Jewellery needs to be looked after to keep it looking as beautiful as the day you bought it. Here are a few ways to keep your jewellery looking new.
STORING- To reduce tarnishing, store your jewellery in an airtight container, or in sealable plastic bags. (Pearls should be stored in silk or fabric rather than plastic).
- Store your jewellery in separate pouches or boxes to stop them from scratching and rubbing against each other.
- Heat and moisture will increase tarnishing, so don’t leave jewellery on window sills or in bathrooms.
- Prolonged direct sunlight can damage and fade some gemstones, so never leave them on a windowsill or in a sunny spot.
- Beads and chains should be stored flat, rather than hung from a hook.
WEARING- Cosmetics and perfumes can damage metals and gemstones. Apply any products a few minutes before putting on your jewellery.
- Remove your jewellery before exercising, gardening or doing any physical work.
- Don’t wear your necklaces or bracelets overnight.
- Jewellery can be damaged by salt and chlorine. Do not wear your jewellery when swimming, bathing, or using cleaning products such as bleach.
- If you wear rings stacked together daily, make sure they are the same metal or carat of gold. Otherwise the harder ring will wear away the softer ring and damage it.
CLEANINGAlways check gem-set jewellery for loose stones before cleaning and polishing, as you may loosen them further and cause them to fall out. If you notice a loose or damaged setting, have it repaired straight away to reduce the risk of losing the stone.
- Sterling silver naturally tarnishes due to a reaction with sulphur in the air, creating a dark surface layer of silver sulphide. This can be rubbed off using an anti-tarnish cleaning cloth, which also protects and polishes the surface at the same time. Anti-tarnish cloths can also be used to polish your gold, palladium and plated jewellery.
Anti-tarnish cloths are impregnated with a tarnish remover and should not be washed. The cloth will blacken as it is used - this is normal and shows the cloth is working well.
- Don’t use chemical cleaners such as silver dip as they will damage the metal and gemstones, as well as making the metal surface porous and more likely to tarnish.
- Use warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush to remove dirt, before rinsing and buffing with an anti-tarnish cloth. Pay particular attention to the back of gemstones in rings and pendants. Do not clean porous gemstones this way.
- Some gemstones such as turquoise, amber and opal are very porous and should not be submerged in liquids to be cleaned. Gently wipe these with a damp cloth and dry well with a soft cloth.
- Use ultra-sonic cleaners with caution as they can damage certain gemstones and finishes. Always rinse the jewellery well afterwards, and dry with a soft cloth. Gold and rhodium plated jewellery shouldn’t be cleaned this way, and certain gemstones such as emerald, tanzanite and opal can easily be cracked by the vibrations - always check before cleaning gemstones.
- Pearls and beads should never be submerged in water, as this will damage the stringing and the water/cleaning product can get trapped between and inside the beads causing damage. Any dirt should be wiped off with a slightly damp cloth and then buffed dry with a clean soft cloth. Beads should be re-strung every couple of years. If there is an accumulation of dirt between the beads, or if the silk/thread is discoloured, they are probably due to be restrung.
- Pearls and opals may need to be professionally cleaned as they can be badly damaged if submerged or exposed to chemicals.
- If you have a particularly tarnished piece of jewellery such as a silver chain you can use baking soda to clean it. Line a bowl with aluminium foil and add your jewellery and a spoonful of baking soda. Pour in some hot water. When the bubbling stops, remove and repeat with fresh water and baking soda if necessary. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth. Polish with an anti-tarnish cloth. This method isn’t advised for gem-set jewellery, or if the piece has an oxidised finish. Do not inhale the fumes.
If you have any questions or are unsure of how to clean your jewellery feel free to contact me.