Your ring dazzled when you first purchased it. The way it would catch the light and sparkle on your hand was truly mesmerizing. But over time, everyday wear will make your jewellery lose some of its lustre and shine. Exposure to certain harsh chemicals like perfumes and cleaning agents, environments like chlorine or salt water pools, and even perspiration and perfumes can compromise the look of your jewellery.
Here are a few tips to revive that “just like new” look and to prevent dulling and damage in the first place.
Basic Jewellery Cleaning at Home
Most jewellery requires some sort of proper maintenance which is generally accomplished with warm water, mild dish soap and a soft brush. Lay your jewellery to dry or dry with a lint-free cloth. A few, however, can require more delicate attention. Pearls, for instance, are soft gems which can be easily scratched. Clean them in warm water with mild soap and a very soft brush to prevent scratching. Emeralds also are sensitive and should only be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. Be careful not to use a degreasing or heavy detergent soap as it can remove treatments applied to emeralds.
You can also purchase liquid cleaners from most jewellers that are appropriate for most gemstone, gold and sterling silver jewellery. Read the instructions carefully to be sure it’s suitable for your pieces. Be careful with sterling silver pieces featuring an antiqued look. The liquid can remove the desirable tarnished areas as well as undesirable ones.
Polishing cloths are another handy way to remove tarnish and grime from your jewellery.
You can also purchase an ultrasonic cleaner, a specialized machine which uses ultrasonic sound waves to gently clean jewellery. This method is not however recommended for all types of jewellery so it’s best to read the manual for guidance.
Jewellery Cleaning by your Jeweller
Your jeweller knows the proper way to clean your jewellery. Whether by using an ultrasonic cleaner or a mild cleaner, you can rely on the expertise of a jeweller who knows the proper method for each piece. By taking your jewellery to your jeweller you have the added advantage of a professional who will check your stones for tightness and your prongs for wear.
Prevent Damage in the First Place
No one intends to damage their jewellery but the things we do on a day to day basis can have an effect on rings, necklaces and the like. These few tips can help you to prevent damage and keep your jewellery protected:
- Avoid chemicals – We all like a clean home but the ammonia and bleach in common chemicals are detrimental to both metals and gems. If you’re going to be using cleansers, remove your jewellery or wear rubber gloves to protect them.
- Remove jewellery during exercise – When you’re working up a sweat, that perspiration can get trapped in your jewellery while an accidental bump of a gem on a piece of equipment can ruin the stone. It’s safer to store your jewellery during your workout session.
- Be careful with light and heat – Too much sun can cause damage to certain gemstones. Pearls and ivory are prone to bleaching while other gemstones can darken. Heat, on the other hand, can cause cracking and dry out the natural moisture of your stones.
Storing your jewellery
Proper storage is just as important as proper care. Free-floating jewellery is vulnerable to scratching if it rubs up against another piece. Compartmentalized jewellery boxes with felt lined and padded slots for rings and earrings will keep them safe from scratching while spaces to hang chains will prevent them from tangling.
Your jewellery pieces are not only financial investments but emotional ones as well. A little care can go a long way to keeping them looking great and ensuring they’ll last for generations to come.