Below are a series of headings and tips to help you keep your jewellery looking great.
Precious Metals: Silver, Gold, Platinum
Jewellery can be damaged in a number of different ways, by being knocked, coming into contact with harder metals and corrosive chemicals, through general wear and tear ( abrasion ). Precious metals are soft, they can bend and distort.
Metal jewellery will get dirty and can tarnish, loose its lustre with time even if its not worn.Tarnishing is a chemical change in the surface of the metal which darkens and dulls the surface. It will also scratch over time with wear. Scratches are permanent marks which can sometimes be removed by a professional jeweller.
Take off your jewellery when you go swimming, things come adrift in the water. The water shouldn't damage your piece if its made of metal and stones, but cold water will make bits of you shrink. Rings and bracelets become looser. All that splashing around could dislodge earrings and necklaces.
Take off your jewellery before you retire for the evening, necklaces and chains get twisted and kinked as you move around in the night, fine pieces can snap. Settings for stones can get bent.
Take off your rings when you are doing housework, gardening, heavy work and sports. Precious metals are soft and may distort if squeezed or twisted. The chemicals and abrasives we come into contact with can be powerful abrasives, acids and alkalines which could take the polish off your jewellery and mark the metal and stones.
Stones and settings can get clogged with gunk and grease. A top cleaning tip is to use a toothbrush, warm water and some domestic washing-up liquid or detergent and gently brush away the dirt. Dry with a soft cloth. Soaking for half an hour in warm water and detergent will loosen persistent grime. Toothpaste is an alternative when the grime is particularily persistent. It is a gentle abrasive, don't use on very soft stones ( Pearls, Lapis, Flourite, Coral ) or special metal finishes.
Don't use perfume near Pearls.
PRECIOUS METALS : SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM
Tarnishing tends to happen quickly on silver, changing from bright white, through yellow, then to brown and eventually black. Our skin chemistry can make the process happen within hours or days . Living in cities with air pollution can quicken tarnishing, as do some household chemicals.
There are several different ways to treat tarnish on Silver
Make sure you've removed any grease or gunk. Wash in warm water and detergent. Use a toothbrush to remove debris.
A jewellers polishing cloth is great for buffing a shiny surface. Don't use on matt finishes, as it will start to polish the metal.
A polishing paste on a soft cloth or use polishing paste with a toothbrush, then use a cloth to buff.
A dipping solution, ( Goddards silver dip for instance ) our recommended way of dealing with tarnished chains, fiddly bits and bobs. Just dip, wait a few minutes, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Don't use with pearls, coral, turquoise or lapis.
You can get these from good hardware shops or department stores and some high street jewellers.
There is also an old fashioned way to clean silver, good for special finishes, fine textures and whitened silver. Used originally for cleaning silver cutlery, its a great way to clean silver items in bulk.
You will need a piece of Aluminium foil, a handful of soda crystals, hot water and a glass ( pyrex, heat resistant ) bowl. Put the foil in the bowl and the Soda crystals onto it. Place the jewellery you want cleaned onto the crystals and poor hot water into the bowl. Watch as the preparation fizzes, in a few minutes the silver will be white. Rinse in clean cold water and dry. Don't use with pearls, opals ,coral , turquoise or lapis, they will start to dissolve. You can tip the solution down the drain safely after you've finished with it.
Whitened silver is a bright white mat finish, which we use a lot at Sian Evans. It is a transient finish. On surfaces that come into contact with other metals, abrasives, wear and tear, it will become more polished and silvery over time. Rings and bangles will polish to a shiny finish quite quickly. Earrings and pendants will keep their whiteness for longer. The white finish can tarnish to yellow or brown. To keep it bright, you can use silver dip or use the method above using Aluminium foil, warm water and Soda crystals . Don't use a cream polish or polishing cloth, it will remove the white bloom and polish the silver to a shine.
We can re whiten your jewellery professionally, please ask.
Blackened silver is a dark charcoal coloured finish. It is a transient finish which means that on surfaces that come into contact with other metals, abrasives and with wear and tear, it will become polished and develop a silvery finish. Rings and bangles will polish to a shiny finish quite quickly. Earrings and pendants will keep their oxidised finish for longer.
Don't use a cream polish or polishing cloth, it will remove the dark finish and polish the silver to a shine.
For the more experimental jewellery aficionado, you can re apply the dark finish at home by leaving your piece of jewellery overnight in a sealed container with an egg yolk. Equipment needed for this experiment is: A small plastic food container, an eggcup, one, preferably old egg yolk, broken and poured into the bottom of the container. Place your jewellery on the upturned eggcup in the container. Seal and leave over night. The egg yolk produces a sulphur compound which turns the metal a deep grey. This will only work on Silver.
We can re blacken jewellery for you professionally , please ask.
18ct, 22ct and 24ct Gold won't tarnish, but these are soft metals and do scratch. A professional polish and clean is recommended from time to time.
Lower carats will tarnish slowly. 9ct, 14ct golds have silver and copper added to the gold and will tarnish. Treat lower carats as silver.
Platinum does not tarnish, but will scratch and may need a professional polish from time to time.
We can refresh textures and finishes on gold and platinum. Please ask for details.
Gold Plate, Rhodium Plate , Black Ruthenium Plate.
Plating is a method of applying a thin layer of ( precious ) metal to the surface of another metal. The plating we use is very high quality. Our plated jewellery won't tarnish. It can scratch when in contact with other metals. To minimise scratching keep in the original box when not worn. Plated jewellery can wear over time, it can be replated to restore the original colour and can be re polished to remove scratches. Please ask for details.
To clean plated jewellery, wash in warm soapy water and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use abrasive cream polishes or cleaners.
Niobium is a rare metal and naturally grey. The bright colour we achieve is through using a process called anodising. The process creates a thin clear film on the surface of the metal which appears to be coloured as it refracts light, rather like the colours you see in petrol on the surface of a puddle. The colours will change slightly and dull if the metal is dirty or greasy. Wash with warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Do not use abrasives. Keep in original box when not worn to avoid scratching.