Storing and Caring for LBD Jewellery
Storing and caring for your Sterling silver and Gold Vermeil
What is STERLING SILVER and GOLD VERMEIL?
All of our Silver is 100% Solid Sterling Silver 925...Our Gold Vermeil is 2.5 microns of 10ct Gold electroplated over a base of solid sterling silver.
2.5 microns is 5 times thicker than gold plating. To be classed as gold vermeil, it must be a minimum of 2.5 microns and be a minimum of 10ct's to be called vermeil. Many retailers call gold plated jewellery vermeil, because it has a base of sterling silver, but this is not correct.
Sterling silver is an alloy made from 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper alloy. An alloy is essentially the mixture of two (or more) elements .
Our sterling silver is Nickel Free so very hypoallergenic so perfect for those with sensitive skin.
10ct gold is composed of a mix of gold and alloy.
10ct Gold is a the lighter coloured gold, and is more durable than the 18ct and 24ct as its not as soft, making 10ct gold vermeil even more durable and longer lasting.
The only down side to Sterling Silver and 10ct Gold is that the Copper Alloy component may cause your jewellery to tarnish. This can be avoided when you understand what causes tarnish and if you clean your jewellery from time to time.
TARNISHING AND RUSTING or CORROSION ARE NOT THE SAME THING
Cheap metals tarnish, rust and corrode. Sterling Silver and 10ct Gold only tarnish, they do not rust and corrode. They are two totally different chemical reactions, that many mistake for the same thing.
TARNISH- a surface reaction to hydrogen sulphite that forms on the outer layer of the metal, that can be cleaned off, and does not affect or damage the underlying metal.
Sterling Silver jewellery can last for ever and Sterling Silver and 10ct Gold is essentially waterproof as it does not corrode when it gets wet.
RUST/ CORROSION-. This is a chemical reaction to water and oxygen that permanently damages the entirety of the metal eventually and can not be restored.
There is a huge misconception that 'Real Sterling Silver' or 'Real 10ct Gold' does not tarnish. That is not true, in fact Sterling Silver and any gold under 24ct are the most common metals known to tarnish.
Cheaper metals will rust and corrode, especially when exposed to water and oxygen and can not be cleaned. These will not last long and cant be worn in water.
WHAT CAUSES TARNISH?
Tarnish is a reaction to hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), a substance found in the air. Hydrogen Sulfide thrives in confined spaces, wet areas like water springs or hot or humid conditions.
The added copper is what causes Sterling Silver and 10ct Gold to tarnish, and is accelerated in humid, wet, or hot weather.
When Sterling Silver and 10ct Gold comes into contact with hydrogen sulfide, a chemical reaction takes place and a layer of tarnish is formed. Depending on how toxic the environment is tarnish can appear as a slight darkening, then a golden or copper coloured staining and even a complete grey or black covered layer if its left to tarnish for a long time.
However, it's easy to clean and beneath the tarnish your sterling silver will still be in great condition. Sterling silver won't rust, turn green or corrode like cheap metals.
-IMPORTANT- STORING YOUR STERLING SILVER AND GOLD VERMEIL
The best storage solutions for your Sterling Silver and Gold Vermeil Jewellery are...
- An air tight container or zip lock bag, or
- Cool Dry Place
- Or to just wear your jewellery.
The worst tarnish you find on jewellery is from it being stored incorrectly for longer periods of time.
Do Not Ever
-Store your jewellery in a confined space like a draw or small cupboard
-If you store your jewellery in a cupboard or draw that never gets opened, this limits the oxygen level inside the confined space and hydrogen sulfide levels will rise rapidly. Oxygen cleans and purifies the air, and inside a confined space oxygen levels will drop as limited oxygen is able to enter. If you trap sterling silver or 10ct gold inside a confined space with hydrogen sulfide, the hydrogen sulfide will win every time. This will tarnish your jewellery in a matter of days, especially in the warmer seasons as heat will increase the sulfur levels very quickly. (you can store your jewellery inside an air tight bag or container inside a cupboard or drawer without a problem though as long as its dry and cool. Try to choose a place that gets opened and closed )
- Do not store your jewellery in our gift box's for long periods of time unless you store them in a cool, dry place with sufficient oxygen flow.
