Thankfully, if you want to know how to clean silver jewelry, or clean tarnished jewelry (brass, bronze, copper) at home, the steps involved are relatively simple to follow. As we look at different types of metal, you'll notice a consistent theme behind the various cleaning methods, as well as a similarity among the items — like white vinegar, lemon juice, a soft cloth, baking soda, plus a few other ingredients — you’ll need to gather to restore the glistening shine to your beloved bodily adornments.How to Clean Sterling Silver
When confronted with a piece of tarnished silver jewelry, your best bet is to follow a few easy steps and learn how to clean jewelry with baking soda. You’ll need baking soda, obviously, aluminum foil, and in some tougher cases, white vinegar to boot.
- Line the bottom of a small ceramic dish or bowl with aluminum foil.
- Prep a solution of baking soda and water, or for more challenging cases baking soda and white vinegar. About 1/2 cup of hot water or white vinegar to 2 tbsp. of baking soda should do the trick.
- Set your sterling silver jewelry inside the bowl lined with aluminum foil, making sure as much of the silver as possible is in contact with the foil. Pour the solution over the jewelry and soak for several hours.
- After soaking your silver, rinse it under cold water, then gently dry it with a soft cloth. And voilà, your cherished sterling silver jewelry should now be tarnish-free.
Does brass tarnish? Sadly, for owners of brass or bronze jewelry, it does. Bronze and brass are both alloys (bronze is made up of copper and tin, while brass is composed of copper and zinc). When these alloys come into contact with oxygen, oxidation occurs, creating a greenish patina layer, similar in color to the Statue of Liberty, which is actually oxidized brown copper plating that turned green after years of exposure to the open air.
Don’t give up hope if your favorite brass bracelet or bronze chains have gone a little “green.” If you’d like to know how to clean bronze jewelry, or brass jewelry at home, follow the helpful instructions below.
- Plop a tablespoon of baking soda into a small bowl, then gently pour lemon juice over the baking soda until you’ve created a pliable paste (stir to test).
- Take a soft cloth (nothing abrasive) or an old toothbrush and apply, then rub the paste onto your tarnished jewelry.
- After carefully polishing your brass or bronze items with your lemon and baking soda paste, rinse them under a stream of cold water, then buff and dry your jewelry with a soft cloth.
Want to know how to clean copper jewelry? The steps involved are similar to cleaning silver, brass, and bronze — but with a salty twist. With copper, simply soak your jewelry in a bowl, immersed in a solution of vinegar and salt. You can also make a thicker paste with salt and vinegar (reminds us of our favorite potato chips) to rub stubborn tarnish stains away. As always, rinse your copper jewelry under cold water, then dry with a soft cloth.
How to Measure Ring Size
If you want to measure ring size, most likely for a gift or when ordering online (if only for yourself, you can have your measurements taken by professionals at a jewelry store), you’ll come across several methods, that when performed correctly, should yield accurate results.
You want a snug fitting ring, that’s easy to slip on and off, but not so loose your precious ring is in danger of arbitrarily falling off — yet not so tight it will cause you discomfort or pain.
Before measuring, make sure you know what ring sizes you’re working with. In the United Stated, rings sizes range from around 3.5 (14.4 mm) to 13.5 (22.8 mm). You can find and download conversion charts online that match different international measurements (mm) with international ring-size standards. For US sizes, refer to the chart below:
|Measurements (mm)||US Ring Sizes|
Almost everyone has some string or a box of dental floss lying around the house. One of the simplest methods to employ when measuring ring size is to cut, then wrap a piece of string or floss around the base of your finger, just below the knuckle. Mark the point where one end of the string meets or overlaps the other end with a pen.
Don’t pull the floss or string too tight, which can distort your measurements. Measure several times to make sure you're getting an accurate reading. Once you have a piece of marked string or floss, measure it against a millimeter ruler, then compare it to a ring-sizing chart (like the one above) to gauge your ring size.
Ring Sizing with a Tape Measure or a Ring-Sizing Tool
If string, floss and an old-fashioned ruler don’t appeal, you can always get your hands on a ring-sizing tool. A jeweler will sell you one, and in many cases, give you one for free (they’re not expensive). You can order plastic ring sizers online, some designed for women, some for women and men. The latter is perfect if you’re worried about how to measure ring size — men being the "owners" of the fingers you’re planning to size up.
