I hope you are safe, well and keeping your spirits up in these uncertain times. While the situation is constantly changing, there are some guidelines for us to follow to help slow the spread of COVID-19. From keeping our physical distance to only leaving our homes for essential trips to frequent hand washing and disinfecting surfaces-these are all things we can do to keep ourselves, and our communities, safer.
But, what to do about our jewelry? This is a question I've been wondering about myself, both as a jewelry lover and designer. A quick Google Search later, and I didn't have any real, definitive answers-there just hasn't been research done on how long COVID-19 lives on gold, silver and various gemstones yet. The best article I found was this one from the Huffington Post.
Based on what I could find and what I already know, here are my tips on keeping jewelry clean against COVID-19:
Rings and other types of jewelry that are worn on or near the hands, such as bracelets, deserve extra attention because they are the most likely culprits in trapping and spreading the virus. If you can, limit the amount of rings and bracelets you wear. The ones you keep on wearing, like engagement and wedding bands, need to be washed well when you wash your hands-you may need to take them off in order to make sure all their nooks and crannies get clean.
Necklaces and Earrings
Much like the current admonition to not touch your face, stopping yourself from touching your necklace and earrings while you're wearing them is easier said than done. I'm totally guilty of playing with my jewelry when I'm bored and/or nervous, so I know it can be tough to stop the habit. The best thing is to wash your jewelry in a bowel of warm, soapy water and to keep washing/sanitizing your hands frequently after touching different surfaces, including your favorite jewelry pieces.
Gemstones and Precious Metals
Most of the materials used to create jewelry can handle the frequent hand washing and sanitizing chemicals, but there are some gemstones and metals that need special consideration. Sterling silver tarnishes faster when it's exposed to sulfates found in many soaps and lotions, so I recommend using a Castile-type hand soap and taking off any silver jewelry before applying hand and body lotion (this will also help prevent dirt and germs from building up on all jewelry surfaces). Organic and porous gems-such as pearls, amber, opals, turquoise, and emeralds-can't handle harsh cleaners and sanitizers; they must be gently cleaned with a mild soap and soft cloth or brush.
Tools and Supplies Needed
- Clean, Soft Toothbrush-keep separate from personal care toothbrush
- Mild liquid soap or detergent-preferably one without sulfates
- Clean water-filtered or distilled is best for jewelry surfaces
- Two small bowls- one for washing and one for rinsing
- Clean, soft cloth or paper towel fro drying your jewelry
I wrote another post here on The Fab(ricating) Life in 2019 on how to clean your jewelry without using toxic chemicals that has also has great jewelry care tips. You can read it here. I'm also working ways to keep my clients safe when I send them their new jewelry that they've bought on JosieGraff.com. I've been making sure to wash my hands before packaging orders, and I'm including small alcohol pads for disinfecting with every order I mail out.
I hope this information and list of tips help you take more control over your health and safety in these unusual and trying times!
Josie Graff Jewelry Design