We still recommend using an air tight bags or containers just in case as we can't ever control weather conditions. If our gift box's are exposed hydrogen sulfide, they will then become contaminated and also cause rapid tarnish. If our gift box's are exposed to moisture, humid weather, wet weather or extreme heat its possible that hydrogen sulfide can contaminate them.
Imagine the gift box sitting inside a drawer that doesn't get opened often and hydrogen sulphite has started to develop as oxygen levels are low. The foam in the gift box will soak up the toxic air and expose the jewellery to extremely high levels of sulfur. In our experience this is the most commonly made mistake made when storing jewellery.
-Your sterling silver should not be kept in any chemically treated surfaces, particularly surfaces made of wood that have been stained or treated. These treatments contain sulphate that will speed up the tarnishing process.
I find that with regular wear your silver will stay fairly clean and only need a slight polish here and there.
THE BEST WAY TO KEEP YOUR JEWELLERY TARNISH FREE IS TO WEAR IT!
The hardest time to keep sterling silver clean is when it is being stored and nature’s elements take hold. If you come back to your jewellery after some time and find it be be tarnished heavily, don’t stress, here is a great way to clean it quickly at home.
CLEANING AT HOME -TIPS
REMOVING SULFUR FROM YOUR JEWELLERY.
Most of the time your sterling silver will just need a little polish but if it is badly tarnished here is way to clean it it home..
-Wrap a bowl with Aluminium Foil
-Add tarnished sterling silver and a tablespoon of baking soda to the bowl
- Pour in boiling water
- watch the water bubble and remove the tarnish. You will smell the tarnish attaching to the foil..
- when the silver looks clean (this won’t take long) remove with tongs or similar
- rinse well under cool water
- polish with a jewellery cloth (sterling silver only) or just use a soft cotton ball or cloth to quickly wipe down gold vermeil items.
CARING FOR YOUR JEWELLERY WHEN YOU WEAR IT EVERY DAY
Remember, with proper care and knowledge of your jewellery, your sterling silver piece can last a lifetime and beyond.
Most jewellery suppliers tell you not to shower with your jewellery on, but water alone is not going to do any lasting damage to our sterling silver. Just make sure to dry it after so it doesn't attract any hydrogen sulphite.
If you plan to use any chemically treated soaps or shampoos while you shower, you may notice this will make your jewellery go dull or even start to spec with some tarnish. This is most likely due to the product containing sulfur or sulphur. If this does happens just give it a clean. But to care for your jewellery it is advised that if you plan to use harsh products as you shower, for example hair toner, use a purple shampoo, use a chemical hair removal lotion (just to give a few examples) remove your jewellery while you use these as your jewellery most probably won’t like it..
Chlorine is a pretty harsh chemical, and one of the main things sterling silver does not like. If decide to swim with your jewellery on, or you forget to remove your silver jewellery before jumping in a Chlorine pool, just give it a rinse with fresh water and clean it afterwards. Gemstones like turquoise or opal will not be forgiving though so try to keep these away.
A spa is 10 times worse than a pool, so even I remove my jewellery before entering a spa or similar.
If you don’t know what the water conditions are, it’s best to remove your jewellery just in case it has crazy high chlorine levels.
Swimming in Fresh Water is fine, just remember to dry it off when you dry yourself and as long as it doesn't have a bad odour. If it does this generally means its full of Sulphur.
If you are like me, then you never like to take your jewellery off, and the beach is no exception, Just understand the risks. The Salty Sea can leave a residue on your jewellery that can cause it to go dull and discolour, so it’s fairly important that when you get home from your day at the beach, and you shower yourself, you give your sterling silver the same treatment. Give it a clean in some soapy water and give it a dry. I like to use a gentle washing up liquid.
The biggest risk however, of wearing your jewellery at the beach is it slipping of your finger and floating away, or being damaged when you get dumped by that massive wave you didn’t see coming. Currents can also whisk an anklet straight off your ankle. Ultimately it’s your decision but just have a little think about what could happen before you decide.
