How to care for your Ellen Cohen Design

Sterling silver tarnishes when exposed to oxygen and sulfur. Wool, felt, rubber, and latex all emit sulfur and can cause tarnish. Storing your jewelry in a wood jewelry box and in air tight containers will help prevent tarnishing. Do not store in a bathroom—  humidity and moisture are the enemy. Avoid swimming or bathing in your jewelry. Avoid rough wear, perfume, hairspray, cleaning detergents and lotions which may contain chemicals. Keep items dry and stored in an airtight bag inside a pouch or jewelry box.

3M Anti-Tarnish Strips are readily available. This will help slow tarnishing when placed in your air tight container with your piece.


Oxidized sterling silver without stones

For textural oxidized pieces (without stones), I usually use 0000 steel wool. This can be purchased at a hardware store. Work over a paper towel, as the steel wool can be messy. The benefit of this method is that it does not involve any chemicals, it is fast, inexpensive and easy. Hold the piece in one hand and use the other to rub the steel wool over the high parts of the piece. This will brighten the high areas and leave the “background” oxidized, bringing out the texture.

Another method I use (mostly on smaller pieces) is to put a tiny little dab of toothpaste (not gel) on my finger—and rub it on the part I want to shine up. Rinse with warm water.

Polished and matte finished sterling silver without stones

Polishing cloths are a good option for shiny and matte finished jewelry.  Sunshine or Selvyt brand cloths are lint free micro fiber which will remove tarnish and clean silver, gold, brass, and copper.
*Note that these cloths come in different colors (abrasiveness) and you want to match the cloth with the finish.

Goddards Silver Dip is readily available—be sure to follow directions and rinse with cool water. Pat your piece dry with a clean cloth and be sure it is completely dry before returning it to an airtight container. Do not dip jewelry containing stones or pearls.

Pieces with stones

Never dip a piece with stones—softer stones can be negatively affected.

I hold my fingers over the stones so I don’t scratch them and use steel wool or toothpaste, being careful to avoid the stones. Pearls and stones can be negatively affected so care must be taken. A soft brass brush might help get the toothpaste in or out of tight spots.

Polishing cloths (see above) are another good option, but work around the stone—better safe than sorry!

Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions with any cloth or dip you use.

Handmade cables

If your piece came with a handmade cable, care should be taken. Although these cables won’t crimp as easily as other cables, they will crimp. Always store flat and handle with care. Do not wipe your cable with an abrasive polishing compound or polishing cloth. If you want to remove tarnish, you can use a liquid tarnish remover such as Tarn-X. Read and follow the directions on the bottle. Immediately rinse the cable in very warm running water and pat the cable dry. I recommend laying the cable flat to pat. Do not wipe with a polishing cloth. Do not pull a cloth along the length of the cable. The pulling and wiping action will cause a discoloration on the cable and could result in damage to the cable.

If in doubt...

don't do it! Instead, reach out to Ellen Cohen. Always better to be safe than sorry. Pieces can be shipped back to Ellen Cohen Design for cleaning. Ellen Cohen Design is only responsible for damage when cleaning is done by Ellen Cohen Design.

Ellen Cohen Design cannot be held responsible for damage that occurs from cleaning your own pieces or for the care of your Ellen Cohen jewelry. These are suggestions only.