Caring for Your Beaded Jewelry and Accessories
Upon purchasing beaded jewelry and accessories, you may be wondering the best way to care for your precious new item(s). Don't fear, it's not too difficult and if you follow some general guidelines, your jewelry should be around and remain just as beautiful as the day you bought it, for generations to come.
- Become familiar with your beadwork. Learn what kind of beads, other materials, and thread, cord or wire were used to make it. If you don't know all of the materials, then contact the person who made it and ask them, bring the item to someone who makes similar jewelry, or evaluate the beadwork yourself and come to your own best conclusion so that you can take proper care of it. Learning about your beadwork is the first step in understanding the best way to care for it.
- Store your beadwork in its own soft cloth or bag. Seed beads and many other types of beads can be scratched if left to intermingle with each other or other hard surfaces. Scratching can leave your beads dull and dirty looking over time. In addition, jewelry becomes tangled very easily when left to intermingle. It's better to keep each piece in it's own soft bed. Any soft cloth or bag will work, chamois is a popular choice, but other soft materials or the container that your beadwork came in will work also.
- Store your jewelry in a cool, dry, dark place. No, I don't mean in a basement or under your bed; however, keep in mind that sunlight causes fading on various materials, including many beads, so it's best to keep your beadwork out of the sun. In addition, constant heat can dry out many materials that may be a part of your beadwork, including certain threads, leathers, and other materials. Finally, too much moisture can weaken the materials used to string and beautify your beadwork.
- Do not expose your beadwork to makeup, lotions, or other chemicals for your body. This includes perfumes, body sprays, deodorants, gels, hairspray, soap, etc. Always remove your beadwork prior to bathing, showering, or applying body chemicals.
- Remove your beadwork while using or near chemicals. Beadwork doesn't agree with harsh chemicals, so whether it's home, garden, or work, do not expose your beadwork to chemicals to keep it safe and beautiful.
- Clean your beadwork with a soft cloth. Most times all you need to clean and shine your beadwork is a soft cloth such as chamois or a silver cleaning cloth. For larger jobs you can use some non-abrasive toothpaste by rubbing a small amount on and polishing it off with a soft cloth. Do not use paper towels or other paper products because they can cause scratching.
- Do not submerse your beadwork in water. You should always remove your beadwork while bathing or showering. Some beads will lose their color and some stringing materials will become weak after being submersed in water, this is because water can seep in and never completely dry out causing mold and rot. In addition, leather should never be cleaned with water and will become hard if submersed. For leather materials, use leather cleaner, and for suede use a special suede cleaning brush.
- Be gentle with your beadwork. While I, and many beaders that I know, use the highest quality materials to keep your beadwork in tact and beautiful for years to come, sometimes beadwork is made with a thinner or more delicate thread due to the specific bead or to achieve a certain look, but with the the right care and a gentle touch, even the most delicate beadwork can last generations.
Please feel free to print these instructions for your own personal use. Also, you may share these instructions with others by giving them the URL to this page. Any other use is strictly prohibited. Thank you!