How to Care for Your Jewelry

The best way to clean your jewellery is to bring them to your local jeweler. However, it may not always work. It seems that every Saturday, as you get dressed up for a wedding or dinner, your jewelry starts to lose a little of its sparkle and glisten.

Schedule for Jewelry MaintenanceYou can easily keep track of your jewelry by keeping it in a single place like a jewelry box or safe. It’s not uncommon for someone to notice that a diamond is missing or damaged from their jewelry over time. A checklist that you keep in your jewelry box is a great reminder. Every fine piece of jewelry with gemstones that is worn frequently should be brought in to a jeweler. He will inspect for any wear on the prongs or closures. It is easy for jewelry to become metal fatigued and erode over time when it comes in contact regularly with coarse surfaces.

Jewelry Erosion
When gold or another precious metal rubs against each other, or other surfaces, it is called “erosion”. The metals that rub against surfaces such as counter tops, stones, or minerals slowly erodes. Your jeweler can recommend the necessary repairs before an item is broken or is lost. This preventive measure is recommended to prolong the jewelry’s life.

Jewelry Metal Fatigue
Metal fatigue happens when metal is constantly bent or knocked on. To understand this, imagine a coat hanger being bent backwards several times until it cracks. Metal fatigue occurs when metal is hit hard on doors, such as a ring or bracelet. It can also be caused by constant spring clasp depressions and the impact of hitting your doorknob with a ring or bracelet.

Professional Jewelry Maintenance
A professional jeweler should inspect everyday items, such as rings and tennis bracelets, every 6 months. Annual inspections are recommended for jewelry worn less frequently. A trained professional in jewelry will inspect your clasps and prongs to ensure that they are free from wear. The jeweler will examine your prongs for missing stones and help you tighten them.

Professional Jewelry Cleaning
Most jewelers will clean, polish, and restore the luster of your jewelry while it waits. Advanced jewelers may also be able polish your jewelry with multiple compounds. They might be able also to restore a white gold’s rhodium finish. Jewelers with higher qualifications will be able steam clean and ultrasonically clean the jewelry. Your jeweler must be knowledgeable about the delicate nature of precious materials, including gemstones and patinas. This will help to avoid any damage to your items.

Home Jewelry Cleaning
First, understand your jewelry to ensure a clean and safe cleaning at home.

Jewelry Cleaning is No No
Many materials are not safe to be cleaned at-home. Below are some examples.

  1. Natural stones, including pearl, ivory, coral and wood, should not be soaked in liquids, sanitized with harsh detergents, or cleaned ultrasonically. These frequently used jewelry materials could absorb the fluids and end up permanently stained.
  2. Do not attempt to modify antique or rare artist jewellery at home. Some precious jewelry may be damaged by polishing or cleaning.
  3. The professional should never touch your coins.
  4. Some gemstones have natural oils which can be dissolved by detergents. Some stones are porous so they can absorb moisture or detergents. These gems are to be avoided: Emerald. Opal. Turquoise. Lapis Lazuli.
  5. Chemical exposure can lead towards disaster. A solution that contains chlorine can destroy jewelry pieces. In the same way, prolonged exposure to pool chlorine may cause solder to become brittle. A small amount, or even a single drop of mercury, from a broken thermometer might attract gold and contaminate any jewelry it touches. This can make the gold turn white. This can lead to jewelry boxes containing valuable jewelry being destroyed. Any household product containing acids, lees, or other chemicals you shouldn’t be exposed to, is likely to cause damage to your jewelry.
  6. Abrasive chemicals can cause rust to be seen in plated metals. The micron-plating solution that is used on many pieces can damage the underlying metals. When the base materials are exposed, they can vary in color or tarnish.
  7. You should exercise caution when using ultrasonic cleansers. Ultrasonic cleaners use high frequency frequencies to clean your jewelry of makeup dirt and grime. This process involves vibration.

* Vibration is what causes erosion when two objects rub against one other or the side an ultrasonic aquarium.
* Vibration is also able to loosen or attach epoxy or glue.
* Vibrations can also crack fragile materials such amber and enamel
* Vibration may alter or remove the surface enhancement of many novelty gems available today.
* Stones that contain additives are susceptible to vibration.

If you are confident that your jewelry can still be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner then the tips below will help you to safely clean it.

* Only use ultrasonic cleaning agents that are recommended.
* Place your items so they don’t rub on each other or on either the side or bottom of the ultrasonic aquarium.
* Do NOT leave jewelry unattended in an Ultrasonic Cleaner for extended periods.

Proper Jewelry Cleaning at Your Home
Now that we have a better understanding of the risks involved, let’s look at how you can care for your jewelry. You can keep your jewelry looking amazing by cleaning it often. It is far easier to remove thin layers of hairspray and lotion than long-term buildup. The easier it is to clean your jewelry, the more you do it.

Polishing Precious Metals
Your local jeweler can provide a jewelers rouge and velvet cloth to help brighten your jewelry. These cloths contain mild polishing substances and are soft. Although they are not too rough to scratch your stones or metal, the polishing materials can give your jewelry a nice shine if you rub them against gold and silver. You can clean the jewelry after polishing is done. When you are done, ensure that your jeweler’s cloth is placed in a dustproof container such a a polybag. This will help prevent your jeweler’s cloth from picking up any foreign matter or grit that might scratch your items.

Cleaning Diamonds in Gold and Platinum
Gold, platinum, sapphires, ruby, and other precious metalsDurable stones can be cleaned even if they are not included in the “Don’ts” list. Combine 1/2 Windex and 1/2 hot water. It’s not necessary that you make a large batch. Usually, one cup of the mixture is sufficient. The room should be ventilated. Allow the items to sit for as long time as necessary to break down the buildup. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the items. The bristles should be gently pressed between the prongs. If the residue is not removed, continue the process. Make sure you rinse and dry your jewelry to avoid skin irritation. Some people prefer to dry stones on the underside of the jewelry with canned water to prevent water spots. You will find it easier to clean your jewelry the more often you do it.

Ultrasonic Cleaners for Jewelry
Ultrasonic cleaners can cause serious damage to your skin. While aggressive cleaning can be good, it is important to follow the rules. Use only home-use ultrasonic cleaners and carefully read the instructions. The solutions meant for ultrasonic jewelry cleaning should be used. However, small units can be used in conjunction with 1/2 Windex (or 1/2 warm) water. Make sure that the room is well ventilated.

Cleaning Pearls & Other Organic Jewelry
You can soak chemicals and moisture into coral, pearls, ivory, and bone. You should apply all hairspray and make up before you put on your pearls. It is also a good idea for them to be wiped with a soft moist cloth after you have taken them off. If you are using pearls or beads, make sure not to wet the cord or knots. This will cause staining as well as rotting.* Do not use chemicals or detergents to clean the pearls

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