With the recent introduction of our new worldwide, globetrotting, non-discriminating, not liked at all friend, who is wreaking havoc on and upturning our everyday lives, things are constantly changing.
One thing that lots of us are doing a lot more of is washing our hands (go you good thing, do your bit to help stop that bitch spread), disinfecting everything and smothering on the hand sanitiser like it a luscious nourishing moisturiser. These things are absolutely necessary if we want to kick this mother where it hurts but it leads me to think about all those pretty, shiny, beautiful jewels that adorn our fingers and how all these extra chemicals impact on the metals and gemstones. So I thought this is a good time to think about our jewellery and how we should be caring for it and what extra measures we need to take to protect it, cause this pain in the ass is affecting every single aspect of our lives and jewellery isn't immune either.
Hand washing is something that we do every day and is not necessarily an issue for your jewellery, especially considering the most recommended way to clean your jewels is to use good old tap water and mild soap. But as we are most likely (and hopefully) washing the balls outta our hands right now, we are not only using soaps that contain harsher ingredients and abrasives that can damage the surface of our jewellery, but all this extra washing time may be increasing the chances of skin irritation. I personally don't wear much jewellery when it comes to days spent making in my studio, especially when I am polishing. This is because my hands spend a fair amount of time in soapy water, washing and cleaning off the compounds that are used in the polishing process. All that time with damp, soapy hands can lead to skin irritation under the rings where the skin is not dried properly. Now some people may never have any issues here but as someone that tends to have skin sensitivities in general and normally uses soap and detergents without fragrances and as natural as possible to limit any issues, I notice this can be problematic.
Hand sanitizers come in two varieties: alcohol-based and non–alcohol-based. The ones with alcohol are benign to jewellery items as alcohol is the main germ-killing ingredient. However, non–alcohol-based ones typically use chlorine-based compounds as germicides. These chlorine compounds could react with water and release free chlorine. Free chlorine radical is very reactive and could cause tarnishing of jewellery, especially if it is made of sterling silver.
As with all disinfectants, hand and surface wipes and sanitisers, these solutions can build up on the surface of your jewellery and repeated contact with cleaning agents such as chlorine, bleach, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soaps, and hand sanitiser can break down the brilliance or vivid colour of gemstone jewellery over time. Then there is the build-up of gunk that is left on your jewellery after the hand sanitiser has evaporated.
The long and short of it is that at the moment while there is an increase in usage of these products your jewellery could really do with a little extra TLC also.
It is recommended that you use a hand sanitiser that has an alcohol content of at least 60%, so as long as you’re doing that, your metal will be safest. Best of all would be to take off your rings while washing your hands and also when applying hand sanitiser and then putting them back on. Not wearing your rings as much at the moment is 100% the safest way to keep them looking their best but that isn't why we buy them, so I know you want to keep wearing your favourites, so try giving them a wash at the end of the day with water and mild dish soap. If you are noticing a build-up of gunk, then take a soft toothbrush to give a gentle scrub to get things clean or give it a little soak in some warm soapy water.
If you need any more tips or help with caring for your jewellery and gemstones be sure to reach out to me.
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