Looking For Ways to Extend the Life of Your Costume Jewelry?
Updated: Feb 4
How to Keep Your Jewelry from Tarnishing
This is one of the most important and common questions I always get. All fashion & costume jewelry may tarnish over time, but there are a lot of things you can do to keep your jewelry shiny and good as new. This all comes down to how you care for your pieces. We always recommend storing your jewelry in environments that are cool and dry (avoid the steamy bathroom), and always make sure you remove your jewelry before showering or working out. Be mindful when applying perfumes, lotions, and sunscreens. To be safe it is always good to put your jewelry as the last step of your morning routine.
So why does fashion jewelry tarnish?
Unlike fine jewelry that's made with materials like gold, platinum, diamonds, and gemstones that can cost a fortune, fashion and costume jewelry is crafted with more common components like plated metals, sterling silver semi-precious stones, beads, and glass, making it more affordable. These materials are used as alternatives to create a similar look and style to fine jewelry without the high cost of real gold and diamonds. Your fashion and costume jewelry likely won't last forever, but you can minimize signs of wear and extend their longevity by properly caring for them and choosing well-crafted pieces.
The truth is, ALL fashion and costume jewelry is capable of tarnishing - and some faster than others. Why? It's simple - over time, your jewelry comes in contact with moisture, acids, oils, and air. They react with the metal in the jewelry, causing it to eventually wear down and tarnish. Have you ever left sterling silver out and noticed it's become a dark tone? That's from the metal reacting to moisture and sulfur in the air. Even vermeil, 10k-18k gold plated, and gold-filled jewelry are not resistant to tarnishing. They'll eventually show signs of wear, but are likely to hold up better than jewelry not plated this way. How quickly jewelry tarnishes depends on a number of factors - the way you care for them, your skin composition, the air around you, and the processes and materials used to make them. We have a few tips on how to keep jewelry from tarnishing.
Ways to Keep Your Jewelry From Tarnishing
You might not be able to control the air around you or the skin you live in, but you can control the way you take care of your jewelry! Here are ways on how to keep costume jewelry from tarnishing.
Keep It Dry
The fastest way to tarnish your jewelry is by contact with moisture and liquids. This includes putting on lotions, washing your hands, a spritz of perfume, and sweating with your jewels on. Even the oils on your skin can wear down the plating and metals over time - and this will again vary from person to person. Get your jewels wet by accident? Be sure to wipe and dry them off right away.
Store It Properly
Listen up, 'cause this one's important. Because exposure to the simplest things like the moisture in the air can wear down your jewels, it's important to store them properly. Store your jewels separately so they are safe from scratches and chips.
Take it up a level by storing your jewels in a Ziploc bag - but you'll want to make sure you get rid of as much air as possible before sealing it. With the air removed, the metal won't be able to oxidize from the air. Super keen on keeping your favorite pieces in tip-top shape? Get some 3M anti-tarnish strips. These super absorbent pieces of paper will basically suck all of the culprits in the surrounding air that will cause your jewelry to tarnish over time. Stick one in your jewelry drawer, jewelry box or storage pouch.
Try a Jewelry Protectant Spray
Give your jewelry a protective shield to fight the elements that contribute to tarnishing. Not only can it protect your favorite pieces longer, but some sprays can also protect you from allergies like irritation and rashes for those with extra sensitive skin.
Give It a Break
Treat your jewelry with love and care, and they'll keep sparkling for you for a long time.
I know what you're thinking - this is a LOT of work for your jewels. And hey, most of us won't go past keeping your jewelry dry and storing them in your pouches or boxes and that's okay. But if there's a particular piece that you're absolutely in love with and want to have for a long time, you know the steps you can take to keep it in the best condition.
One last tip - at the end of the day, any jewelry that is NOT made from gold or platinum is prone to tarnishing. If this is something you're particularly concerned with, choosing pieces that are plated with karat gold, rhodium, vermeil, gold-filled, and higher-end costume and fashion jewelry (that may come at a premium) will help extend its life. Alternatively, you can always invest in fine jewelry for classic, staple pieces.
Choose the right jewels and take proper care of them.