CARING FOR YOUR AMEN JEWELRY
All AMen jewelry is made of quality materials that should last for many years of enjoyment. Even the highest quality jewelry requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Below you will find recommendations for our silver and leather lines of jewelry.
Tarnishing, also known as oxidation, is a result of oxygen or sulfur coming into contact with sterling silver. Tarnished silver is less shiny and sometimes a darker color than when newer. Higher purity silver will tarnish more quickly than lower quality silver.
All AMen Jewelry is based in high-quality .925 sterling silver, so we coat our jewelry with a 3-micron rhodium plating to provide a surface that will resist scratches and will tarnish less quickly. Over time, however, the plating will still wear off and your jewelry will need to be cared for to retain that beautiful shine.
STORING YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELRY
Oxygen and moisture in the air will tarnish your sterling silver jewelry, so it's important to properly store your jewelry to help minimize the oxidation process. Here are a few storage tips:
- Store in an area with low humidity (no bathroom storage).
- Store each piece in an airtight bag. Reusable, re-sealable zipper storage bags are great for this.
- Place a packet of silica or piece of chalk in the storage bag.
- Keep clasps/closures unhooked to avoid moisture buildup.
WEARING YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELRY
Interesting fact: You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often! The natural oils in your skin will help protect and clean the silver. However, there are certain activities that cause your jewelry to lose its luster quickly. Remove your sterling silver jewelry before doing any of the following:
- Working out
- Applying hairspray or hair products
- Putting on lotion and makeup
CLEANING YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELRY
Even the best-cared-for jewelry will sometimes require cleaning. Polishing your sterling silver jewelry is the best method to clean it. Be sure to do the following:
- Use a special non-abrasive cloth to avoid scratching.
- Move to a new section of the cloth regularly.
- Avoid areas that are intentionally oxidized as part of the design.
- Do not rub in a circular pattern - follow the grain of the silver.
- Have your jewelry inspected annually. Depending on the degree of use, it is important that clasps, mounts, stones and soldering are checked.
HOMEMADE SILVER CLEANERS
Homemade solutions can be wonderful. I have tried all of the following homemade solutions and they work, depending on the jewelry and stubbornness of the tarnish. I recently tried the last recommendation, and the jewelry came out beautifully!
- Soap and water: Warm water and a mild, ammonia-free, and phosphate-free dishwashing soap should be your first line of defense if a polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish. Soap and water should also be used to clean your pieces before using any of the methods listed below.
- Baking soda and water: Make a paste of baking soda and water and use a clean cloth to apply a pea-sized amount to the silver and begin polishing.
For etched, stamped or detailed items, thin the paste with more water and use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush to get the cracks and crevices. Run the silver piece or pieces under running warm water and dry with a clean cloth.
- Olive oil and lemon juice: Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 tsp. olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the cleaning solution and a small microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth in the solution and wring it out so that it doesn’t drip, then polish the silver. Rinse and dry.
- White vinegar and baking soda: Use this gentle cleaner to remove heavy tarnish that’s preventing you from polishing your silver. Soak the tarnished piece in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda (be prepared for the fizzing!) for two to three hours, then rinse and dry.
- Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and boiling water: You can take advantage of a simple chemical reaction to clean your silver. All you’ll need is some baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil. Line a glass roasting pan or the kitchen sink with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Place the silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. Then pour boiling water over the pieces until they are covered and add 2 tbsp. each of baking soda and salt. Stir the solution to allow the baking soda to dissolve — you don’t want any granules scratching the metal.
The reaction causes the tarnish to transfer to the foil, and in about 5-10 minutes you’ll see the tarnish “magically” disappear from the jewelry. (Be prepared for the smell of rotten eggs, though, as the sulfide tarnish comes off the silver.)
Using salad tongs or nitrile gloves (not rubber gloves, which contain sulfur), remove the silver jewelry from the hot water or drain into a colander. Rinse the jewelry with water, then dry and buff with a soft cloth. Voila! Your silver should be sparkling clean and ready to keep you looking fabulous.
- Combination: If your pieces have very stubborn tarnish, you can use these treatments in succession to get them looking shiny again.
- Toothpaste – Jason’s Sea Fresh has worked for me!
Warning: You might have also heard that a non-whitening, non-gel toothpaste can be a good substitute for commercial silver cleaners, but nowadays these basic toothpastes are hard to find or distinguish from the toothpastes that will discolor your silver.
Leather jewelry can last for a long time if maintained properly and it is best for leather jewelry to be protected from dust, water and salt.
TREATING YOUR LEATHER JEWELRY
If leather is exposed to water, it can fade, make the leather a darker color and/or stretch and crack. This occurs when oils get stripped from the leather which will stiffen the leather and eventually cause it to crack.
To avoid this from occurring, try treating the leather with a leather water and weather protective coating prior to wearing (if it does not cause an allergic reaction). Keep in mind that treating leather may cause the leather to darken.
There are many commercial leather products you can buy that have great reputations. Some are spray on while others are rubbed into the leather.
If your jewelry does get wet, allow the leather to dry naturally in a warm environment. Resist the urge to point the heater or your hairdryer at it.
Leather is really an amazing material, and it’s not nearly as fragile as some people tell you!
With all of this being said, please wear your bracelets how you want. It may not last as long, but your style will bring it character. Your jewelry pieces are meant to bring comfort, faith, hope and a bit of passion!
Wear your Faith. Faith is Fashion!