Friday, November 26, 2010

Merry Go Round - How to take care of your metal clay jewelry

It''s time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 8 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's topic is : How to care for your art - information for buyers.

Here are few suggestions for you, that will also apply to other silver jewelry you may have. 

Cleaning/ Removing Tarnish
Most of my work is made in fine silver - 99.9% silver.  Fine silver tarnishes a lot slower than sterling silver, so the good news is that caring for your fine silver jewelry doesn't take as much time as caring for your sterling silver jewelry! All silver will however tarnish in time so here are a few different methods you can use to clean up tarnished fine silver (these are also applicable for sterling silver):

1. Wash your jewelry in soap and water and a soft cloth. Dry thoroughly.
2. Add a little baking soda to a cup of water and wash the piece in this. You can use a soft brush or cloth to get the tarnish off. Dry thoroughly.
3. Use a sunshine polishing cloth or other commercial silver cleaning cloth to wipe your piece of jewelry.

What NOT to use for cleaning my jewelry:
Most of my pieces of jewelry incorporate a little patina to show up the three dimensionality or details of the piece.  This is the black colored part - for example the darkened foot prints in the bracelet shown below.  If you use a commercial silver cleaner dip, that will remove all the patina from your piece, as well as the tarnish and so the footprints wouldn't show up very clearly. So don't use a silver cleaner dip or liquid on piece that has patina on it.

However, silver cleaner dip is excellent for cleaning sterling silver chains - so feel free to use it for chains.  Rinse well afterwards and dry thoroughly.

Delaying Tarnishing
To delay tarnishing even further, place either tarnish tabs, chalkboard chalk, or dessicant packs in the box or container that holds your jewelry. Tarnish tabs are small squares of paper that are treated to stop your silver tarnishing. They are made by 3M and you can get them at a variety of places including this Etsy store.

    Dealing with Scratches on your silver

    Bracelets get a lot of wear and tear - more than any other piece of jewelry, I think.  They are constantly hitting tables and hard surfaces, and this can lead to little scratches on the surface.  When I make bracelets, I always enclose a little care package with the bracelet so the owner can get rid of little scratches.  The care package includes two small squares of 3M sanding pads.  To use these pads, first  rub the red colored pad over your piece of jewelry to remove the scratches.  Then repeat with the blue colored pad.  This should remove the surface scratches but still maintain a matt finish on your piece.

    Another way to get rid of scratches if the piece, like most of mine, has a satin or matt finish, is to rub the silver will with some fine steel wool. This will maintain the matt finish but take out the scratches.  Always try on the back of the piece first to make sure it isn't too rough/coarse.

    I hope this will help you keep your jewelry from Birdland Creations looking like it was when you first bought it. If you have any questions on caring for your jewelry, please feel free to ask.

    To learn what the other members of the merry go round team suggest to take care of the art that they create, please click on the links below.  We live in all different places around the world, so time differences may impact when we all get our blog post up.

    Kim at Vilt a la Kim -
    Sara at Crafts of Texture -  
    Fabienne at Easterya Jewellery Creations -
    Mariana at Florcita -
    Agathe at Le Bar du Vent -
    Lily at Lily Pang Art and Design -
    Mitsy at ArtMind - unable to join in this month -


    meherio68 said...

    Great tips— thanks!

    Easterya said...

    Very thorough, great advice!!

    Vilt à la Kim said...

    How nice of you to send some extra care instructions and samples along your jewelry. I bet not many jewelry makers do so....

    I became a little wiser again:)