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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!