Jewelry Care Tips

So, there are some great tips and guidelines for taking care of your original jewelry.

Some Basics

All soft metals I use in my jewelry tarnish.  This includes sterling silver (which is .925 fine silver and .075 copper), brass, bronze, and of course, gold and gold filled.  I have often received questions from customers, starting this way, “this isn’t real!  it’s turning black!”  Well, actually, that means it IS real.  Rhodium dipped charms readily available at retail stores don’t tarnish quickly even though they are marked as sterling silver, because of just that – they are dipped in rhodium.  This can both people with nickel allergies.

The care of most of my items is the same.  The rate of tarnish will depend on many factors, from your climate to your own body chemicals.  It will also depend on the finish of your item.  An antiqued item is brought back to its original look with steel wool, while a shiny finish will necessitate a cleaning and polishing cloth.

Metal is particularly reactive in moist or wet conditions. Regions with humid weather like the seacoast and tropical areas are especially challenging for metals, as chlorides combine with moisture and perspiration to form a corrosive element. Our water-friendly, active jewelry pieces are great for these climates. The best way to maintain the beauty of your jewelry is to take proper care of it from the beginning. Below are some tips on caring for and cleaning your jewelry.

CLEANING YOUR  JEWELRY: Avoid exposing sterling silver to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume. You can wash your jewelry periodically with mild dish soap and warm water. Make sure to rinse well and dry completely with a soft cloth before storing.


Use a silver polishing cloth to remove oxidation from silver (with a shiny finish). Tissues and paper towels can cause scratches. I recommend using a Sunshine Cloth – You can buy these from me for about $8. Use light pressure and allow the cloth to do the work for you.


Use 000 Steel Wool lightly to achieve the level of lightening or brushing you require.


Here is how you can refresh the darkening of the letters yourself:

Follow these steps to re-blacken your custom stamped jewelry (each photo contains instructions for that step if you click on it)… it also works as far as polishing and removing tarnish (if you skip the Sharpie step). I offer polishing cloths in my online stores, or there are many other online or local sources.

*** IMPORTANT *** Do NOT EVER use jewelry cleaning paste or liquid on your custom sterling jewelry. It will remove the intentional blackening of the letters and cause the piece to become dull, greyish, and possibly spotted. Please always use a jewelry polishing cloth. A treated cloth is okay. Do NOT use this method on antiqued-finished jewelry. Please contact me if you have questions.

You will need: Your Birth Designs sterling jewelry item, a “Sharpie” large marker, a polishing pad or treated polishing cloth, and a paper towel.


Use the Sharpie marker to cover the lettering. Make sure it seeps into the deeply stamped portions.
After a few seconds, but before it dries completely, softly swipe over the Sharpie with a paper towel removing the excess from the surface (but not the stamped part).
Use a polishing pad or treated polishing cloth once the Sharpie is dry, and rub firmly over surface of the jewelry. Rub until the shiny original surface is evident again.


This is how it should look when you are finished.
To clean the chain, do not rub the chain with the pad or cloth. Instead, cup the cloth and run the chain through the cloth, slowly and gently pulling the chain through the cloth or pad. Repeat as necessary, but do not yank or pull as to break it.