How to Clean & Care for your jade necklace
04 Feb 2016

How to Clean & Care for your jade necklace

With a little bit of maintenance your jade necklace will last for generations and become more beautiful as time passes. Explore our recommendations below, and keep in mind that these are recommendations for nephrite jade, not jadeite.

1. Wearing your necklace helps

When our carvers finish a necklace they soak it in oil for around an hour. This brings out the carvings beautiful colour. Carvings rarely lose this sheen from the initial oiling because the oils from your skin soak into the carving when you wear it, maintaining the sheen. The only exception to this is very porous pieces of jade. If you notice 'whiter' dried areas on the carving that appear over time then your carving may be carved from softer porous stone. If you see these dry spots read on.

2. Oil it

All jade is porous. Some parts of the rock are more so than others and have a harder time retaining oil so we recommend oiling the necklace each week to stop dry spots appearing over time as follows:

- Using a paper towel, dab a light, odourless oil (canola is good) onto the carving and rub all over. Avoid getting it directly on the cord.

- Leave the carving covered in oil for 5-10 minutes.

- Use a dry paper towel to remove all the oil from the carving.

- Done

3. Don't drop or bang it

It may be an obvious care guideline, but you would be surprised at how many people manage to drop or bang their necklaces on a hard surface. As a carver and wearer of jade myself, I follow a few basic rules to minimise the risk:

a. Wear your jade necklace high around the neck

The lower you wear the necklace around the neck the further it can swing out from your body when you move. This makes it more likely to swing into bench tops or walls. Wear it higher on the neck to ensure it's safe.

a. Tuck it under clothing when moving about

Wearers of pounamu and jade can be split into two groups: Those that want to display the beauty of their carving on the outside of their clothing, and those that want it worn close to their skin under clothing. Those that wear it under their clothing are less likely to bang it. So if you love wearing your necklace on the outside of your clothing tuck it away when you're being active moving around the house or playing sport for example.

a. Take your necklace off and put it on over a soft surface

My necklace has a jade toggle which I have to thread through a loop around my neck to fasten it. When I'm standing up trying to thread the toggle through the small hole around my neck it's high risk. Too often have customers thought they threaded the toggle through the hole correctly to start walking and have it fall on the hard ground and smash. If your necklace does have a toggle I recommend sitting down so that your lap can act as a 'screen' to catch the necklace if you thread it incorrectly. It also means the necklace won't fall as far.

If you have sliding knots that adjust the length of your cord rather than a toggle, make the cord as long as possible before putting it over your head and then tighten it to the desired length.

4. Jade and metal necklaces

Follow the jade care guides above for the jade. Maintaining the silver or gold component of the necklace is a different story as they tarnish over time reacting with elements in the air and oxidising. This results in a browning, dulling, or blackening of the metal. Tarnishing can be removed in one of two easy ways:

a. Clean metal with a jewellery wipe

If the metal used in your necklace can be reached with a jewellery cloth then use it to clean the affected areas. Rubbing will remove the tarnish. You can purchase these cloths on Amazon. If you cant reach the tarnished area with the cloth use a jewellery bath.

b. Use a jewellery 'bath'

Jewellery baths are small plastic jars filled with a sieve and a strong solvent. Place your necklace into the sieve and then dip it in and out of the bath as many times as you need to remove the tarnish. The chemicals in the bath react with the tarnish and dissolve it. Like the cloths above these baths can also be purchased on Amazon. Re-oil the jade afterward and don't worry about getting oil on the metal because it wont damage it.

c. Protect your investment

For many of us the true value of the jade necklaces lay in the love and care the carving represents. When a loved one purchases you that first piece of jade they do so with the knowledge it will last a lifetime. For that lifetime, it will represent something shared, and act as a permanent reminder of that connection. I have been following the basic guideline above for years now and am confident that if you do the same you'll protect your piece of jade ensuring that it outlasts even you.

5. Cleaning and care FAQ's

These are some of the cleaning and care questions we're asked frequently.

a. Can I wear my necklace in the shower?

Yes. Soaps will not affect the colour or finish of your stone. The only thing it could effect is the plaited cord, weakening it a little faster than if you didn't wear it in the shower.

b. The binding of my necklace has come undone. What do I do?

We have just finished writing an article labelled 'What to do if your jade necklace is broken' where we answer this question. View it here.

c. My necklace has broken. What do I do?

You can find answers to this question here.

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