Wire-wrapped jewelry has its fans, and understandably I would add, since this technique allows jewelry makers all over the world to create beautiful pieces in a great variety of styles. However, taking care of wire-wrapped jewelry requires us to take some additional precautions. In this post I will briefly go over "how not to" care for wire-wrapped jewelry in preparation for a later blog post on "how to" do it. Both posts will offer simple and easy-to-follow suggestions and recommendations. They all can be implemented with simple tools and materials, and will make your jewelry ready to wear again in no time. But, first of all...what not to do.
Wrapped wire does not like to be brushed, scrubbed or handled roughly. If you are about to follow the recommendation of anyone who is telling you to use a toothbrush, you may want to hold on for a moment and read to the end. While the parts of your jewelry made with the thickest wire are going to be fine, the wrapping made with the thinnest wire is going to be damaged by any amount of scrubbing. The wrapping will lose its regularity and the wire might even come loose and end up scratching you. Although brushes are fine for other jewelry, they are better avoided when it comes to your wire-wrapped pieces.
Some of the methods most often recommended for cleaning jewelry make use of substances that can leave behind a residue. This will tend to gather in all the nooks and crannies and will need to be rinsed well. This is particularly true of toothpaste, one of the cleaning substances most often recommended for silver. This is a real problem for wire-wrapped jewelry and all the minute spaces between its coils. Toothpaste will deposit itself in the narrow spaces between coils and never come out. As tempting as it may be to use something as readily available as toothpaste, it is really not a good idea.
What to use, then? Before choosing, one needs to take into consideration other factors. Is your jewel made with gemstones or pearls? These can be quite prone to damage from all sorts of substances and need to be handled with care. Pearls are particularly delicate and can be so easily damaged they require a cleaning guide all to themselves. If strong chemical substances are used, the surface of gemstones might end up losing its finish and look dull. As you see, things get complicated. So how do you clean wire-wrapped jewelry?
I love hematite, onyx, and chocolate.