How to care for your jewellery
A jeweller’s creation is assembled with great care and patience mixed with artful inspiration. When it is completed, a jeweller will pass on the piece to be cared for by its intended owner with the hope that it may last forever. Time is not so considerate to all things and even precious metals and stones need to be understood for how they can be renewed with splendour. It is with this in mind that the following advice may be shared to care for your jewellery.
Silver is a beautiful and shiny metal, however it does in time tarnish losing its lustrous characteristics. This is mainly due to a natural contact reaction with sulphur and hydrogen content in our atmosphere. Tarnish build-up can more easily be treated by cleaning silver jewellery as soon as the tarnish becomes visible. It is preferred that you rather clean and polish your silver jewellery regularly to keep its original bright and sparkly state.
When cleaning silver the following steps are advised:
1. The first step is to carefully rub or buff the silver with a clean, dry, soft, cotton cloth. This should be sufficient in most cases.
2. The second step is for pieces with a tarnish build-up, one could use a type of metal polish that is intended for silver (e.g. wenol ® or other similar products). Please take care to read the application and precaution instructions for best and safe use. Only use a small amount of polish and apply by means of dry, soft cotton cloth onto the metal surfaces. After application the polish can be rubbed off carefully with a clean, dry, soft, cotton cloth.
Care should also be taken to avoid the following when wearing silver jewellery, since it may tarnish or damage the actual silver:
- Hairspray or perfume (apply before wearing jewellery)
- Salt air and salt water (including perspiration)
- Chlorinated water
- Household chemicals that contain bleach or ammonia
It is advisable that gold jewellery should also be cleaned and polished regularly. Gold may appear dull after some time and may also tarnish due to perspiration. The following steps are advised to bring back the original shine:
1. First soak the gold piece briefly in mild soapy lukewarm water and then brush with a very soft toothbrush to remove any dirty build-up. After cleaning rinse the piece in cold water to remove the soap and dry with a clean, soft cloth. Take care never to soak jewellery pieces that contain pearl, coral or stone as well as pieces that are stringed together.
2. Metal polishes intended for gold (e.g. wenol ® or other similar products) can also be used afterwards to polish gold pieces in the same way as described above for silver pieces. Only use a small amount of polish and apply by means of dry, soft, cotton cloth onto the metal surfaces. After application the polish can be rubbed off carefully with a clean, dry, soft, cotton cloth. Please take care to read the application and precaution instructions for best and safe use.
Precious and semi-precious gemstones
In general great care should be taken when wearing jewellery with gemstones. The most important thing to know about caring for your gemstones is to regularly check that they are secure in their settings without the risk of being lost. The metal around some settings (e.g. claw settings) may also incur wear-and-tear over the years and should be checked to determine whether they should be re-set or re-tipped. Gemstones have different levels of hardness, where softer stones can scratch more easily or even break. Diamonds are the gemstones with the highest hardness and could also be damaged under special circumstances.
Gemstones can be cleaned in mild soapy lukewarm water and then brushed with a very soft toothbrush to remove any grime or natural skin oil build-up to restore their luster. Avoid using any bleach or strong soap based products for cleaning. After cleaning rinse to remove any soap residue and dry with a clean, soft cloth. Never soak jewellery pieces that contain pearl, coral or stone as well as pieces that are stringed together. Submersing stringed pieces in water can damage the actual string. Also keep coral, pearl and turquoise pieces away from any cosmetics, perfume, soap or places with high humidity (e.g. saunas).
Pearls probably require the most care, this is because they have a delicate soft and thin layer on top that creates their lustrous beauty and it is this layer that needs protection, since it can not be repaired once damaged. Pearls may be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth after wearing to remove any perfume or hairspray with which it has possibly come into contact with (no chemicals should be used for cleaning pearls).
The following should be avoided with regards to pearl jewellery:
- Sources of heat such as extensive exposure to sunlight can actually create cracks on pearls
- Hanging stringed pearls when not worn could stretch the string, they should rather be placed lying down
- Never store pearls in a paper or plastic bag
- Any type of chemical could damage a pearl’s delicate top layer
Some common tips on caring for your jewellery
- In general avoid wearing jewellery when taking a bath or shower.
- Do not clean your jewellery over a bathroom or kitchen sink to possibly avoid losing a small piece.
- It is advisable to keep jewellery in a jewellery box with separate compartments for each piece to prevent them from scratching against each other.
- If you are still unsure of how to clean and care for that special jewellery piece ask your jeweller for the best advice to ensure that you are able enjoy it for the longest time possible.