Caring for Your Fine Jewelry and Gemstones
Your piece of fine jewelry is a precious possession to be treasured for a lifetime. Understanding how to care for your treasured jewelry can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty and keeping its heirloom quality sparkling for generations to come.
Most fine jewelry can be safely cleaned by simply soaking them for 10 minutes in water with a touch of mild dish washing soap.
The following tips will help you clean and care for your piece of fine jewelry so that its beauty will remain intact for years to come.
Yellow and White Gold Jewelry Care
Most of the jewelry is made of gold. Although it comes in various karats, but the procedure to clean it remains the same.
- Gold jewelry should be removed before showering – this is because soap can cause a film to form on gold jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy.
- You will find many cleaners available in the market to clean your gold jewelry at home but a soft chamois cloth is a good option.
- Avoid chlorine, as it is disastrous at high temperatures and can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry.
- You can remove tarnish by carefully brushing your piece with a soft bristle brush using soap and water mixed with a few drops of ammonia then rinsing it with lukewarm water and allowing it to dry.
- Grease can be removed from gold jewelry by dipping the jewelry into plain rubbing alcohol.
Care of Your Platinum Jewelry
Platinum is one of the strongest of precious metals, never tarnishes and with its intense luster wears beautifully. Scratches and other metallic blemish spots polish completely off. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, extremely dense and remarkably heavy - much more so than silver or gold. Platinum enhances the quality of jewelry and the stones that are set into it.
Platinum jewelry is very easy to care for. Here are a few special tips to keep your platinum jewelry looking like new:
- Remove your platinum jewelry when doing housework, gardening, cooking, bathing or high-energy activities.
- Avoid placing your platinum jewelry where other pieces of jewelry can come into contact with it and can scratch it.
- Once a year, your platinum ring should receive a good polish, removing all the scratches.
- Cleaning should be done on a weekly basis – place your ring into a bottle of jewelry cleaner for 15-20 minutes and rinse off with hot water.
Diamond Jewelry Care
A diamond is the hardest substance known to man. Although your diamond is incredibly durable, it is not indestructible and can be chipped by a strong blow to an edge. Don’t wear your diamond while doing rough work.
While chlorine and bleach won't harm your diamond, they may damage or discolor a gold or white gold mounting. Have your ring checked and cleaned at least once a year preferably every six months.
These additional tips will help you clean and care for your diamond jewelry so that its beauty will remain intact for years to come.
- Never wear your diamond while doing rough or hard work.
- Store your diamond jewelry separately because diamonds can scratch other jewelry or each other.
- Clean your diamonds regularly using jewelry cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution and use a soft brush to wipe dust or dirt from under the setting.
- For everyday light cleaning use a baby toothbrush and warm sudsy water in a bowl.
Color Gemstone Care
There are some general care and cleaning rules that apply to all colored gemstone jewelry.
- After wearing, wipe your precious gemstone jewelry thoroughly with a clean soft, slightly damp cloth to ensure that your jewelry is clean before storage.
- Store gemstone pieces individually in soft pouches.
- Do not expose your precious gemstone pieces to salt water or harsh chemicals, such as chlorine or detergents, which may slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones.
- Hair spray, perfume and perspiration may cause jewelry to become dull.
- Do not subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes.
- If you have an active lifestyle, take extra precautions with some types of gemstone jewelry such as emeralds which are brittle and should not be worn when doing household chores or any other activity where the stone could be hit or damaged.
- Use ultrasonic cleaners for diamonds, rubies and sapphires only, as this type of cleaning can damage emerald, opal, pearl and some other colored gemstones.
Stones such as lapis, turquoise, coral, onyx and malachite are sometimes treated to enhance natural color or luster. Although this treatment is generally colorfast, it may run upon contact with hair spray, perfume, or dry cleaning solution. Never wear these stones while bathing, swimming, or while working with chemicals or detergents, as they may ruin the finish of the stones. Avoid exposure of these stones to any chemicals or detergents. Shell cameos, as well as those carved from blue, green or brown agate, require simple cleaning with a damp cloth. No chemical dips, ultrasonic or steam cleaning.
Pearl Jewelry Care
The surface coating, or "nacre" of cultured pearls is a soft organic material which requires special care to prevent chipping, cracking or discoloration. If your cultured pearls become heavily soiled, it's time for a professional cleaning and restringing. Your pearls should be professionally cleaned and restrung every four to six years (more frequently if you wear them often). Ordinary wear and air pollution will weaken the silk threads on which they are strung.
To preserve your pearls radiance follow these simple tips:
- Keep pearls away from household chemicals like hair spray, makeup and perfumes which can dull their luster over time and cause spots and blotches.
- Since pearls are very soft, choose pearls with thick nacre which can last long and withstand wear over time.
- The best way is to wear them often because the body's natural oil keeps them lustrous.
- Pearls should be wiped with a soft cloth before being stored and kept separate from other precious metals or gemstones that might scratch or dull their tender surfaces.
- Never wear cultured pearls while bathing, swimming or while working with chemicals. All of these substances will damage the nacre coating of your cultured pearls or the silk on which they are strung.
- Use a clean, soft, dry cloth to wipe your pearls after wearing. Store them in a soft pouch or cloth to prevent scratching by other jewelry.
Do's and Don'ts
DO let your jeweler check for loose stones frequently.
DO get pearls restrung when the cord begins to fray.
DO clean fine jewelry often to maintain its sparkle and beauty.
DO store fine jewelry carefully.
DO store jewelry in a dry place and avoid extremes of temperature and humidity.
DO keep gemstone-studded jewelry, pearls, and gold and silver pieces separated from each other to prevent scratching. Store fine jewelry pieces in soft pouches, soft cloth wraps or plastic "zip-lock" bags to help protect them.
DON'T wear fine jewelry when doing housework or gardening.
DON'T heap your jewelry into one drawer. Remember a diamond ring can scratch that pearl necklace. Keep them separate and ideally wrapped in velvet, paper, silk or plastic zip-lock bag.
DON'T use toothpaste as its abrasives can damage softer gems and metals. Use a soft brush on harder gems to loosen any dirt around the prongs. To reduce greasy build-up on diamond jewelry, dip it in plain alcohol before soaking.
DON'T overcrowd your jewelry box. Crowding can result in misplaced or lost jewelry if a small piece falls unnoticed from the case. Occasionally, forcing too much jewelry into the box may even bend a fragile piece or chip a delicate stone.