Jewellery Care

Silver Jewellery

Silver jArgenteus Silver Cleaning Clothewellery needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. It may turn a darker colour or evern completely black when exposed to perspiration and the atmosphere. This is a natural process and is not a sign that the item is of an inferior quality alloy. All sterling silver has to contain at least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% is often copper or a similar metal that may react differently in different circumstances. It is usually this part of the alloy that gives the item a slightly yellow colour if it is not regularly cleaned.This is also why you may have some silver jewellery that does not react with your skin and some that does. It has been suggested that the diet can also influence this process. Gold and platinum is not as reactive as silver but still does need to be checked and maintained on a regular basis.

If an item of jewellery is really dirty then professional cleaning will be necessary using an ultrasonic cleaner with cleaning solutions and/or special buffing wheels.

Polished finishes

This is for jewellery with a normal plain shiny finish. Most stone set jewellery is fine to be cleaned in the following ways, except where highlighted;

Argenteus Silver Cloth (as shown above) - use for light tarnish. Keep one handy and give jewellery a quick polish before putting the item on.  Argenteus silver polishing cloths are available in our online store.  Click here to purchase one now.

Silver Wadding - Available in most supermarkets and hardware stores.  Great for medium tarnish, fingerprints, etc. Wear gloves as it can be messy . Use a silver cloth to give jewellery a final polish.

Silver Dip - Available in some supermarkets, hardware stores and jewellers.  Use for awkward shapes or badly tarnished items. Do not use on Blue John, turquoise, lapis, pearls, amber or any other stones that you are not sure about. Rinse dipped item thoroughly (until squeaky clean) and dry as much as possible with a towel. Leave the item in a warm dry place until it is completely dry - some hollow items may still be wet inside after several hours. Use a silver cloth to give it a final polish.

Textured finishes

There are several different types of decorative finish that can be applied to silver and gold jewellery. The main ones are :

Scratch finish - fine random scratching across the surface forming a pattern.

Chemically etched finish - 'white powdery' finish on the surface of the jewellery forming a matt finish.

Brush finish - similar finish to chemically etched, but done using a high-speed fine wire rotary brush which makes tiny pits on the surface on the jewellery. There are no scratches to be seen.

Diamond drill finish - extension of the above but using a diamond tip drill to gouge the surface of the jewellery.

It is very important to clean these types of finishes carefully. Vigorous rubbing with a silver cloth can either wear the pattern away and/or make the finish even grubbier. Do not use a silver cloth as this uses a fine powder to clean the item and will ultimately poilsh it to a shine.

Silver Foam Cleaner is good for textured finish jewellery. It is a reddish paste which is worked into the jewellery using a small soft wetted toothbrush. It helps 'lift' the dirt to the surface. The jewellery is then thoroughly rinsed with warm clean water. Do not use on Blue John, turquoise, lapis, pearls, amber or any other stones that you are not sure about. It can be messy so protect clothes from splashes and wear rubber gloves. Dry item carefully and thoroughly.

Silver Dip can be used with any of the above finishes, but the item must be rinsed really well. Do not use on Blue John, turquoise, lapis, pearls, amber or any other stones which you are not sure about. Dry item carefully and thoroughly.

A good wash with warm soapy (washing-up liquid) water and a very soft toothbrush works well with any of the above finishes. Dry item carefully and thoroughly.

Silver Plated items

Any silver plated items will need a very gentle clean with either a silver cloth, or a wash in warm soapy water. As with any jewellery make sure the item is thoroughly dry before storing. Be gentle as plating will eventually wear off.

Gold Plating and Other Miscellaneous Finishes

Different types of finishes found at Argenteus;

Gold plating - a fine layer of gold which has been electroplated onto the item. This layer can be quite fine or quite deep

Gold layer - a fine sheet of gold is placed on top of the item, cut into shape and then soldered in place. The item is then polished smooth. Gold layer is more substantial than plating.

Rhodium finish -a fine layer of rhodium is electroplated onto the item. Rhodium is very bright and shiny like highly polished silver. It is often used to give a 'clean colour' to white gold and to some silver jewellery.

Palladium/Ruthenium finish - a layer of palladium or ruthenium is laid into (or onto) the item to form a pattern.

Titanium jewellery with inlays - a layer of gold or silver has been laid into the titanium to form a pattern.

It is very important to clean these types of finishes carefully - vigorous rubbing with a silver cloth will eventually wear the silver/gold/rhodium/palladium or ruthenium away. Do not use a silver cloth.

For plated items with a textured finish, clean using either a silver dip type product (available in most supermarkets and jewellers) and wash thoroughly. Dry using a soft towel and leave it to dry in a warm atmosphere.

Titanium, palladium, ruthenium are not reactive metals and do not need cleaning.

A good wash with warm soapy (washing-up liquid) water and a very soft toothbrush works well with any of the above finishes. Dry item carefully and thoroughly.

Maintenance Information

Amber stones - Wash thoroughly in luke warm soapy water. Finish using a soft clean cloth dipped in a tiny amount of olive or linseed oil. Carefully wipe off any residue.

Re-matting scratch finish jewellery - You will need either fine grade wire wool or Scotchbrite. The jewellery to be refinished should be dry and clean. Any area's which you do not want refinishing should be sellotaped off. With the wool, firmly and smoothly rub it across the surface in the direction you want to go. You may have to do this several times to get the entire surface scratched. Be careful going over any stones as you can damage them if you rub too vigorously. Warning - constant finishing using wire wool over time will start to wear the metal away so it is not something that should be done every day.

ONLY UNDERTAKE THIS IF YOU ARE SURE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING, OTHERWISE ASK FOR A DEMONSTRATION FROM A PROFESSIONAL JEWELLER. WE CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY MISTAKES MADE.

Oxidised finish - A good wash with warm soapy (washing-up liquid) water and a very soft toothbrush works well. Dry item carefully and thoroughly. We do not recommend using silver dip type products as it may remove some of the oxidisation.

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