How to Care For Your Jewelry

  • Fine Jewelry
  • Stories & News

The beauty of jewelry can last hundreds, even thousands of years if loved and cared for properly.

These attractive gemstones and precious metals are built into everyday forms, intended to withstand wear. There are simple steps you can take to ensure the safety and care of their precious jewels. This article will review simple at-home steps you can take to ensure the sparkle and longevity of their pieces.

Cleaning:

Gemstones were cut to sparkle, so it is important to keep jewelry clean. With over 3,000 species of gemstones, it is important to take note of which gemstones one has in their possession, and what sort of care they require.


Left: A Retro aquamarine, diamond and platinum pendant brooch.<br>Right: A pair of gemstone and fourteen karat gold earrings.
Left: A Retro aquamarine, diamond and platinum pendant brooch.
Right: A pair of gemstone and fourteen karat gold earrings.

Clean by hand:

Diamonds are famous for their brilliance, and ironically, heavily attract grease. Therefore it is important to be diligent about keeping diamonds clean in order for them to sparkle. Specialized jewelry cleanings products are not necessary to accomplish this. A household grease cutter, such as non-fragranced Dawn dish detergent in warm water, following by a soft-bristled toothbrush, will help to get the diamonds’ sparkle back. Make sure to also scrub underneath the diamond and in-between prongs.


A fancy light yellow and platinum diamond ring.
A fancy light yellow and platinum diamond ring.

For durable gemstones such as sapphires or rubies, which are still relatively less durable than diamonds, the same process but with a mild non-fragranced hand soap will do the trick.


Left: A pair of multi-hued sapphire and eighteen karat gold earclips. <br>Right: A pair of ruby, diamond and platinum earrings.
Left: A pair of multi-hued sapphire and eighteen karat gold earclips.
Right: A pair of ruby, diamond and platinum earrings.

For relatively soft gemstones, which are highly porous, such as emeralds, opals, and pearls, special care must be taken. The content of moisture is essential to for the gemstones to remain intact and retain their beauty. Dehydrating a gemstone like these can result in crazing, cracks or even breakage. Do not utilize abrasive products that include alcohol or grease cutters. This can reduce moisture in these stones, causing irreversible damage. When cleaning these jewels, use warm water with a household non-fragranced hand soap on a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the setting around the stone.


Left: A black opal, diamond and eighteen karat white gold ring.<br>Right: A Tahitian black South Sea pearl necklace.
Left: A black opal, diamond and eighteen karat white gold ring.
Right: A Tahitian black South Sea pearl necklace.

Ultrasonic cleaners:

With so many personal and at-home adaptions of the ultrasonic cleaner available on the market, it may be a tempting purchase. However, not all ultrasonic cleaners are considered equal. Most commercial level ultrasonic cleaners can risk shaking gemstones loose from their mountings, risking a sparkly gemstone going down the drain! It is best to wash by hand in a contained space. Or, stop by the original retailer and ask for a quick cleaning!

Over 90% of the gemstones on the market have received some form of treatment to enhance their beauty. It is important to be informed about the treatment associated with the stones. Specifically, know (or assume) that your emerald is fracture-filled and do not place it in the ultrasonic cleaner. Fillers, which help enhanced the clarity (and color in some cases) of the gemstone can shake loose.


A pair of Colombian emerald, diamond and platinum earrings.
A pair of Colombian emerald, diamond and platinum earrings.

Polishing:

A loved piece of jewelry will eventually appear worn, with hundreds of little light scuffs and scratches. This is easily reconciled with a touch of metal polish. A standard metal polish, such as Noxon, can revive the brightness of the metal. Use a microfiber cloth to do the buffing. Be mindful that every time a piece is polished, a little bit of metal is removed from the piece. So it is important not to over polish. You should also be mindful about vintage and antique jewelry. An old patina is something that takes years to form and carries the beauty of history. Be sure to contemplate what you find attractive before taking out the metal polish.


Left: A fourteen karat gold bracelet.<br>Right: A Georgian diamond and silver brooch.
Left: A fourteen karat gold bracelet.
Right: A Georgian diamond and silver brooch.

Storage:

Storage is important to maintain the integrity of jewelry. Consider factors such as form, materials, and the characteristics of the gemstones. Always be sure that precious materials are not stored with non-precious materials. Gold will not normally tarnish, however if that gold bracelet is stored next to some loose change, that metal will eventually turn! For costume jewelry, it is important to keep the area clean and dry to avoid tarnishing.

Separate gemstones. Gemstones of differing hardness can cause damage to one another when rubbed together. To prevent your sapphires from chipping your emeralds, or your diamonds and chipping your diamonds, keep them separated. A nice and easy way to prevent this is to individually store your jewelry in plastic bags. However, best to keep your pearls in linen to prevent deterioration.

A little bit of tender love and care can make a jewelry collection last generations. Be sure to understand what you have, what its needs are, and take the time for care for them. And when in doubt, ask a professional!

