Many people aren't aware when purchasing jewellery that there's simple ways to clean and polish up your pieces without sending them off to a professional. Here we'll list our favourite tried and tested methods that you can do for a fraction of the cost, and from the comfort of your own home.
Below we've broken down our tips for each metal type including some things to avoid when polishing delicate jewellery with stones like Opals.
Know of a hack we haven't mentioned? Let us know in the comments!
How To remove tarnish and restore the polish on brass jewellery - Brasso
What is Brasso?
Brasso® Metal Cleaner & Polish is an ideal cleaning solution for a variety of metals. Provides long-lasting smooth, polished surfaces and brilliant shine. Ideal for use on brass, copper, stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, pewter, and bronze.
How do I use it?
Using a microfibre cloth, add a small amount of brasso solution and buff your piece gently until the tarnish is removed and shine restored. To ensure the solution is fully removed from pieces before wearing, I always like to get some dish soap, wash the piece gently with a soft cloth and dry/buff with a paper towel. Make sure before using that you read and follow the safety instructions listed on the bottle as this is a chemical solution and can cause irritation if not handled correctly.
How to prolong your polished finish on brass and silver - Renaissance Wax
What is Renaissance Wax?
Renaissance Wax is a brand of microcrystalline wax polish used in antique restoration and museum conservation around the world. It was developed by the British Museum in the 1950's to preserve the surfaces of artefacts.
How do I use it?
Easy to apply, Renaissance Wax needs only to be lightly and evenly applied to a surface and then gently buffed to full lustre with either the use of a soft, lint-free cloth or a soft wax polishing brush. As it has a chemically smell, I like to only use a little bit of this on the outside or front of objects like rings and pendants. I avoid using on the inside of bands or back of the pendants where it will have contact with the warm skin. Although it is said to be safe for jewellery, I always like to be extra cautious with any chemical. To get the best finish, I like to use a dry microfibre cloth after the application of the wax to make sure the product is fully buffed in and the surface is nice and uniform.
How to remove tarnish and restore your polished finish on silver and gold fine jewellery - Silvo
What is Silvo?
How do I use it?
Using a microfibre cloth, add a small amount of Silvo solution and buff your piece gently until the tarnish is removed and shine restored. To ensure the solution is fully removed from pieces before wearing, I always like to get some dish soap, wash the piece gently with a soft cloth and dry/buff with a paper towel. Make sure before using that you read and follow the safety instructions listed on the bottle as this is a chemical solution and can cause irritation if not handled correctly.
How to remove build up and grime from jewellery - An Ultrasonic Cleaner
What is an Ultrasonic Cleaner?
Ultrasonic cleaners use high frequency sound waves (produced by an ultrasonic transducer) to create cavitation bubbles in a cleaning liquid. When the ultrasonic cavitation bubbles collapse, they create a cleaning action that can remove debris, dirt, grease, and other deposits from surfaces.
How do I use it?
Most ultrasonic cleaners will come with their own manufacturer instructions, however generally you will fill the tank with water and a cleaning solution (I've found a little drop of dish soap works) and you will put the machine on it's warm up cycle. When your water is warmed, add your jewellery in (making sure the items are spaced out and do not touch) and put the machine on its cleaning cycle. This will usually be anything from 30 seconds to 2 mins.
Warning: Do not put Opals, Moonstones, Labradorite or Emeralds in an ultrasonic cleaner. These stones are soft and delicate and require gentle cleaning. They also absorb water easily which dulls the appearance of the stone. For these stones we recommend dish soap, warm water and a very soft toothbrush to gently clean. Rise and dry with a microfibre cloth and a paper towel.
Safety Warning: Do not put your hands into the ultrasonic cleaner whilst it's on a clean cycle. Please also do not directly hold items into the ultrasonic cleaner when on. The vibrations inside the units are extremely powerful and if jewellery is left inside for an extended period, it can damage the surface of jewellery - imagine what this will do to the tissue and muscles in your hands. I see a lot of people making this mistake online when posting videos to TikTok using ultrasonic cleaners now that they've become more commercially available. Always use a soft basket or a jewellery rack for your ultrasonic cleaner so pieces to not touch the sides, metal basket or base (which will damage your jewellery). Wait for the clean cycle to finish and stop before retrieving items from the unit.
Disclaimer: These tips are for solid brass, silver or gold jewellery only. We do not recommend these methods for costume jewellery that has plating over a base metal, as they will likely cause the plating to fade or degrade faster.
We will always recommend buying pieces made of pure metals as they are much easier to maintain.