
Care Instructions

No matter how high the quality, fashion and costume jewelry requires handling with care in order to remain in great condition. Even the finest jewelry in precious metals will tarnish over time. The following tips will help preserve your purchase.
  • Jewelry should be put on last and taken off first when dressing. Take off your ring or even your bracelet when washing your hands.
  • Avoid contact with perfume, hair spray, deodorant, household cleaning fluids, and other chemicals.
  • Cleaning: Avoid using commercial jewelry cleaners, as these can be abrasive. If you need to clean the jewelry (one that has no freshwater pearls or other organic components), you can use a soft cloth, dipped in mild detergent with water, and rub/clean your item gently, and dry with another soft cloth. Do not immerse the jewelry in water. Dry carefully and completely.
  • Storing: Always store in cool and dry place. I suggest using air-tight containers, like zip bags (ZipLock) since the chemicals in the air is the leading cause of tarnishing. (This does not apply to freshwater pearls!)
For jewelry with cultured, freshwater pears and other organic components, you can clean them the same way as other fashion jewelry, but do not store in air-tight containers. You should wrap these in cloth instead. Pearls need the moisture in the air to hold on to their luster and prevent cracking.
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