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Jewelry Care Tips to Make Your Jewelry Last a Lifetime

A display of Zink Metals one-of-a-kind steel necklaces and earrings

Accessorizing each and every day is one of the best things about getting ready for the day. You undoubtedly have your go-to favorite pieces of jewelry, as well as some treasured jewels you wear on those oh-so-special occasions. 

Over time and through wear and tear, jewelry can become dull, tarnished, and lose the luster it had when you first bought it.

It’s important to know that almost any jewelry is prone to tarnishing or diminishing in shine over time when it encounters air, moisture, oil, chemicals, and even your skin; but there are still ways you can care for your jewelry pieces so they stay stunning and last a very long time.

Top Jewelry Care Tips

Jewelry is delicate and, because of that, there are unfortunately a lot of ways your jewelry can get damaged from everyday wear—resulting in excessive tarnishing, accidental scratches, loose prongs, dullness, and damage. This can give your delicate pieces the potential for an unnecessarily short lifespan. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide your pieces away in a jewelry box to keep them safe. 

Jewelry is meant to be worn. To help you make your jewelry last a lifetime, follow these general tips:

Properly Maintain Your Jewelry

Wetness and moisture, including water, lotion, and creams, are something that should be avoided while wearing many pieces of jewelry. One exception to this rule is permanent jewelry that is not meant to be removed.

Why? Moisture can cause oxidation in steel jewelry, which speeds up the rusting process, so keeping it off your jewelry pieces is important to extending the jewelry's longevity. 

If you do get your jewelry wet, try to dry your jewelry as soon as you can—like if you get caught in the rain or accidentally wear your jewelry in the shower. 

One of the most beneficial habits you can adopt to properly maintain your jewelry is to put your jewelry on last when getting ready for the day. This way you’ll largely avoid skincare, perfume, hairspray, and other products getting on your jewelry. Also, try to wipe your jewelry after you wear it so you can take off any moisture that may have gotten on it.

Take Off Your Jewelry for Certain Activities

Generally speaking, if you’re planning to sweat, steam, or swim, do not wear your jewelry. 

For some, it’s common to keep a pair of earrings on in the pool or wear a ring in the shower. But moisture, as well as pool chlorine, can discolor your jewelry in a very short amount of time. Chlorine and other chemicals will also degrade the quality of metals over time. Additionally, wearing jewelry pieces during certain activities provides plenty of opportunity for your favorite items to get lost or broken. 

Try to only wear your jewelry during dry activities and to dry places, which means even taking your jewelry off when gardening, cooking, and cleaning. 

It may be helpful to keep a small cloth jewelry bag in your gym or swim bag to have a safe place to store your jewelry before workouts. Make the effort to place a ring bowl by the bathroom sink to remind you to remove your jewelry before showering or washing your hands.

Store Jewelry Correctly

Exposure to the most common elements, such as moisture in the air, can wear down your jewelry very quickly, which is why storing your pieces properly is crucial. 

Items like necklaces and bracelets can be ruined by throwing them in random drawers. But properly storing your jewelry by hanging it up neatly (not in a bathroom) or keeping it in a jewelry box will help it stay tangle-free, prevent breakage, and extend the life of your jewelry. Plastic bags and containers also help keep out moisture and other harmful elements, which is another storage option. Zink Metals provides a plastic bag with every order, which is meant to be used to store your Zink Metals jewelry.

Try finding a jewelry storage box or organizer that will protect your jewelry from sunlight, air, and moisture. Having separate slots or sections for your jewelry will also prevent your jewelry pieces from scratching each other. You can also add anti-tarnish strips which will absorb the elements in the air that would cause tarnish. And storing your bagged items in a jewelry box or organizer adds an extra layer of protection.

Find a Quality and Trusted Jeweler for Repairs

It’s a great habit to consistently pay close attention to how you’re treating your jewelry and maintaining its luster. One of the most common jewelry care questions is how to clean silver jewelry. Getting your pieces cleaned professionally on a regular basis and repaired by a trusted jeweler allows you to preserve its sheen. 

Professionally repairing your pieces when they encounter breaks or damages keeps your pieces in viable condition while avoiding the need to prematurely retire your favorite necklaces and bracelets. 

Even getting them cleaned professionally on a consistent basis enables a trained jeweler to get their eyes on your jewelry to secure stones and address issues before they become excessive. 

Also, when investing in a new piece of jewelry, make sure you understand what the jewelry warranty covers. Repairs and replacements can be expensive. An extended jewelry warranty provides you with coverage to replace or repair any defects or breakdown that comes from wear and tear.

How to Clean Jewelry

A stunning steel, silver and gold XOXO necklace handmade by Zink Metals

Keeping your jewelry clean is important to ensure your jewelry lasts. Jewelry is a valuable possession that requires proper care and maintenance to retain its beauty and longevity. Cleaning your jewelry regularly is essential to keep it looking its best. Different types of jewelry, such as silver, steel, and gold, require different cleaning methods to ensure that they remain in pristine condition.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

Silver is a popular choice for jewelry due to its affordability and beauty. However, over time, silver jewelry can tarnish and lose its luster. To keep your silver jewelry looking its best, it is essential to clean it regularly. Here are some tips for cleaning silver jewelry:

  • Prevention is key: Silver will tarnish naturally over time, but you can mitigate this process by storing it correctly. Storing your silver jewelry in plastic bags when not in use can help to delay the tarnishing process and preserve the original finish for a longer time.
  • Use a soft polishing cloth: The ideal tool for maintaining the brightness and cleanliness of silver jewelry is a soft polishing cloth, such as the Sunshine brand. We recommend you rub the silver gently with the cloth while being cautious not to touch any stones or steel components.
  • Avoid liquid jewelry cleaning solutions: Liquid jewelry cleaning solutions can be highly toxic and can damage the steel finish, silver, and stones, as well as your health. It’s best to avoid these products altogether and stick with a simple polishing cloth.

By following these tips, you can keep your silver jewelry looking beautiful for years to come. Remember, prevention and gentle cleaning are the keys to maintaining the original finish and beauty of your silver jewelry.

How to Clean Steel Jewelry

At Zink Metals, we love using steel for our one-of-a-kind pieces—whether alone or in combination with other metals and gemstones. For steel jewelry, it’s important to not clean or use a polishing cloth on it. In doing so, the steel jewelry will lose its patina. Additionally:

  • Dry steel jewelry right away
  • Be careful not to get steel jewelry wet, as it’s sealed but not fully waterproof
  • Store steel jewelry in a plastic bag (all Zink orders come with a plastic storage bag), as air and salt can damage steel jewelry

To properly care for and learn more about how to clean your jewelry, review our product care page:

Jewelry Product Care        Shop Our Jewelry Collections

Jewelry Care FAQ

Can you swim with sterling silver?

Exposing sterling silver to chlorinated water in a swimming pool is not the best idea as chlorine will likely cause the sterling silver to darken and damage all metals over time.

How to clean tarnished jewelry?

Use a soft polishing cloth to preserve the shine and cleanliness of silver jewelry. We advise gently rubbing the silver with the cloth, taking care to avoid contact with any stones or steel parts.

How to fix broken jewelry?

While some simple repairs can be done at home, it’s recommended to contact a professional to handle your jewelry repairs. Caring for your pieces properly is the ideal way to avoid the necessity for consistent repairs and ensure that your jewelry stands the test of time.