01 Jan
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Jewelry Care

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1. DIAMONDS/ GEMS

HOW TO STORE

• Storing jewelry in a safe place is not only about security but also about keeping each piece safe from inadvertent harm.

• Each item of set jewelry and each gemstone should be stored individually. Gemstones can scratch and otherwise damage each other if they are in direct contact with each other. Remember that diamonds can scratch each other and certainly cause damage to other gemstones.

• The movies have shown us jewelry stored in large hoards and loose stones kept in large bags by villainous characters. Clearly, finished jewelry should never be kept in a pile, even if you are a pirate captain or Bond villain.

• Invest in fabric-lined cases purpose-built for storing jewelry. These will have individual compartments.

• Alternatively, wrap each item in soft tissue paper or use jewelry pouches for each item.

 

HOW TO HANDLE

• By their nature, diamonds repel water but grease and oil stick fast.

• As far as possible, do not wear jewelry while performing strenuous labor, such as exercising, or cleaning. Hard knocks can chip diamonds while household chemicals and our own natural oils can discolor diamonds.

• Creams and lotions such as those typically used to address dry skin should not be applied while wearing jewelry. Again, diamonds are likely to be discolored (not permanently) by exposure to such compounds, losing their luster and brilliance.

• Inspect your jewelry regularly for signs that anything is amiss. Do check the back on any set stones because if grime accumulates, for example, it will be seen most clearly here. An excess of such will prevent light from refracting properly within the diamonds, making things dull.

• It is an especially good idea to check the setting and mounting to ensure everything is secure. Prongs do tend to loosen, depending on materials used and exposure to harsh cleaning products. Excessive oil and grime build-up can also loosen prongs.

• It is worth remembering that diamonds are essentially carbon therefore are flammable although they typically only ignite at between 850-1,000 C. As a point of reference, gold melts at just over 1,000 C.

 

HOW TO CLEAN

• Regular inspections of jewelry and loose stones alike will lead to regular cleaning. One option is to soak jewelry and loose stones in an ammonia-based detergent solution (with water) overnight weekly.

• After the soaking process, the jewelry and stones should be extracted from the cleaning solution and given a good going over with a soft brush. A soft toothbrush will do.

• Once again, pay special attention to the back of the jewelry.

• To finish, rinse the jewelry and stones with water and wipe dry with a soft lint-free cloth. Handle diamonds sparingly, as our fingers provide enough oil from just skin to alter the way the diamonds look.

• Do note that aggressive brushing with any kind of brush might not agree with the setting so jewelry should be handled carefully. An inspection after cleaning will be useful.

• For loose stones, these will not have been worn so likely will need less care. The caveat above about setting fragility obviously does not apply.

• Note that powerful detergents should be avoided mainly because these impact negatively on the setting and the metal parts of jewelry. Bleach and acid-based detergents should be avoided altogether.

• Diamonds that have been treated with filling for fractures and other imperfections require even milder detergents than what is suggested here. Even an ammonia-based detergent may act on the filling in unexpected ways, although the diamond itself will be unaffected.

• Using an ultrasonic cleanser is possible at home. In combination with a detergent solution, these cleansers use high frequency sound waves to strip away grime and dirt.

• Note that ultrasonic cleansing is not suitable for all types of gemstones and may even be unsuitable for some settings.

• Jewelers typically recommend yearly professional cleaning, where jewelry will also be inspected for integrity of the setting and mounting, for example.

 

2. PEARL:

How to Clean Pearl Jewelry

Gentle and conservative cleaning are the keys to successful pearl maintenance. If you notice your pearls are lacking luster, it could be that they've been cleaned too often or too rigorously. Follow these tips if and when you do need to clean your pearls. 

• Your pearls will stay cleaner if you put them on after you've applied your makeup and perfume.

• Be sure to take off your pearl rings before you apply hand and body creams.

• Wipe your pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off to remove any excess body oil or residue. The cloth can be dampened with water, or it can be dry. If damp, allow the pearls to air dry before putting them away.

• Dirty pearls can be cleaned with a small amount of mild soap and water solution (try Ivory bar soaps flakes).

• Never submerge pearls in liquid. If cleaning, use a damp lint-free cloth with a mild cleaning solution. Make sure you rinse off all the solution and pat try, making sure never to leave the pearls under water. 

• Never clean your pearls with solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents.

• Don't under any circumstances put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner. The vibrations can severely damage the nacre coating.

• Don't use abrasive cleaners or rub pearls with an abrasive polishing cloth. Both can wear away the nacre coating, leaving you with a dull looking bead.

• Never clean your pearls too often. Doing so can dull out the pearl's finish. A little body oil is a great way to enhance the shine of your pearls. 

Storing Pearls Correctly

How you store your pearls can be just as important as how you clean your pearls. Make sure you follow these tips to keep your pearls damage-free.

• Don't store your pearls with other jewelry because pearls can be scratched easily when metal or gemstones rub against them. Find a special slot in your jewelry box for the pearls, or keep them in a soft bag made from chamois or another non-abrasive material.

• Your fine pearl necklaces should be restrung periodically so that you're sure the silk or nylon cord holding them is in good shape. 

If in doubt, do nothing with your pearls. It's better to err on the side of caution than to over clean and ruin your jewelry. As long as you store your pearls properly and wipe them down gently after use, they should look beautiful for generations. 

 

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