1. Minimise the time your jewellery is worn. Wear them after makeup & applying perfume, hairspray, moisturiser, and take them off before doing anything else when you reach home. Do not swim with your jewellery on (chlorine blackens them).
2. Wipe down with a clean dry cloth. Do not wash under running water unless you know what you're doing. Moisture causes plated jewellery to rust/tarnish (cosmetics & skin oils also), rhinestones will become dull and glue/threads/cords weakened with accumulation of water.
3. Toothpaste is abrasive and baking soda water too so if you really want to use them to remove tarnish, limit it to cleaning 925 plain silver jewellery. I prefer using silver polishing cloth and mild silver polish liquid. It's usually better not to polish antiqued-silver, or vintage silver that has a nice patina. Do not use silver polish/ Brasso on gold plated materials, it strips the gold plating.
4. Store in ziplock bag only after completely dried. Only exception is opals & pearls which need to breathe so store in fabric bags.
5. No newspapers or rubber bands especially on silver items.
6. Store jewellery separately as some materials are harder than others and will scratch the softer materials.
7. Vintage items are decades old and requires mindful handling and tender loving care.
Keeping your jewellery free of moisture, air and dust will let you enjoy your jewels for much longer.
REMOVING VERDIGRIS (green oxidation)
Verdigris is a form of green corrosion which can be quite unsightly and it is recommended to remove it if your jewellery is 'infected' as it can grow and spread. It occurs with moisture on copper and brass. Any gold or silver plating is usually compromised if verdigris has occurred. Of course an exception to keep verdigris are copper artisan-jewellery where it was created as a texture!
To remove verdigris I like to use clear vinegar. I find that alcohol works with removing some of the buildup too. Use a sharp toothpick to remove the buildup if the layer is very thick. Use cotton buds (Q-tips, cotton swabs) soaked in vinegar and rub it off. Be gentle as too much rubbing can cause excessive plating wear. Alternatively you can let the item sit in a tissue soaked with vinegar for about 10 mins; this will make it easier to clean off. Do not use on sterling silver, genuine coral & pearls, and foil-backed rhinestones.
MAKING CLIP EARRINGS MORE COMFORTABLE!
For every new clip earring you buy, manufacturers expect you to loosen them before wearing as they always pinch by default. Unless it is designed to be a comfy clip like Monet's swivel clip or screw-back clips, you should take some time to adjust the clips if they feel uncomfortable, or end up with a bruised earlobe! It is easier to make them looser than to make them tighter.
Solution 1: Buy earring cushions if they are still bearable or slightly loose.
Solution 2: Use a flat pliers or butter knife to lift the 'tongue' of the clip (it's that top part that rests on the top of the base of the soldered clip). This allows some ease in the spring action! Do it slowly, trying it on after adjusting bit by bit. Alternatively you can use your pliers to shift the entire base backwards to increase the space between the earring surface and the clip itself. Please take care not too use too much force or you may just break the clip off! There are also video tutorials on Youtube on how to loosen the clips.