Have you ever noticed a slight change in the gleam of your favourite jewellery piece?
Tarnish, a common concern for jewellery lovers, is a very natural occurrence that's influenced by various factors.
Understanding the why behind tarnish can help you care for your jewellery and keep it looking it's best for years to come.
The Top Culprits: Moisture, Chemicals and the oils in our Skin 💅
If you're the kind of person to pop your jewellery on, and leave it on. Then the first two are your likely culprits. But here's a quick list of some of the many reasons your jewellery might tarnish;
☁️ your jewellery has contact with everyday items like lotions, soaps and perfumes, shampoos etc
☁️ has had contact with any household products, ie cleaning, laundry, foods and not been washed and dried afterwards
☁️ has had exposure to a humid environment
☁️ prolonged exposure sitting on a surface and not being worn
☁️ the natural oils from your skin, often related to high PH
☁️ continuous exposure to water without being dried afterwards
All of the above scenarios can quickly lead to the build up of a thin layer of discolouration on the surface, dulling the overall look of the piece - this is tarnish.
side note - It's important to mention that tarnish on the jewellery is different to your skin having a reaction ie the piece is leaving a green mark on your skin that's irritated and itchy.
If you're experiencing this, you should stop wearing the jewellery immediately to avoid further irritation to your skin.
Prevention is Key: Storage Matters
The great news is there are simple steps you can take to keep tarnish at bay.
💫 Storing your jewellery in a dry place, away from bathrooms, plants or areas with high humidity can make a significant difference
💫 Avoid storing your jewellery in any boxes that have been constructed using glue, as it quickly causes tarnish. Yes, this probably includes the box your piece came in
My top tier storage suggestion
Keep an eye out for ceramic or glass trinket boxes when at markets or op shops. They look divine, add a little bit of luxe to your bedside and tick all the boxes.
When I don't have one of them on hand I store my pieces in a xs ziplock bag with an anti-tarnish tab.
A Little TLC Goes a Long Way
Super simple question - You clean your clothes, so why not your jewellery?
Regularly cleaning your pieces to remove any accumulated dirt or product buildup makes the world of difference for keeping your jewellery looking stunning.
My favourite tools for a quick clean;-
- soft toothbrush
- bowl of warm water
- non-citrus dishwashing liquid
Allow your piece to soak in the water for a few minutes, before giving it a gentle scrub with the brush and detergent. Afterwards give it a clean rinse and gentle towel dry.
Tarnish may be a part of the jewellery journey, but armed with knowledge and a touch of preventive care, you can enjoy your pieces for years to come.
Tarnish and Gold filled jewellery 💫
Whilst a super appealing marketing point of Gold Filled jewellery is to say "tarnish resistant" and the outer gold portion of the jewellery fully is - I feel a huge responsibility as an ethical business owner and jeweller to gently remind people that sometimes any exposed silver bits, ie on jumpring's or inner sides of a necklace/bracelet clasp, will likely tarnish over time as the base of these pieces is sterling silver or brass, and that's what silver does naturally.
This doesn't detract from the quality of gold filled. It's just a part of owning it. If this is something that's unappealing to you, you can always talk to your jeweller about the possibility of upgrading your findings to solid gold -- or go all out and invest in solid gold pieces only!
I hope you find this guide simple to understand and helpful! As always, If you have any feedback or questions feel free to pop them below in a comment.