Jewelry requires gentle care to ensure its everlasting beauty. That is why we recommend that you take your jewelry to a local jeweler and use a professional to help clean your fine jewelry. However, there are a few care and cleaning suggestions that you can use to make certain that your jewelry keeps its sparkle and shine.
How to Clean Your Jewelry at Home
After a reasonable amount of time passes while wearing your ring, dirt, makeup and other substances can build up on the surface of your jewelry. The effect takes away from its natural beauty and dulls the shine and luster of your gold. Generally, most jewelry can be cleaned with a mild liquid detergent mixed with warm water. Please note though, some exceptions including pearls, emeralds and opal should AVOID being submerged in water, as water can damage this type of jewelry over time. It is also important to clean your jewelry with a soft brush, like a soft tooth brush, to prevent any scratches, and it is a good idea to separately wash and store your jewelry to avoid nicks and scrapes.
Here are some basic jewelry care tips and recommendations for cleaning and storing your jewelry. This list is not all-inclusive and only provides warnings for some of the most common improper practices used to clean jewelry.
To care for your jewelry and keep it clean and ready to wear, gently wipe off excess make-up and skin oils after each wearing. Use a nub free, 100% cotton cloth and gently wipe the piece clean using only the soft pads of your fingers. Be sure to store your jewelry in jeweler's tissue or a soft bag in between wear and wash.
To help retard tarnish on sterling silver, wrap the piece in jeweler's tissue paper and place it inside a plastic zip lock bag and seal.
When cleaning sterling silver remember that it is a very soft metal and can easily be marred by a fingernail or wadded piece of fabric pushed roughly against the metal surface. For this reason, use one of the following methods to clean heavier soils and tarnish:
To remove fingerprints, light grease or dirt, add a small amount of mild liquid soap to a half cup of warm water, soak 2-3 minutes, rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry completely before storing in an air tight plastic bag.
Be very careful when using any soaking method to clean jewelry that has soft stones such as amber, lapis lazuli, or turquoise. Extended soaking in any solution may harm the polish on the stone. Never use chlorine bleach to clean jewelry.
To remove excessive tarnish, polish with a 100% cotton cloth and a good nonabrasive metal cleaner. Be sure to remove any remnants of the cleaner from gemstones and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Never use toothpaste! (See more about this below).
Tips for Keeping your Jewelry Looking New and Shiny
When caring for your jewelry, never use anything but 100% cotton as a polishing cloth since paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics. These materials may impart fine scratches in the metal, especially on sterling silver.
A polished appearance is the result of the metal smith’s effort to file, sand and buff the metal to a perfectly flat surface. When even minor scratches occur, as seen under a microscope, the surface looks like the ragged edge of a saw blade and light is bounced in and around those scratches like a voice echoing in the Alps. An unmarred surface allows the light to be bounced back smoothly, with no echoes, and results in a highly reflective surface.
Important Warnings about the Care of Fine Jewelry!
Always remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any product that contains bleach! Bleach can cause gold and other metal alloys to breakdown, leaving the metal irreparably damaged. This includes swimming pools and hot tubs that where chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria growth.
If you normally use specially purchased jeweler's cloths to keep your jewelry clean and shiny, be sure to use fresh cloths regularly since the dirt and grit left on the cloth from previous use may leave scrapes and pits in the piece you are trying to clean and polish.
Also, never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean metal or stones. You will find countless websites that recommend toothpaste as a cleaner, but this is not an accepted practice by fine jewelers. Although the abrasives in toothpaste are great for your teeth, they can damage the surface of the metal requiring the skill of a professional to buff and refinish.
Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning some jewelry, but they can damage many gemstones that are commonly used in fine jewelry. Also, the chemicals are not recommended for pearls and many other fine stones. It is also observed that repeated use can loosen the settings and you could lose your precious gems.
Other Common Chemicals and Solutions to Avoid
Besides chlorine bleach, other chemicals such as denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and ammonia can cause harm to your beautiful jewelry. These chemicals can dull or even pit the surface on softer gemstones. Petroleum based products can actually "melt" amber if allowed to remain on the stone and they can do significant damage to pearls.
Gems requiring special care:
Opals require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never use chemicals and avoid heat. Don't put your opal ring on the windowsill when washing your hands or the dishes as strong sunlight can dry out the water in opals, which could cause hazing or color change. Also, try to avoid wearing opals in the shower or when in the water because this will also wear down the opals actual size and color.
Pearls are one of the most luxurious additions to gold and platinum jewelry. In order to protect pearls from scratches be sure to take off pearls when working around the house or doing any labor intensive activities that might damage your jewelry. Also, some perfumes and household chemicals are dangerous to the integrity of your pearls, and can wear away the nacre and cause color change, so be sure to always be aware of where you wear and store you pearls.
Finally, be aware the pin stems and the edges of other jewelry can easily scratch soft stones like lapis, malachite, turquoise, amber and opals. Protect gold and platinum jewelry with these gemstones by wrapping them in jeweler's tissue or cloth and store your jewelry separately. Many people make the mistake of overloading their jewelry boxes and/or jewelry bags with more than one piece at a time, and although they are safe from the environmental and chemical damages that may occur in the home, the jewelry itself may cause damage when rubbed against each other and moved around. Above all, just remember that fine jewelry is just that: fine. If you have any doubts about what your jewelry can handle in the way of wear, be on the safe side and make a conscious effort of taking off pieces when you think they may be in danger of chemicals, environmental damage or scratching. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Wedding Bands Wholesale is here for you if ever you need to refinish or polish your jewelry. We understand that your life is not always predictable and jewelry can very often get damaged. Just give us a call or send us an email and we will always be more than happy to help you with whatever jewelry need you may have. We don’t mind fixing jewelry that didn’t come from our site, and we can re-engrave or re-rhodium your white gold jewelry when you need it.