Recently, I received a call about how to care for one of the jewelry pieces purchased. How wonderful that the art enthusiast was concerned over how to pamper the one-of-a-kind item they'd collected. I realized that I am remiss to have not included care instructions for the different techniques applied and gemstones included with the pieces.
Above are some of the 'simple' designs; One metal, one stone. Actually, that's Fine Silver and Sterling Silver but the care would be the same. From the simple to complex mixed metal pieces: Every piece of my work goes through a buff-polishing with Simichrome or Flitz polishing compounds. After that somewhat abrasive process, the piece is washed with a toothbrush and soap. The finishing is exacted with a jewelry polishing cloth.
To begin the cleaning process, it makes sense to wash your piece off with soap (and even with a toothbrush if you've got one to spare). If you've got a pearl in your piece, I would stop there or avoid any other contact with the stone. If you have a piece with 'patina' (such as darkness caused by potassium sulfate on the silver, copper, or Keum Boo, or colors on your copper you like) a polishing cloth is the next and final step.
If a high polish is what you loved about the piece when you got it (I love polishing to the point of a piece looking like it's wet or liquid), applying a polishing compound on a rag or buffing wheel at low speed will bring that back. Keep in mind, if you have a scratch-able stone like opal or pearl, be careful with an abrasive polisher. I DO NOT use any kind of vibratory or immersible/chemical polishing method. The reason for this is the fact that there are so many different ratings of hardness and porousness through the body of stone and jewelry work on each individual piece that it becomes a gamble.
This article will be continued with more information about polishing, use, and storage of the jewelry art!