Why does jewellery tarnish?
I promise I won't bore you with the science behind why your jewellery tarnishes, but just know that it is a completely natural chemical reaction that takes place when silver comes into contact with oxygen. Sterling silver (and lower carats of gold) have a small amount of copper added into the metal for hardness. Without the copper, raw silver is too soft to wear as jewellery, but it is the copper that reacts to the oxygen and therefore creates the tarnished and oxidised coating on your favourite silver treasures. Even though this is an inevitable process, there are a few way you can prevent it or slow it down!
1. Store your jewellery in an airtight container
I know, I know... it's not as luxurious as storing it in your favourite jewellery box, but trust me, this is the ultimate way of keeping you jewellery tarnish-free! I always wrap my jewellery up in tissue paper and store in a sealed plastic bag in between markets and events and it keeps my jewellery good as new for up to 4 months!
2. Remove your jewellery during exercise and swimming
Sweat can speed up the chemical reaction, so removing your jewellery whilst engaging in intense workouts will help keep your jewels shiny. Your jewellery is also more likely to be damaged or scratched during a workout, so it's best to keep a small pouch or container in your bag to store your jewellery in when heading to the gym!
3. Avoid harsh chemicals and beauty products
The chemicals in bleach and many other cleaning products (even hand soap!) can also speed up the oxidisation process. Not only that, it can also really harm the stones in your jewellery, especially any softer stones like Turquoise, Pearls or Amber, so try to always remove your jewellery before starting any household chores and your evening beauty routine.
4. Clean your jewellery regularly
There are so many quick and easy ways to clean your jewellery from home, but this is my personal favourite method: 1. Fill a bowl of warm soapy water (fairy liquid is my go-to!) and leave your silver jewellery to sit in the water for about half an hour. 2. Use an old or children's toothbrush with a dollop of fairy liquid and gently scrub the jewellery in small circular motions until the tarnish has gone. The tarnish will gradually disappear, leaving your jewellery good as new (be extra careful with pearls and other soft stones!). You can do this once a month, but if you follow the previous steps, you shouldn't have to do it at all.
5. Wear your jewellery!
Don't be afraid to wear your jewellery, as this will actually keep it polished for longer! The friction of everyday keeps your jewels super shiny and glistening. That is why your everyday treasures are so shiny compared to the ones that have been sat in a box.
Work with Josie
Transform your unworn jewellery
"From start to finish the process was so easy; Josie is so nice to chat to and I’d been following her work for years so I felt sure she would create something amazing. She took an unworn but very much loved ring of my grandmother’s and turned it into something I wear every day and will treasure always. She really listened to what I said was most important and I felt a part of the journey, seeing initial sketches and photos of the process. Would highly recommend Josie to anyone looking to create a really special piece of jewellery. The ring is now my favourite thing I own."- Rosie.