Care and Maintenance of Jewellery

Care and Maintenance of Jewellery


Cleaning

 

The Gemstones used in fine jewellery are naturally occurring durable substances and each one needs a degree of care during use and storage. The structure and composition of each one is different in terms of hardness, toughness, reaction to heat, direct sunlight, acids, cleaners, etc. Certain Gemstones can absorb chemicals which change their colour. Taking care of your Gemstone is very important and home maintenance is fairly easy once you know your stone.  If you follow a few simple rules then they will last for many years still looking good.

 

Keep your jewellery clean is the key rule. Perspiration and what you do with your hands affects rings in particular. Rings collect dirt inside the setting and under the stone. This can accumulate fairly quickly especially if you wear your ring on a regular basis.

 

You can clean most transparent (not opaque) gemstones by simply soaking them for a short time in warm water with a small amount of liquid soap. For stubborn or deep accumulations, use a soft toothbrush or similar to gently get into the crevices. Never use anything sharp or abrasive on the Gemstone or metal.

 

Always seek professional advice from a qualified jeweller before using an ultrasonic cleaner on Gemstones. Hard stones such as Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires should be fine but many other gems may not be. The rule here is “If in doubt, leave it out.”

 

Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires can be cleaned with a drop of ammonia dissolved in water.

 

Pearls, Emeralds, and Amber require particular care. Ammonia and other chemicals in commercial cleaners can damage these sensitive gems. Also, the chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics and perfume can, over time, damage Pearls. Organic gems like Pearls, Coral, and Amber should only be wiped clean with a moist cloth. Due to their organic nature, these gems are both soft and porous.

 

Opals also require special care. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner or ammonia on Opals. Avoid heat and strong light which can dry out the moisture in them.

 

With opaque Gemstones like Lapis Lazuli , Turquoise, Malachite or Onyx never use an ultrasonic cleaner or ammonia for cleaning. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, which can build up inside the stone and lead to discolouration. Only wipe clean gently with a moist cloth.

 

 

Day to day care

 

Jewellery is not generally designed for hazardous workplaces, swimming, housework or gardening. The precious metals and stones can be damaged not only physically but also by many of the chemicals used.

 

Many gemstones, even those of the hardest variety such as Diamonds, can contain very small natural defects called inclusions that can weaken the structure. These were caused during the pressures of their creation many millions of years ago. Inclusions can make them vulnerable to breakage if subjected stress. If you wear a particular ring which contains a Gemstone of a softer variety or stones with inclusions, take it off and store it safely before any strenuous activity. Gemstones such as Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires can shatter with a hard knock.

 

Pearl Necklaces and Bracelets

 

If the string on a pearl or beaded necklace breaks, put everything in a plastic bag and take it to your jeweller for restringing as soon as possible. Store pearls or beaded necklaces flat after use, preferably in a silk pouch.

 

When purchasing expensive pearls, choose a set that is knotted between the pearls, then, if the string should break you will only lose one or two.

 

Storage of Jewellery and Gemstones

 

Store each piece of jewellery separately so that harder stones don’t scratch softer ones. In addition, almost every Gemstone is harder than the metal it is set in. Therefore they will scratch the finish on precious metals such as Gold, Silver or Platinum.

 

At the end of the day, you should not toss your jewellery into a pile in a drawer or cardboard box. Invest in a proper lined jewellery box, a necklace stand and velvet pouches. Get some sealable plastic bags for your silver items to help prevent atmospheric tarnishing. Avoid using cotton wool as it catches on jewellery and it is absorbent and can corrode articles in a damp atmosphere.

 

A safe or locked strong box is not only a good security investment but also a means of keeping your collection somewhere free from heat, light, damp and corrosion. For this reason, avoid floor safes unless purpose built and sealed against damp.

 

Gemstones and tips for their cleaning

 

Amber – Avoid chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Amethyst – Normal day to day care cleaning

Aquamarine (Beryl) – Normal day to day care cleaning

Blue Topaz – Normal cleaning but avoid sudden temperature changes

Citrine – Normal day to day care cleaning

Coral – Avoid chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Diamond – Normal day to day care cleaning

Emerald – Avoid chemicals, heat, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Garnet – Normal cleaning but avoid sudden temperature changes

Jade – Normal day to day care cleaning

Lapis Lazuli – Avoid chemicals, heat, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Mother of Pearl – Avoid chemicals, heat, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Onyx – Normal day to day care cleaning

Opal – Avoid chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Pearl – Avoid chemicals (incl. hairspray and cosmetics), heat, steam and ultrasonic cleaning

Peridot – Avoid chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaning, sudden temperature changes

Ruby – Normal day to day care cleaning

Sapphire – Normal day to day care cleaning

Tanzanite – Avoid steam, ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes

Topaz  – Normal care but avoid sudden temperature changes

Tourmaline – Normal care but avoid sudden temperature changes

Turquoise – Avoid chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaning. Perspiration and cosmetics may alter the colour.

Zircon – Avoid abrasives, rough wear and prolonged exposure to strong light.

 

Stirlings Jewellers offer extensive jewellery and watch repair and maintenance support services.

To keep your precious jewellery in excellent condition we offer an annual cleaning and check up service. We can make a regular diary note to remind you if you wish. The cleaning service will not only improve how your jewellery looks but also allow us to check for signs of damage or wear and tear. During this process, we will check claws on stone set jewellery to ensure the gemstones are not loose and at risk of being lost. If we do find loose or damaged stones, we can suggest a remedy before it becomes a serious and expensive problem.

Our showroom stocks cleaning cloths and storage boxes of different shapes and sizes. Why not pop in?

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