Caring for your Jewelry

Pearls
Your Precious Metals

 

Your Precious Metals

We all want to wear our jewelry when and where we want. At the same time, we want to be sure that what we do with our jewelry is good for its long-term care and protection.

Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives. Don't wear rings, bracelets and other jewelry while working with power tools. Store each piece separately in a soft cloth pouch or in the separate compartments of a jewelry case. Check that gem settings are secure. If not, ask a professional jeweler to re-set or tighten them. Common sense may often be the best guide to caring for your jewelry.

Here's what you can do to assure your jewelry will bring you years of enjoyment. You may want to print these reminders and keep them with your jewelry.

  • To clean jewelry with gold, platinum and most gemstones, make a dilute solution of mild dishwashing liquid. Use 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of lukewarm water in a bowl. Loosen dirt by soaking jewelry in a strainer for 10 to 20 minutes. Lightly and carefully use a soft brush to work out dirt. Gently use a toothpick to reach into crevices. Rinse with clean lukewarm water. If you rinse in a sink, close the drain first.
  • After cleaning, always make sure your jewelry is dry and that all of the gems have remained tight, before you put it away. Dampness and moisture can damage clasps, jeweler's cement and even the cording of a pearl necklace. Carefully, pat dry with a clean, soft and dry towel. Place cleaned pieces on a towel to dry. When the towel is dry, your jewelry should be dry and ready to store.
  • If you use a commercial jewelry cleaner, pay careful attention to the directions. Caution: to protect jewelry from possible damage, cleaners must be fresh. Check the shelf-life or expiration date. Old, contaminated or improperly sealed cleaners should not be used.
  • Remove jewelry before bathing and grooming. Hair spray, make-up, moisturizer, perfume and soap can leave a dull film on jewelry. When dressing in the morning or for an evening out, put jewelry on last.
  • Storing jewelry properly requires a little extra care to do right. Diamonds and other gemstones are hard enough to scratch metal jewelry and to mar the surfaces of other stones they come in contact with. Store gemstones in their own individual soft cloth pouches. Or, place them in a jewelry box where each piece has its own separate compartment. Metal jewelry should also be stored separately, so pieces can't come in contact and scuff their surfaces.
  • Harsh cleaners of any kind, including chlorine bleach, should never be used on jewelry. Chlorine can blacken silver and the discoloration may be impossible for all but a professional jeweler to remove.  NOTE: Chlorine in pools, washers, etc. can attack gold jewelry, causing it to become brittle and crack.  This leads to serious problems such as the breaking-off of prongs, etc.
  • Temperature is important to the health of your jewelry. Normal seasonal temperatures are not a problem. Extreme heat, like that of boiling water, can damage pearls or soften jeweler's cement. Sudden upswings to extreme levels may fracture certain gems.

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Pearls:
Take a Little Time To Protect Years of Beauty

Like any jewelry of value, pearls require proper care to keep them looking their best. The surface of a pearl is soft; they are sensitive to dramatic changes in temperature. Moreover, they are affected by acids, cosmetics and perfumes, perspiration and hair spray.  To be safe, wait until you are completely ready for the evening before you put on your pearls. 

Never use abrasives or solvents to clean pearls. Cleaning products with ammonia should be avoided. Steam-cleaning or using an ultrasonic cleaner can damage pearls. Do not use anything that could scratch the surface, including tooth brushes.

Using a mild liquid soap, you can wash pearls in water with a soft cloth. To dry, spread them on a moist towel. When both are dry, the pearls should be ready to wear. Wearing a necklace that is still moist will stretch the string.  

Your pearls should be restrung about every 5 years, depending on how hard you wear them.

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