|Basic Costume Jewelry Care And Cleaning
By: Kim Wutzke
Costume jewelry. Can you say hot, hot, Hot! The perfect solution to keeping up with fashion trends, making your own personal statement and pulling your great new outfit together is costume jewelry. Ranging in price from very expensive to really cheap, costume jewelry fits every ones budget and style. Whether you are an antique costume jewelry collector or a just a woman with great taste in fashion why not take a few precautions to extend the life of your jewelry? Maybe your favorite necklace of today is tomorrows antique collectable, so we have listed a few basic tips for care and cleaning of costume jewelry. I must admit while doing research for this article I ran across a lot of conflicting information. This article is a combination of that information taking the safest suggestions to present to you.
Without doubt all information I located agreed that abrasives and moisture are the most common culprits of deterioration of costume jewelry. Costume jewelry is most often produced with non-precious metals, usually gold or silver plated, and with or without beads of varying types. These metals tarnish as a result of oxidation of plated jewelry exposed to certain elements such as sulfur, oxygen and certain acids.
- Remove jewelry before showering or bathing, grooming and before doing any type of household chores such as washing dishes. Believe it or not chemicals can be very abrasive and ruin the finish of costume jewelry. Be especially careful of chlorine bleach, window cleaner, oven cleaners and bathroom cleaners. When you get ready in the morning don't put your jewelry on until the very last thing before you begin your day. If you have bathed or showered be sure your skin is dry. Water and personal care products can tarnish and dull the finish of your jewelry including hair spray, cosmetics, skin care products and perfume.
- To keep your costume jewelry sparkling, clean your costume jewelry in a mild, PH balanced soap diluted with water such as a PH balanced shampoo like "Orvus". Thoroughly dry your jewelry after exposure to water by patting gently with a soft, lint free cloth and letting it air dry completely. Store your costume jewelry in a dry container with anti-tarnish paper.
- Always dry your jewelry after exposure to water. Pat with a soft cloth not a paper towel or cotton balls. Paper towels are too abrasive and cotton gets caught in the tiny tinges holding in gem stones which could eventually pull them loose.
- When storing your jewelry be sure they are separated or stored in soft pouches. Just going through your jewelry box looking for the perfect piece to wear causes damage. The rubbing and moving against metal, glass beads and stones dulls their finish and can scratch their surfaces.
- Skin discoloration is commonly caused by metallic abrasion from make-up on skin or clothing. Some cosmetics contain compounds harder than the jewelry. These compounds can rub tiny particles against the metal causing very fine black dust. When this dust comes into contact with Absorbent surfaces, such as your skin or clothing, making contact with this dust forms a black smudge.
- Another cause of skin discoloration is corrosion of the metal. The elements gold and silver do not corrode, but alloys of silver and copper will, forming dark chemical compounds under damp conditions. This is especially true under humid conditions and can also occur in costal areas when salty air and perspiration combine and become corrosive.
- Read labels of commercial jewelry cleaning products carefully before using. Make sure they specifically say they are safe for costume jewelry and be sure they do not contain ammonia, vinegar, acid or alcohol. Many everyday substances are too harsh for such delicate materials. If your piece contains pearls or gem stones, be sure that the cleaner indicates that it will not harm them.
- Do keep your jewelry away from dust and dirt as much as possible.
- Baking soda and toothpastes are too abrasive for cleaning your costume jewelry.
- Pearls are special and require special care of their porous texture. Pearls are meant to be worn and wearing them is great for them too. The oil from your skin help prevent pearls from drying out and loosing their luster. Never store pearls in plastic bags, Only use a soft cloth jewelry bag for storage, plastic wrap or bags are a big no-no!
- The porous texture of semi-precious stones, precious stones and some beads are made of minerals that can crack or chip easily. Needless to say, try not to hit them or knock them into rough or hard surfaces when you are wearing them. Also avoid spas and saunas or any other high temperature activities. The protective outer layer of these stones can be weakened or discolored by chlorine (like in the pool), salt water and any other chemical substance.
Some of the conflicting information I found includes:
* The use of polishing clothes.
* Storing costume jewelry in plastic bags.
* Using toothbrushes to clean jewelry.
I do recommend avoiding these practices.
I hope you find this information useful in keeping your jewelry in pristine condition to be enjoyed for years to come.
About the Author: Kim writes for and ownes http://www.cabinfevergifts.com.