By Sue Teresa Tan

Your jewelry's lifespan depends on the care with which it is treated. Various care instructions are usually needed to keep your jewelry looking good as new. It also depends on what material your jewelry is made of. Gold and platinum jewelry need different cleaning and care instructions than silver ones. Gem-studded jewelry is cleaned differently than gold, silver and platinum.


Silver jewelry does not actually rust. Those dark spots that you see are called tarnish. It is a mixture of silver and sulfur, called silver sulfide. When silver oxidizes, it eats away the surface of the silver. Fortunately, removing tarnish can be easily done using household materials.

Place aluminum foil in the bottom of a glass dish. Place the tarnished jewelry inside the dish. Be sure that it comes in contact with the aluminum foil.

Heat one quart of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Set in the sink and add ¼ cup of baking soda. Add the baking soda slowly while the saucepan is in the sink. Stir until baking soda is completely dissolved.

Pour the solution into the glass dish until the jewelry is fully immersed. Wait until tarnish is gradually removed. Badly tarnished jewelry usually takes longer before tarnish is completely removed.

Remove the jewelry from the glass dish and wipe dry with a soft cloth.