I’m frequently asked to recommend procedures for keeping Lisadora Slip-On Hoops nice and shiny bright, whether they are made of our special tarnish-resistant Sterling Silver, our rich Manganese Bronze, or our 18K Gold Heavy Overlay (plated over a Manganese Bronze hoop.)
I’m guessing that not many people understand about metal oxidation, outside of rusting iron, which most of us are familiar with. So here’s a little jargon about oxidation of jewelry metals to start with: Silver “tarnishes”, Copper “patinas”, Brass “antiques”.
All of these fancy words mean the same thing: Oxidation. Oxygen in the air binds with the elemental metal in the jewelry creating an “oxide” of that metal” Silver Oxide, Copper Oxide, etc. (Copper is the dominant metal in Bronzes and Brasses). Even 18K Gold contains Copper – 25% actually. So while pure Gold resists oxidation very well (it will oxidize but it takes a very long time), the copper content in Gold Alloys oxidizes very quickly, and is part of what makes some designs of gold jewelry look distinguished.
In any case, it’s important to clean your precious metal jewelry regularly, gently, and with products or procedures that don’t create scratches in the surfaces.
So I’ve been doing research, and testing products, and here are my recommendations.
Silver: For daily use as a buff-up to clean light tarnish before you wear your silver items – use a silver polishing cloth. These are usually made of microfiber material that is impregnated with a polishing creme. They are available at most stores that carry home cleaning products, such as: Goddard’s Silver Polishing Cloth from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, or Wright’s Silver Cream from the cleaning products department of most grocery or home stores. If you want to get fancy, Tiffany & Co sells Silver Polishing Mitts online for $15.
Bronze: Believe it or not, Bronze starts with the same procedures that are used on Sterling Silver, but then it needs to be washed.
- Wipe the bronze jewelry with a silver polish cloth.
- Apply some mild dish soap onto the bronze jewelry and gently rub it with your fingers.
- Hold the jewelry under running water to rinse the soap off.
- Gently wipe the water off of the bronze jewelry and dry it using a soft clean dish cloth.
DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT use Brass Polishing Creams on your Bronze Jewelry. The creme contains abrasives that will permanently scratch the surfaces of your delicate jewelry.
18K Gold: Clean your gold jewelry with soap and water. Fill a small bowl with warm – not hot – water and a few drops of a mild dish soap. Place your jewelry in the soap and water mixture, and allow the pieces to soak for about 20 minutes. Remove, rinse well, and then dry with a soft clean dish cloth.
All metals accumulate oxides into nooks and crannies where the polishing cloths can’t reach, and over time even the surfaces will accumulate oxidation that the cloths can’t remove, so once a month, or at least every 6 months, the jewelry needs a bath in a professional-grade cleaning solution. You can take your jewelry items to your local jewelry store where they will pop it into their ultrasonic cleaning machine (most offer free cleaning service while-you-wait) or you can do the job at home if you have the proper products.
There are many recipes for home-made jewelry cleaning pastes and solutions, but we’ve had the best and most reliable results from the easily available commercial preparations. It’s all the same liquid but packaged and marketed under various names.
Here is our favorite:
For Silver, Bronze, and Gold: Connoisseurs Jewelry Cleaner for about $4.99 and available at most grocery stores in the household cleaning products section. It comes in a red plastic jar with a stemmed basket inside. Put your jewelry in the basket, lower the basket into the cleaner, grasp the basket stem and twist it back and forth so the jewelry swirls around in the cleaner for about 30 secs to a minute. Do be careful to protect your hands, eyes and clothing as the acids that remove the tarnish are hard on your skin and clothing and may burn your eyes if you splash. As an alternative you can screw the lid on and then gently swirl the entire jar. Then remove the lid, lift out the basket containing the jewelry and hold it under cool running water for a couple of minutes to rinse off any adhering cleaner. Drain, and dry with a soft clean dish towel.
Be careful not to put “antiqued” jewelry into these liquid cleaners! “Antiquing” is actually strategically designed oxidation and the cleaners will remove it. Only use a soft cleaning cloth with surface polishing cream, or just mild soapy water on your deliberately antiqued jewelry for best results.
Your Lisadora Slip-On Hoops are made with longevity in mind, so do take the time to keep them clean with proper procedures and recommended products and you’ll have jewelry that will not only last a lifetime, but will look as beautiful as the day you received it.
Got questions about cleaning any of your Lisadora Jewelry items? Drop us a line at: Lisadora@Lisadora.com and ask away!
Or drop into our web site and see the wonderful things we have to adorn your ears: WWW.LISADORA.COM