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The Significance of Origin: Rubies

  • Fine Jewelry
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A gemstone is defined by its beauty. Factors such as size, shape, cut and color all assist in defining a gemstone’s beauty. The most influential of which is color. The ruby, a variety of corundum, is defined by its red hue component. Rubies can range from orangey red to purplish red in color. Among this wide range, the finest rubies show a pure red to slightly purplish red, enhanced by vivid saturation. Many imaginative names have been used to describe a ruby’s color. The most notable being ‘pigeon’s blood’. This term characterizes the red fluorescence sometimes displayed in a ruby or ‘freshly killed pigeon’.

A 4.02 Carats Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring.
For Sale Thursday, February 17th 2022 at 10AM PST

Although production can vary greatly even within an individual mine, some sources have become synonymous with a particular color and quality. The Mogok region of Myanmar, formerly Burma, produces ‘Burmese’ rubies. This is one of the world’s most important sources for fine rubies. These stones typically rest at the top of the market, often displaying exceptional color and quality. They typically show a red to slightly purplish red hue, vivid saturation and medium-dark tone. They often display a signature red fluorescence and a softness that is a result of internal inclusions. The most exceptional examples of Burmese rubies display a red hue and vivid saturation in addition to its softness and fluorescence.

The ruby market is also shared with the mines of Thailand and Cambodia. These sources produce ‘Thai’ or ‘Pailin’ rubies. They can show a pure red, but typically fall in the range of brownish red to purplish red, with a medium-dark to very dark tone. These stones often face up relatively dark as they commonly display areas of extinction.

Since its discovery in recent decades, the Mozambique mines of Africa, have become the world’s leading supplier of rubies. The introduction of these stones, which tend to range from purplish red to red, sometimes with a tint of orange, have forced the trade’s language to adjust. The Gemological Institute of America is now utilizing terms such as ‘crimson’, a slightly purplish red and ‘scarlet’, a red reflecting an orange tint, to characterize these increasingly common stones.

Many factors contribute to the beauty of a gemstone, including size, shape and cut. Nevertheless, color and origin, which are often tied together, remain the most important.

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Colored Diamonds

  • Fine Jewelry
  • Stories & News

By Lauren Della Croce, Director, Fine Jewelry
Contact us

Clars is thrilled to host their Fine Jewelry Auction on Thursday, December 16th, beginning at 10 AM PST. The sale includes a fine selection of diamond, colored gemstone, and signed jewelry spanning from the Georgian period to contemporary. Among this selection are exceptional diamonds.

Diamonds are characterized by the ‘4Cs’: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Typically, the color of a diamond is graded on a scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (light). When referencing the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) scale, the less color present, the more exceptional, and often more valuable, the diamond.

On the contrary, when determining the quality of fancy colored diamonds, the more color, the more extraordinary. Factors such as purity of the hue, as well as saturation play pivotal roles as well. Colored diamonds are graded beyond the D to Z range, on a scale ranging from Faint to Fancy Vivid.

Fancy colored diamonds are quite rare, with only 1 in every 10,000 diamonds showing a fancy color. The color is often a result of the presence of trace elements, not essential to the chemical composition of the diamond. Yellow diamonds, commonly marketed as “canary diamonds” most commonly contain the trace element, nitrogen.

A 4.18 carats fancy light yellow and platinum diamond ring.
A 4.18 carats fancy light yellow and platinum diamond ring.

Coming up for sale on December 16th is lot 5106, a 4.18 carats VS2 fancy light yellow diamond ring.

This fancy light yellow diamond is enhanced by its size, weighing an uncommon weight of 4.18 carats.

The rarest color of all, is pink. Pink colored diamonds range from red to purple. Unlike most colored diamonds, where colors are a result of trace elements, such as nitrogen’s presence in yellow diamonds, the majority of pink hues in pink colored diamonds are a result of a variation in its crystal structure.

The majority of the world’s pink diamonds are sourced from the famous Argyle mine, located in Australia. This mine, which has been a consistent producer of pink diamonds since its opening in 1983, officially closed in 2020.

A 1.05 Carats Fancy Intense Pink-Purple Diamond Ring.
A 1.05 Carats Fancy Intense Pink-Purple Diamond Ring.

Coming up for sale on December 16th is lot 5043, a 1.05 carats fancy intense pink-purple diamond ring.

This ring is particularly rare, as only about 28% of pink diamonds range within purplish-pink to pinkish-purple hue range, and 17% weigh over 1.00 carats.

Colored diamonds serve well to bridge the gap between the brilliance synonymous with diamonds, and the hues of gemstones. The rarity of these hues makes them a strong acquisition for a collector.

Sources:
Gilbertson, Al, et al. Diamond Lab Manual. The Gemological Institute of America, 2019.

“Fancy Color Diamond.” GIA, https://www.gia.edu/fancy-color-diamond/gem-overview.

Shor, Russell. “Why Are Pink Diamonds Pink? Gia Researchers Dive Deep into Their Crystal Structure.” Why Are Pink Diamonds Pink? GIA Researchers Dive Deep into Their Crystal Structure, 21 Oct. 2019, https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research/why-pink-diamonds-pink-gia-researchers-dive-deep-into-crystal-structure.

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