How to Take Care of Your Jewelry

Getting a beautiful piece of jewelry that you absolutely love is always exciting. Slipping on your new, shiny piece can instantly give you a confidence boost and add some pep to your step. Over time, however, all jewelry begins to lose its shine and becomes a bit dingy. Following a regular jewelry cleaning regimen can preserve the life of your treasured pieces and keep them looking pristine for many years to come.

Because jewelry is made using an array of different metals and other precious materials, the care and cleaning protocol differs depending on what each piece of jewelry is made from. Today, we’re going to share how to care for your jewelry, breaking it down by material type.

Caring for your sterling silver jewelry

Sterling silver tarnishes when exposed to salty air, chlorine, sulfur, humidity, perspiration, household bleach, and other chemicals. To prevent tarnish as much as possible, we recommend removing your silver jewelry when doing household chores, going in any type of water (shower, bath, pool, ocean, etc.), using lotions, perfumes, oils, and exercising.

Sterling silver can be cleaned with a polishing cloth. Simply use a soft cloth to wipe your jewelry after each wear. If your pieces still look tarnished after a good rub down, try gently brushing them with a soft toothbrush and a mixture of warm water and mild soap, and then pat them dry with a soft cloth. To prevent tarnish, nicks, and scratches, always store your sterling silver jewelry in a box or soft pouch.

Caring for your gold-plated jewelry

Gold-plated jewelry is made with a layer of gold that is adhered to a base metal—this gives you the same stunning look of gold at a fraction of the cost. Zafari offers a few types of gold-plated jewelry including gold vermeil, gold-plated brass, and gold-plated stainless steel. Gold vermeil is a thick layer of gold plated over sterling silver. Because the sterling silver is wrapped in a thick layer of gold, it doesn’t tarnish quite as easily as sterling silver. Gold-plated brass or gold-plated stainless steel jewelry is made by adhering a thinner layer of gold to the base metal. 

No matter the type of gold-plated jewelry you have, the care and cleaning instructions are the same. To maintain your gold-plated pieces’ shine, avoid exposing them to excessive heat or cold, lotions, perfumes and oils, and always take them off when you shower or go in any body of water.

To clean your gold-plated jewelry, wash it with a small amount of mild dish soap and warm water using your hand. Rinse it well and allow it to dry on a dry cloth. Use a soft jewelry cloth to gently rub the surface in a circular motion, and then store it in a box or soft pouch.

Caring for your pearl jewelry

Pearls are formed in water, and if they become too dry, they can develop brown spots or cracking. Due to this, avoid exposing your pearl jewelry to dry heat, like that from a hair dryer or curling iron.

As with other types of jewelry, it’s very important to avoid showering, bathing, or swimming, as well as oils, perfumes, lotions, and other chemicals. Water and other substances can damage the stringing material in a pearl strand, leading to breakage. Additionally, because pearls are so soft, they can be easily damaged by rough clothing, other jewelry, or other abrasive items. To prevent this, always store your pearl jewelry in a soft pouch by itself.

No matter how careful you are about protecting your pearl jewelry, you’ll find you still need to clean it every so often. In many cases, pearl jewelry includes other materials that make up the piece. As a rule, if the piece has a pearl in it, the pearl dictates the methods and products you should use to care for it. It’s a good idea to wipe down pearl jewelry with a soft cloth after each use. For a deeper cleaning, it’s recommended to use a cleaning product that’s specially made for pearls and a soft cloth.

The bottom line


Jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.”

— The Old Saying

While there are some differences in cleaning methods depending on the type of material your jewelry is made from, as the old saying goes, “Jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.” This simple practice will help protect your cherished pieces from exposure to products, chemicals, and substances that can wear them down over time. With a little TLC, your jewelry will continue to sparkle and shine for years to come.