No matter what kind of jewelry you have, it looks better when it is clean. Be sure your method of cleaning enhances instead of harming your jewelry. You can clean most pieces with water and a little dish soap and a soft cloth, but tarnished sterling and pure gold need a little extra help.
Begin by finding the proper storage of your jewelry whether the pieces are costume, fashion, or fine jewelry. Keep each piece separate from each other in either a lined jewelry box or soft bag. The separation prevents inadvertent scratches or tangling. Do not store in plastic. Moisture can accumulate and in some instances the plastic can interact with costume jewelry causing discoloration.
Avoid soaking any costume or fashion jewelry. The excess water can dissolve glue allowing stones to fall out. Soaking pearls can cause the string to swell. Do not hang your faux or real pearls to store. The string can stretch, leaving gaps between the pearls. Dampen a soft cloth and lightly rub over the pearls after wearing. Never use chemical cleaners that affect the finishes on costume or fashion pieces. Brighton sells small bottles of “cleaner” to be used to dip the jewelry into. Promptly remove and wipe clean.
Tarnished sterling jewelry can be restored by using reputable liquid or cloth silver cleaner with a tarnish retardant. Use of a little baking soda and water can remove tarnish, but doesn’t retard the tarnishing. You can soak your fine gold pieces in sudsy water with a little seltzer to help dislodge dirt around gemstones. A toothpaste (not gel) can also be used with a soft brush to clean gold.
Nancy Pride owns Morgan Fitzgerald’s and Merle Norman located at 3800 S. Texas Avenue, one mile north of University Drive. 979 268 0608, www.fitzyou.com