One of the things we love most about what we do at O&P is that we get to design jewelry for you (and us) that makes you shine!
Unlike fine jewelry that's made with materials like gold, platinum, diamonds and gemstones that can cost a fortune, fashion jewelry is crafted with more common components like plated metals, semi-precious stones, beads, and glass, making it more affordable and guilt-free. ;)
These materials are used as alternatives to create a similar look and style to fine jewelry without the high cost of solid gold and diamonds. Your fashion 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.
So why does fashion jewelry tarnish?
The truth is, ALL fashion jewelry necklaces, earrings or bracelets are 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 that we'll get to!
And why does some jewelry turn my skin green?
Have you ever worn a ring on your finger and taken it off to reveal a magical green stain underneath? Most of us probably have! This green ring is caused by the acids on your skin oxidizing the metal. Whether or not this happens to you and to what extent will vary based on your body chemistry. But if you see green, don't fret - it's not harmful to you and doesn't mean your jewels are unsafe. This happens often with pieces made from copper, but even silver and gold metals can cause discoloration too.
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.
1. 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!
2. 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. All of the jewels you receive from us come with a cloth pouch - use this to keep your jewels protected from the sun and 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.
3. 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, rashes and hives, that our extra sensitive girls get to costume jewelry! We use Tarnish Me Not on our personal jewelry collection (including crystals!) to keep them newer longer and to shield against irritation. It's also 100% hypoallergenic and cruelty-free.
4. Give It a Break
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 cloth pouches 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!
A last tip - at the end of the day, fashion jewelry 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 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! :)