Jewelry 101: How to Care for Your Thumbies’ Jewelry and Keepsakes


At Thumbies, we pride ourselves on creating hand-crafted jewelry that is perfect to the smallest detail. Each of our pieces is designed to form a personal connection with its wearer while being a premium keepsake of a loved one.

Proper care is an important part of caring for your Thumbies’ keepsake to ensure that it can be worn and enjoyed – and even passed on – over the years to come.

Given the emotional value that a piece of memorial jewelry holds for its wearers, it’s not surprising that we get a lot of questions around the best way to care for such pieces. So we’ve turned to our experts, like Thumbies Senior Jewelry Expert and Co-Owner Bret Dougherty, to pull together some tips for how you can keep your jewelry looking its best for years of wearing. 

Read on to learn more about good jewelry maintenance practices. And be sure to check back for more in our series of “Jewelry 101” educational blogs where we will address the topics and questions that are the most frequent source of questions from our customers.

Jewelry Care Rules of Thumb(ies)

Much like anything else of value that is used frequently, your jewelry should be checked by a professional from time to time. Wear and tear can begin showing in the joints, chain, or bail (the connector between your pendant and chain.) You will also want to have your jewelry cleaned periodically to remove any tarnish or other sediment.

As part of your own practices, we recommend removing your jewelry before using a pool or hot tub or taking a dip in the ocean. Chlorine and saltwater are not kind to jewelry and can blacken silver jewelry in just one dip. Sulfur, a component of salt, is actually used by jewelry makers to force the tarnishing process when a shadowing effect is desired.

Polishing 101

If you see a bit of tarnish on silver jewelry, a polishing cloth is an easy and effective way to remove it. The cloth not only creates the friction necessary to remove the tarnish, but also has a bit of polishing compound to help the process. You can also use a soft toothbrush and a bit of cleaning solution to gently clean both gold and silver jewelry. Be cautious when cleaning yellow bronze however, which is plated with palladium that can rub off if polished too aggressively.

“One caveat is to make sure you follow the directions that come with any jewelry-cleaning solution,” says Dougherty. That means not leaving a piece soaking for longer than the recommended time, no matter how dirty you think your jewelry is. Cleaning solution removes tarnish by attacking metal, so a long soaking is not a good idea, he says.

As an added bit of assurance, every Thumbies print is kept in a digital vault, so if by chance a piece is lost or damaged beyond repair, it can always be recreated.

Do you have more questions about caring for your Thumbies jewelry or keepsake? Give us a call or click on the link below to learn more. You can also email us at to suggest topics for a future blog.

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