As a general guideline, you should always try to keep all jewelry away from harsh chemicals, hot tubs, swimming pools, strenuous activities, extreme temperatures, and intense sunlight. The chlorine and bromine used in hot tubs and pools are especially damaging to gemstones and precious metal, and even solid gold is no exception. Also, after wearing your jewelry, remember to wipe it off with a soft cloth. To keep your jewelry from tarnishing, store it in an air-tight container and use anti-tarnish paper.
As a preventive measure, remember to remove your jewelry when performing household chores, including cleaning or gardening. Also, always apply hairspray and makeup before you put on your jewelry as they both contain chemicals that may prove to be harmful.
Why Gold Jewelry Needs Special Care
By itself, pure gold (24k) is too soft to be used in making jewelry, and to remedy the situation, jewelry manufacturers create an alloy by mixing other metals with it. Since gold is an inert element, it will not tarnish, but the copper and silver contained in the alloy may be affected by the moisture, oxygen, and sulphur in the environment and cause gold jewelry to turn dark. In addition, any piece that is 14k gold or higher will probably never tarnish, and if it does, it will be a very slow process, when compared with sterling silver pieces.
Cleaning Your Gold Jewelry
To begin, pour some mild dish detergent into a bowl of club soda or sodium-free seltzer. (The carbonation is known to loosen the soil and remove debris from jewelry.) Put the items in a strainer; then place the strainer in the bowl and allow it to soak for approximately five minutes. Then, use an old, soft toothbrush to clean the crevices and settings. Put your jewelry back in the strainer, rinse well, and use a soft cloth to dry the items.
“Jewelry Care, Caring for Jewelry.” Crystals, Stones, and Crystal Jewelry and free mystical info. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2010. http://www.crystalsandjewelry.com/jewelrycare.html.
“How to Clean Gold Jewelry.” Fine Handcrafted Jewelry ~ ColorSpark Studio. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2010. http://www.colorspark.com/clean-gold.html.
“Speed Clean Your Jewelry .” Good Housekeeping . N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2010. www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/fashion/speed-clean-jewelry.