Love your jewellery! How poor cleaning and a lack of care can lead to ruin!
I have seen rings deformed owing to dumbbell training in the gym and precious metals and gemstones damaged due to heavy housework and gardening in my time as a jewellery expert! A topical issue at the moment, especially with the increase of varying enhancements of coloured gemstones – how you can clean and care for your jewellery better. I list below the bare essentials to ensure you care for your sentimental pieces of jewellery that will offer you a lifetime of wear.
- Examine your jewellery. If you can see any damage, either cracks in the gems or damage to the mount do not clean it as you might make things worse. Seek expert advice.
- Ensure certain stones are secure before cleaning as a lost diamond can be expensive to replace.
- If in doubt do nowt! Seek expert advice.
- Remember if you have your items of jewellery polished by a jeweller, it should be seldom as a small micron of metal is removed in process and can weaken old mounts.
What you need
- A small old head of an electric toothbrush for cleaning inside rings and removing dirt as the splayed out bristles can be worked into small gaps on mounts.
- Washing up liquid, to remove grease and general dirt. Do not use soap, as it is made from vegetable oil and congeals on diamonds, and is hard to remove.
- Silver Dip. Various brands are available, and are about the same in quality.
- Silver or Jewellery Polishing Cloth. Polishes silver and gold, and leaves a protective film on silver which delays tarnishing. Warning: do not attempt to polish matt or satin finish, you will spoil it.
What you must avoid
- Abrasive cleaners for cleaning jewellery.
- Chlorine or bleach
- Ultrasonic kits
Cleaning: Apply a drop of washing up liquid to toothbrush, scrub stones and remove congealed soap to facets including tables ,pavilions and underneath collets securing diamonds. Then rinse under lukewarm water and review. You may need to repeat process.
Care: Do not swim with diamond jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mount. Do not wear for heavy household chores, gym or gardening. If diamond jewellery is not worn, store in presentation box or pouch and store away from young children! You will be surprised to hear that I have two clients who have had their engagements rings flushed down the loo by their children!
- Cleaning: Apply a drop of washing up liquid to toothbrush, scrub stones and remove congealed soap to facets including tables , pavilions and underneath collets securing gemstone. Then rinse under lukewarm water and review.
Safe in lukewarm water and silver dip. Diamonds,Rubies (unless lead-glass filled), Sapphires, Spinel, Topaz, Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Amethyst, Citrine, Smoky Quartz, Rock Crystal, Zircon, Cubic Zirconia, and Black Onyx.
Safe in lukewarm water, do not soak in Silver Dip:Garnet, Jade, Peridot, Moonstone, Haematite, and Tanzanite.
Do not soak in anything: Emerald, Opal, Lapis Lazuli, Cameos (shell and Wedgwood), Coral, Pearls (includes cultured, simulated and Mother of Pearl), Ivory, Amber, and Malachite.
Do not get wet: Opal doublets and triplets, Turquoise, Charms or lockets with paper inserts or foiled gemstone jewellery.
Care: Do not swim with gemstone jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mounts. Do not wear for heavy household chores, gym or gardening. If gemset jewellery is not worn, store in presentation box or pouch and store away from young children! Avoid heat and keep away from direct sunlight.
Cleaning: Use Jewellery polishing cloth to bring up metallic lustre.
Care: Remove jewellery before showering as soap can make metal dull and discolour. Do not wear swim with diamond jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mount.
Cleaning: A durable, strong metal and great for setting gemstones. Use a Jewellery polishing cloth to bring up lustre.
Care: Resistant to tarnishing and discolouration but susceptible to scratches so avoid storing close to other jewellery.
Cleaning: Silver tarnishes so clean with washing up liquid and dry then place in Silver dip to remove tarnish and polish with Silver cloth. Warning: do not use silver dip to clean matt , antiqued or satin finished silver.
Care: Be careful of antiqued look as dip will remove this look and ruin item. Keep away from dalylight to avoid tarnishing.
Cleaning: Pearls are very delicate and susceptible to damage. After every wear wipe down with soft cloth and every 5th wear clean with dampened cloth with soapy water not washing up liquid and wipe dry.
Care: Before every wear apply perfume beforehand as pearls are porous. Every two years have pearls restrung knotted and ensure stored in a chamois bag.
If you stick to the above basics and adhere to cleaning and care for your individual items of jewellery, your jewellery should give you much pleasure and longevity and avoid considerable costs for a remount or supply of a new diamond or gemstone. Please adhere to if in doubt do nowt and seek the advice of a reputable jeweller.