Nothing beats the level of excitement when you first take ownership of a new piece of jewellery. Perhaps it has been bought for you by a loved one and has a special connotation, but either way, you cannot wait to wear it out and show it off to your friends. You may own a number of pieces of jewellery that you have accumulated over the years and like to take care of them very carefully, but nevertheless, you've noticed that they may not look as good as they did when they were new and wonder what you can do about it. Certainly, you may be aware of tarnish, but have you ever heard of a problem known as "patina?"
The Passage of Time
As time goes by, silver has a tendency to acquire tiny marks on its surface, due to its soft consistency. This may cause it to take on a grey hue instead, even though it's been well cared for. This phenomenon is known as patina and is an issue that is unique to silver.
On the other hand, you may be more familiar with tarnish, essentially a chemical reaction that can affect various metals and will cause your jewellery to become dull or faded.
What to Do
These issues are a fact of life when you own a jewellery collection and can be exacerbated by everyday life or even the air that people breathe. The good news is that there are ways to deal with it, so you don't need to despair.
How to Clean
Start by getting a simple polishing cloth from your jeweller, which is great for removing a light tarnish from any soiled items. You should start with jewellery that you haven't worn for a while, as this will probably be the most affected, and always polish towards the grain and not against it.
Some people are tempted to polish in concentric circles, but experts advise that this is not the best approach. If you have some really difficult to reach places, you may use an old toothbrush instead. When finished with the cloth, don't just toss it into the drawer, but keep it in an airtight bag and that will protect its ability to help you in the future.
If you have a particular item that is very badly affected, then you can sometimes use a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, which you rub onto its surface. Be careful when using this approach, however, and only use it sparingly.
If you need any more tips to help you care for your jewellery, have a word with the experts at your local store.