Preventing your jewellery from tarnishing - ICKINGER |
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Are you looking for a way to keep your jewellery sparkling

There are a couple of tricks to polish up your worn and tarnished pieces, making them new again

There is no doubt that jewellery should sparkle. However, environmental factors such as dust, dirt, sweat, chemicals, and makeup, especially soaps and lotions, can tarnish your jewellery over time. For example, copper, brass, silver, gold and rose gold metals can be affected by tarnish over time.

Admittedly it is because it is a part natural chemical reaction that cannot be avoided. It is completely natural for metals to tarnish because they react to chemicals like oxygen and sulphur through oxidisation. Sulphur is found in the air and can also be transmitted through contact because our bodies produce it to fight bacteria.

It also depends on where you put your jewellery and how you manage them, as tarnishing can happen at different speeds. Fortunately, there are some ways that can help to prevent it or restore your jewellery.

This article will discuss the best methods for preventing tarnish, how to clean tarnished jewellery safely and why tarnishing occurs. Fashion jewellery is usually made with plated metals, semi-precious stones, beads, and glass. These materials are softer than metals or gemstones in fine jewellery like gold and silver, so they are more prone to tarnishing or scratching.

In the following sections, we will discuss preventing signs of wear and discolouration, and how to store and clean your jewellery pieces.

What metals can tarnish

Metals tarnishing can leave them looking a little faded and dull or completely black in contrast to their sparkly selves. It depends on the type of metal that you wear, how you wear them and care for the jewellery piece.

Maintaining jewellery can be a challenge, depending on the metal it is made up of. Some metal types like pure gold are resistant to tarnish, and rust and will not dull in colour, whereas other types of metals need frequent maintenance to keep them shining.

Below, we have listed some types of metals that can tarnish.


Brass is a metal alloy made by combining copper and zinc. As soon as brass comes into contact with the skin, a chemical reaction known as oxidation occurs, resulting in tarnish. After the oxidation occurs, it leaves green marks on the skin


The tarnished silver can be caused by a handful of factors and is more common than you would think. Sulfur is found in air particles around cities and industrial areas, moisture, chlorine in swimming pools, and your skin's acidity level.

These all-cause silver to discolour and tarnish. However, there are many ways to clean your tarnished silver, so do not worry! Keep reading to find out about tips for cleaning your tarnished pieces.


The tarnishing of gold jewellery pieces above 14 karats is extremely rare, but it is very slight if it does. By using 14 karat gold over nickel-free brass, gold-plated jewellery pieces ensure that the gold will not rub off over time. Therefore, it may even become a family heirloom that you will treasure for many generations if you keep it for countless years.

Rose gold:

Rose gold jewellery pieces made from pure gold and copper alloys do not necessarily tarnish. Although it can change colour over time, which is moderate. It may become darker or redder in colour after years because the copper in rose gold jewellery pieces slowly oxidises and develops a rich patina.

A patina is the most noticeable on antique jewellery and it takes an exceptionally long time to develop, and they are desirable because of the vintage appeal that many people find adds value and uniqueness to the piece.

Watches are practical

A person will need to check the time several times a day, but of course, they can use their cell phone, but a watch allows you to check time quickly without checking a cell phone. Watches are a stylish and effective way to keep track of time.

Why skin turns green from jewellery

Has your skin been left with a green stain after taking off jewellery? If so, you are not alone, most people have. The green excess is not harmful to you, and it can be washed off your skin with soap and water. This usually happens with multiple metals, like copper, silver, and gold, but most commonly with copper metals.

Think of an old copper coin, have you noticed a green discolouration? It is the same reaction with jewellery, the green colour is typically caused by the acids on your skin that oxidises with the metal causing discolouration. This happens when the copper reacts with sweat, lotions, chemicals, and other products.

Nevertheless, it can happen with a lot of other metals too, just less frequently. For all those reasons, what can you do to prevent the green residue? You can have the jewellery recoated with the precious metal if the protective outer layer has been worn off, or you can also coat them with clear nail polish, to prevent the reaction from the metal.

However, the nail polish will need to be reapplied every now and again. As stated above, getting green stains on the skin from certain jewellery metals is common and it does not hurt or harm your skin. However, if your skin is itchy or red after wearing certain types of metals, then you are most probably dealing with an allergic reaction to the metal instead of a common chemical reaction.

Tips on cleaning your tarnished jewellery

When you clean your jewellery, make sure that the methods are safe to use. Due to metals tarnishing being different from one another, here are a few suggestions on removing tarnish from jewellery by their metal type:


Use a soft polishing cloth with soap and water for cleaning delicately. First, test it on a small area to ensure it is safe, then dry your jewellery piece thoroughly. Leaving water on the metal can make the piece tarnish further.


Wearing your silver-plated jewellery on a regular basis can help keep them clean and their gorgeous gleam due to the natural oils from your skin. However, using a polishing cloth with chemical cleaners for silver jewellery can work for you. Be cautious with the chemicals because they can be extremely toxic if used incorrectly.


Believe it or not, gold does not need to be polished or cleaned because it stays polished naturally. On the other hand, if your gold jewellery does have some tarnish, you can use soap and lukewarm water with a soft cloth for polishing and gently cleaning. After doing so, either air dry or use a delicate towel to dry the jewellery piece.

Rose gold:

To clean your rose gold jewellery, firstly soak it in lukewarm water. Then, using a mild soap and a soft cloth, gently remove any dirt. After cleaning, dry your jewellery with another soft cloth to prevent scratches.

Extra tips:

The best kind of soap to use is a mild soap that does not contain any harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean your jewellery which is safe, especially for precious metals and stones. Protectant spray, usually found in jewellery stores can also help prevent tarnishing, most of all – keep your jewellery dry and store them properly away from moist areas and direct sunlight.

How to store your jewellery without tarnishing

It is normal for jewellery to tarnish, and it is easy to prevent it from happening and to take care of them. There are several ways to store your jewellery to prevent tarnish, depending on what metal and type of jewellery. Here are some tips to consider in order to protect your jewellery pieces:

  • Avoid storing your jewellery in humid places such as the bathroom. Try to keep them dry as much as possible. Metals degrade and tarnish a lot quicker from moisture.
  • Separate your clean and tarnished pieces of jewellery, as the tarnished metals will tarnish faster if kept in contact with each other.
  • To prevent tarnish, organise your jewellery by metal types and separate the fine and semi-fine jewellery using a jewellery box or organiser.
  • Fragile jewellery should be stored in a dark and dry place.
  • Always keep your jewellery cleaned and polished.

We can all agree that jewellery is a special accessory to have, whether they are of sentimental value to you or just something you love. For this reason, you want to keep your jewellery looking its absolute best. As a result of dirt from the atmosphere, skin oils and especially lotions can become dirty. It may tarnish if not cleaned or looked after properly.

Regularly cleaning your jewellery pieces will help keep them looking as stunning as the day they were purchased. It is particularly important to take care of your jewellery and prevent them from tarnishing; our tips mentioned above can help you do this.

Jewellery pieces can be cleaned, inspected, polished, or restored by our staff at Ickinger jewellery, located in Tzaneen. Our team has years of industry experience with considerable knowledge and skills and has been operating since 1968. We have attention to detail that is on point when it comes to jewellery manufacturing and care and will be eager to help you restore your jewellery without hesitation.