Chemicals in lotions, perfumes, hairspray or hair products can be quite harsh, and can cause your jewelry to tarnish. Apply them first, let them dry, and then put your jewelry on. If using hair products, just be super careful to protect your earrings from a coating. This alone can make a HUGE difference in your silver's luster and shine. Remember Sulphur is the enemy and found in so many products.
Hand Sanitizer is now used more than ever. Remove your rings while you apply. Let it dry and then it’s fine to put them straight back on..
CARING FOR GEMSTONES
Firstly Opals are "hydrophane", this means that they absorb water and when they do their appearance changes. If the Opals come in contact with water, they will soak it up it like a sponge. If the Opals are submerged in water and allowed to absorb it, they may lose their fire temporarily and turn yellow or brown. It’s advised to keep Opals out of water to prevent fire loss.
We also suggest removing natural turquoise before getting wet as this gemstone can fade and lose colour. Reconstructed Turquoise has added epoxy so will handle being wet.
Generally the same rules apply when caring for your gemstone jewellery as for sterling silver jewellery. You just need to be a tad more cautious as chemicals can cause glue settings to deteriorate rapidly, resulting in gems falling out of jewellery. Please take special care of your gemstone jewellery and avoid exposing them to any chemicals I described earlier.
Clean gemstone jewellery gently with a lint-free cloth or soft-bristle toothbrush, along with a solution of warm soapy water. Afterwards, dry gently with a lint-free cloth.
Gemstones can vary in terms of physical properties, so to clean porous stones such as natural turquoise, use a damp soft cloth only – try to avoid the use of detergents and liquids. This just may cause premature fading and loss of vibrancy.
GOLD PLATED JEWELLERY
Do *not* use an impregnated silver polishing cloth on gold plated jewellery, as this may strip away the plating as they are treated. This may even cause tarnish.
Our Gold Plating/ Vermeil is over a base of solid sterling silver, so will not rust or react like other gold plated metals. This means that a little water here and there will not cause damage to your jewellery or cause bad skin reactions.
Gold Plated Jewellery needs a little extra love. The more love you give, the longer it will last. It can last for years and years with the right care..
-Wait until your lotions or sanitizers are 100% dry or has been absorbed by your skin before you wear your gold plated ring, bracelet or necklace.
Hair Products, perfumes, chlorine, and so on will make your gold plating wear away faster so be careful to protect your gold from these elements and it’s advised to remove when swimming to help your gold jewellery last that extra mile. If you forget though, the same rules apply, gently rinse and dry it gently right away.
If you really want the longest life for your gold plated jewellery here are some more tips.
After every use, clean your gold vermeil jewellery with a cotton ball or a very soft untreated cloth to remove any dust and dirt as this helps restore shine.
If your jewelry needs more cleaning as you have noticed discolouration, you may clean it with our baking soda and boiling water method as described earlier. Stay away from jewelllery cleaners and antibacterial soaps which may have certain components that will make your gold vermeil jewellery wear more quickly.
After cleaning your gold jewellery, keep it in a small zip-lock or air tight container.
Store like items together. Do not store gold plating and silver together. The different metals will cause each other to tarnish, fade and/or turn colours. Have different storage places for different colours of metals like gold and silver. Store in a cool, dry area.
Do *not* use a jewellery polishing cloth as these are impregnated with anti tarnish properties designed to clean and polish and this will wear away the gold plating and also sometimes cause tarnish.
RHODIUM PLATED STERLING SILVER
Some of our prestige jewellery has been Rhodium Plated..
Rhodium plating enhances the inherent value and durability of sterling silver. Rhodium will make your jewellery more durable. Rhodium is scratch resistant meaning that you won’t have to worry about scratching for a very long time.
The durability of a rhodium-plated piece is further enhanced by its tarnish free state, You won’t have to worry about tarnishing or discolouration from exposure to toxic gases.
Please note though that Rhodium plating, although more glossy, luxurious and durable than sterling silver, has a slightly darker colour than polished sterling silver. You will notice this in the related images displayed.