How to clean your silver and gold charms

I hope that all my customers are thrilled to bits with the purchases they make from my company, Perfectcharm. Although I always ensure all charms are bright and shiny when you receive them I am aware that over time they may tarnish. I would like to help you fight this!

The chemistry

One of the most important properties of gold and silver as precious metals is that they are unreactive metals and for that reason when they are pure they do not tarnish. However these metals are really very soft when pure and would bend and scratch easily, not to mention be very expensive. It is the metals we add for strength and durability that causes the tarnish.

Sterling silver is 92.5%. The extra 7.5% is made up of other metals. One of these metals is copper and this can come to the surface and shows up as a browny pink colour. Never despair. The reason you have invested in a precious metal piece of gold or silver is because it can always be cleaned back to it's original sparkle. It just might take a little bit of effort.

Gold jewellery is the same. 9ct has quite a lot of other metals included but people often like the colour it goes as it tarnishes. I have had brand new gold pieces returned because customers have though the colour too bright. After quite a short time the colour mellows. 18ct is more yellow coloured and tarnishes much less. 

Our white gold charms are all rhodium plated as otherwise white gold tarnishes to grey. The rhodium gives the gold the bright white finish you as a customer would expect.

When and what tarnishes your charms

The best way to keep silver and gold charms clean is to wear them. When you wash, the jewellery gets washed too. However the cosmetics and perfumes you use can sometimes discolour your charms or just clog up the details. We as humans produce oils and shed skin, these combined may cause build up in the details of the jewellery and particularly behind gemstones. 

The only time I would suggest taking you jewellery off is when you dip into a hot tubs, jacuzzis and some swimming pools. Sometimes the chemicals in there, combined with the warm temperature, can turn your silver jewellery black. If this advice is coming too late. Try the cleaning steps below and if your charms are still an unpleasant colour, please get in touch. 

You will probably find the jewellery tarnishes most when it is left in your jewellery box. Silver jewellery in particular will go a browny yellow colour when left. 

Some people are convinced they cannot wear silver jewellery because they turn it black. I am not sure about this but many people decide to wear gold for that reason. If you struggle to wear gold or silver jewellery I would suggest investing in 18ct as this much purer gold and should tarnish least. As for silver, I would suggest the pure silver pieces (like my fingerprint and footprint jewellery) would be best. Careful with the chains though as these will most likely be sterling silver. Try wearing your charms on leather or ribbon necklaces or bracelets. Many small companies exist making really beautiful bespoke pieces in pure silver, enjoy exploring this online.

Cleaning you charms

If you want to spruce up your silver or gold. The first easy step is some washing up liquid in warm water. You could use a toothbrush to give them a little bit of a scrub. This should remove any cosmetic build up and any grease on the charms. You may be surprised how effective this alone may be. 

The next step would ideally be an ultrasonic machine. Don't worry if you haven't got one but if you love jewellery and see one for sale it might be worth investing. Aldi sometimes have them for sale for about £20. They use ultrasonic pulses to dislodge dirt. A few three minute sessions in a ultra sound with warm water and washing up liquid works wonders.

Finally the best investment is a jar of Goddards's Silver Dip. This clear solution is available from hardware stores and supermarkets. I buy mine for £2.99. All you need to do is dip your silver into the solution, literally in then out and then quickly rinse it under the tap. You may want to do this a couple of times but once is often enough. This should leave the silver gleaming. These are also a great investment. Be careful though! Don't spill the solution on your metal draining board as it can mark it.

If the piece has smooth surfaces you may want to give it a polish with a Goddards Long Term Silver Cloth. These blue cloths can be used to buff up the metal. It will turn black where you have rubbed, as will your fingers, but your silver and gold should shine.

Good luck with your jewellery clean up! If you have any problems with charms and charm jewellery bought from Perfectcharm please do not hesitate to get in touch. We believe that your jewellery should last a lifetime and want to help you if that isn't the case.

Back to blog

Leave a comment