Jewelry is one of our most intimate and cherished accessories. Understanding how to care for and protect your treasured jewelry can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty and keeping your heirlooms sparkling for generations to come.
The jewelry you purchase or have been handed down through your family should be cherished. Jewelry needs care, cleaning and maintenance during its lifetime. Understanding this will help you protect your jewelry. Knowing just a few tips can make the difference in keeping your heirloom safe and beautiful for years to come. By keeping your jewelry in excellent shape it will allow you to pass your memories down to the next generation.
KEEP YOUR JEWELRY AWAY FROM CHEMICALS
Be careful not to expose your jewelry and gemstones to chemicals. This could potentially damage or discolor the metal – silver, gold or platinum. Certain chemicals can discolor or harm colored gems. Common household items such as perfume, lotions, hairspray and other cosmetics contain chemicals that can be damaging to the surface of some gemstones like turquoise, ivory or pearls. You should take care when applying these substances. Chlorine in swimming pools can also be harmful to some gemstones. Good advice would be to remove your jewelry before making your splash in the pool.
Many household cleaners contain ammonia. This chemical is very harsh on delicate gemstones and fine jewelry, especially delicate, vintage jewelry. Bleach and other commonly used household cleaners have been known to pit or damage the alloys in your precious metals. You should remove your jewelry when doing household cleaning.
BE Mindful WITH LIGHT AND HEAT
Everyone knows the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin. The same is true with some types of jewelry. Light and heat can have an adverse effect on some gemstones. Ivory, for example will bleach under prolonged exposure to the sun. Extreme exposure to the sun’s rays can damage delicate gemstones like amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell gemstones like cameos and pearls. So, be respectful of the sun’s effects on your jewelry. Use the same theory as with your body’s exposure to the sun.
AT HOME ULTRASONIC CLEANERS: CAUTION
With the explosion of online shopping and many different outlets to purchase jewelry and accessories, it is easy these days to purchase an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Typically, you can buy a decent one for under $200. Beware, though. Not all gems and jewelry can be safely cleaned while using one.
You should not clean these types of jewelry using an ultrasonic, as it can damage or crack the gemstones.
- Certain heat-treated gemstone
- Organic gemstones such as amber, coral, ivory or pearls
- Gems with surface cracks or fissures or gems that have been fracture filled with oils, resins or glass
- Soft colored gemstones such as emeralds and opals
- Gemstones that are sensitive to heat and temperature changes. These include tanzanite, iolite, kunzite, lapis, malachite, opal, topaz, turquoise, zircon and many others.
Also, an ultra sonic cleaner uses intense wavelength vibrations to shake debris loose from the jewelry. This can cause some gemstone to shake loose from their settings and can sometimes scratch gemstones.
You should leave the ultra sonic cleaning to a jewelry professional who has been trained in the proper care and handling of precious gems and fine jewelry.
Know if your gemstones are treated
It is common practice these days to routinely treat gemstones to improve their appearance of color and clarity (quality). Some of these treatments can be adversely affected by heat, solvents, steam and ultra sonic cleaning. The first step in owning colored gemstones or diamonds is to know if your stones have been treated before you buy them. A graded gemstone by a laboratory, such as the GIA, will divulge this information. If you’re unsure, ask your jeweler if the gemstone(s) have been treated. Most rubies, sapphires, emeralds and blue topaz stones are heat treated to enhance color.
How to make cleaning your jewelry safe & simple
Most of the jewelry you and your family wear can be safely and easily cleaned with warm water, mild soap and a soft tooth brush. A dental water pic and a good lint-free cloth is also good. It is recommended to clean your jewelry over a kitchen bowl and not directly in the sink. This is in case you drop your jewelry.
Some gemstones, such as opals, pearls, cameos and ivory can easily scratch if you’re not careful. Always use a “soft” bristle toothbrush or unused makeup brush with warm soapy water. Lay a strand of pearls on a towel and pat dry. Make sure the pearl string is dry before touching. If you wear your pearl necklace regularly, you should restring the set once a year.
How to SAFELY STORE YOUR JEWELRY
Proper handling and caring for jewelry is often overlooked. You should properly store your jewelry to prevent damage and theft. You should not toss fine jewelry into a drawer or on top of a dresser because it can potentially damage or scratch the precious metals and gemstones.
When you buy your fine jewelry it usually comes with a nice protective box or pouch. This is a perfect place to safely store your jewelry. Sterling silver has a tendency to tarnish, so it’s a good idea to keep it in an air-tight or anti-tarnish bag. Little zip lock baggies are perfect for this.
Be careful when storing pearls or opals in a safety deposit box because this tends to be a very dry area and these gemstones draw moisture from the air to keep their color and beauty. The dryness of a safety deposit box can sometimes be damaging. Just make sure to routinely remove and wear the items if you choose to store them in a safety deposit box.
Take caution when traveling too. Wrap you jewelry in individual padding or use separate boxes and NEVER PUT YOUR JEWELRY IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE. Always carry it on your person and bring it on board with you.
We hope these tips will help keep your jewelry and valuables at their best. If you would like more information please stop in and see us or call us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.