If you want to know how to measure ring size with a tape measure, follow the basic steps we've already laid out. But use a cloth tape measure instead of string or floss to gauge the circumference of your finger before comparing your marked tape measurements to the appropriate sizing chart.
Different Types of Necklace Lengths
In general, there are six different necklace lengths. These include:
- Rope or Lariat
On average, a choker necklace will be 14 inches in length. They are designed to wrap closely around your neck and are often worn with a high-necked top or dress. However, they can be worn with any outfit if you are looking to make a fun, bold statement.
CollarA collar necklace sits right at the base of your neck and is a good option when accessorizing tops or dresses with a high neckline. These necklaces are 16 inches in length and aren’t as tight as a choker. These are usually worn to make a statement, so finding one that is colorful and/or large is a good decision.
This is the most common necklace length and falls just below your throat at the collarbone. In general, this necklace is 18 inches in length and will work for just about any outfit you pair this type of necklace with. Whether you are wearing a fine chain or a bold piece, the princess length is ideal for everyday wear.
The length of this necklace falls between 20 and 22 inches, and it will sit right above your bust line. This necklace style is often worn with plunging necklines or for individuals who feel like 18 inches of necklace feels too short.
There is also a 24-inch matinee necklace that you can add to your wardrobe. You’ll need to consider that it is meant to lay on top of your clothing and is often worn to make a statement. These necklaces will fall just below the center of your bust. This matinee necklace is a great addition to business or casual wear, and they often come in bold colors or with multiple strands so that they stand out.
Opera necklaces have a tendency to be more formal than shorter necklaces. They hang below the bust and can be worn with high necklines or eveningwear. They average 30 inches in length.Rope or Lariat
This necklace hangs well below your bust and may reach all the way to your navel. In general, they are 36 inches in length and add something extra to business or eveningwear. Although, they can add some elegance and sophistication to casual wear as well. It’s advised that you don’t wear a rope necklace with a plunging neckline, as this won’t pair well with the necklace’s length.
Now that you have a better idea of the types and lengths of necklaces that exist, you can find the pieces that will express your individual style and add something extra to any outfit you put on.
Everything in Its Own Place
One of the best ways to keep your jewelry from getting damaged when placed in a jewelry box is to ensure that each piece has its own place. It’s possible to find jewelry boxes with various compartments and sections. Placing your rings in the slots specifically designated for them will keep them from tangling with necklace chains or getting lost among bracelets. Placing earrings in their own section will ensure that you always know where each pair is.
In addition to putting your jewelry in its designated area, you should also separate your pieces into the types of metal they are made from. Keep all of your gold items together and separate your silver items from your fine jewelry and your costume jewelry. If the various metals touch, this can cause an interaction that can lead to tarnishing. To keep your jewelry looking fantastic and tarnish-free, give each type their own space and compartment in your jewelry box.
Keep it Clean and Dry
Another way to prevent your rings and other jewelry from becoming damaged when stored in a jewelry box is to make sure it’s clean and dry before you put it away. Moisture tarnishes and degrades all metal quickly. Thus, if your jewelry got wet because you were out in the rain or you just washed your hands or showered, make sure to dry it thoroughly before you put it away. Use a lint-free cloth to help with this endeavor.
Dirt and other grime can also lead to your jewelry becoming tarnished, so if your pieces have been exposed to any kind of debris, make sure to clean and dry them before putting them away. One of the easiest ways to clean your jewelry is to mix a few drops of mild dish detergent into lukewarm water.
You’ll then soak your pieces for a few moments, using a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any stuck-on dirt and debris. Make sure to dry your jewelry with a lint-free cloth before putting it away.
Store Your Favorite Pieces Where they Can be Seen
If you have necklaces or other pieces of jewelry that you adore and wear on a frequent basis, you might consider storing these in an area where they can be seen and are easy to grab. You have the option of getting hooks or a wall jewelry organizer that will keep your favorite items organized, visible and easy to access.
You might also consider placing a dish or small jewelry box on your nightstand for earrings or rings that you forgot to take off before heading to bed. You’ll still be able to find them quickly and easily when you’re ready to wear them again, but they’ll also be contained and organized.
It can be challenging finding jewelry that expresses your style and makes you feel really good. Thus, when you do find the pieces that you adore, you’ll want to take care of them so that they last for a long time. How you store them is important, and keeping them separated, clean and easy to access will help keep them from getting damaged or tarnished.