Caring for your jewellery

Designer Abby Seymour shares a simple step-by-step guide to ensure your jewellery stays beautiful

Jewellery in the making in the studio of Abby Seymour

Photo: Tara Pearce, styled by Stephanie Stamatis, courtesy of Abby Seymour

When you purchase a piece of jewellery, you are investing in a lifetime of memories. The more love you show a piece, the more tarnished or dirty it will get—but not to worry, here are some simple tips and tricks you can do at home to return your jewellery to look like it did on the first day you bought it.

To ensure your jewellery stays beautiful, follow these simple guidelines:

  • All beauty products, such as perfume, hairspray and deodorant should be applied before putting on your jewellery.
  • Remove your jewellery prior to swimming or cleaning the house, where your jewellery could come into contact with chemicals.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning products or proprietary jewellery cleaning products to restore pieces, doing so may damage the jewellery. Use mild soapy water.
  • To avoid the rate of oxidisation/tarnishing to your silver or brass jewellery it is recommended to store them in a ziplock bag to prevent the acceleration of this process.

Here are some simple home remedies that can be used to clean your pieces without expensive, smelly or poisonous products.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is a beautiful bright white, warm shiny metal. Fine/pure silver is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal. This means, however, that it will tarnish over time, especially when exposed to oxygen, salty air or water.

The different between a tarnished silver earring and a clean silver earring

To clean your sterling silver jewellery, expensive polishing cleaners are not required. The following method can be used with bi-carb soda or plain non-gel toothpaste.

  1. Mix together a teaspoon of bi-carb soda and water to create a paste.
  2. Using a toothbrush, lightly scrub the paste into all crevices.
  3. Once it is cleaned, rinse it under water and dry using a cloth.


Photos: Abby Seymour

A step by step photo guide to caring for your sterling silver jewellery


Brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc with varying proportions, and when polished has a similar appearance to 14K gold. A characteristic of brass is that it will naturally tarnish over time and develop a darker, more antiqued patina on the surface.

Giving your brass jewellery a clean will bring it back to life and resemble 14K gold

To bring your brass jewellery back the beautiful warm golden lustre of the material, you can clean with vinegar/lemon juice and dishwashing liquid soap to polish.

  1. Squeeze lemon juice over the piece.
  2. Lightly scrub over the surface of the piece using a toothbrush, rinse under water.
  3. Using a strong nylon brush scrub lightly in a circular motion with water and liquid soap, then rinse under water.
  4. Make sure to always dry brass straight away with a soft cloth to prevent it from tarnishing.

Photos: Abby Seymour

A step by step photo guide to caring for your brass jewellery

14K Gold

Gold is one of the easiest metals to care for as it does not need to be cleaned regularly. If cleaning is required, an ultrasonic cleaner is most effective, especially if there are diamonds and gems set in the material. Please bear in mind that gold can be quite soft depending on how many carats it is. The higher the carat of the piece, the softer it is and the more easily it can be dented.

Oxidised Silver

The process of oxidising the silver uses liver of sulphur to turn the metal’s surface black. The best way to clean oxidised pieces is to use a soft sponge or cotton ball with a dab of methylated spirits and wipe gently to remove any grease or dirt. Do not rub too hard or use an abrasive surface or solvent. Your piece can always be re-oxidised inexpensively. Contact Abby to engage with this service.


Unglazed porcelain can attract dirt on the surface after wearing against the skin. To clean, softly wash under warm water, using a mild soap if needed and then dry.

For other alternatives and comprehensive information about the materials Abby uses, as well as cleaning all jewellery pieces and extensive care instructions, or to contact Abby to use her repair service or ultrasonic cleaner visit

Portrait of Melbourne-based jewellery designer Abby Seymour

Abby Seymour

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