5 Things To Consider When Cleaning Your Jewelry
The sparkle in your diamond is what won you over, but has it lost it’s luster over time?
Common things such as oils from your hands or tanning lotion, hair spray, chlorine from the pool, and other chemicals can rob your jewelry of its natural beauty and luster. We get asked questions about jewelry cleaning all the time. The important thing to know is that keeping your jewelry clean is actually very easy.
1: What type of jewelry is it?
a: What type of metal are you cleaning?
b: Does the jewelry contain gems?
c: These are first things you want to determine, since not all jewelry should be cleaned the same way. If done incorrectly, costly damage can be done to the your gems or metals.
2: What type of solution are you using?
Be careful with gems with porous like surfaces, such as pearls, opals, coral, shell, bone, etc. These types of gems will absorb any detergents or chemicals used in cleaning.
The only thing you should use on these types of gems is a soft cloth with warm clean water.
For hard gems: like, diamonds, rubys, sapphires and other non porous gems, a mixture of ⅓ mild dish soap ⅓ ammonia ⅓ water with a soft bristled tooth brush works great.
When using a toothbrush take special care to not pull or damage any of the prongs holding the gems.
When rinsing do not use water which causes water spots , it’s best to use denatured alcohol which contains no oils and leaves the gems surface clean when it evaporates.
3: If using a professional jewelry cleaners, avoid these common mistakes
Ultrasonic machines create sound waves causing vibrations, these vibration create agitation and a abrasive action that cleans in areas that you can’t reach- like under prongs.
After the ultrasonic cleaning most professional jewelers will steam clean with a high pressure steamer removing any remaining residue.
The above process can cause dames to certain gems like emeralds, opals, coral, pearls etc.
1: Vast majority of emeralds sold these days are oiled to give them more of a lustrous green color so it won’t have a cloudy appearance.
When emeralds are submersed in an ultrasonic or steamed the stone can be damaged by removing the oils and come out looking crusty and/or cloudy.
2. The aggressive vibration of an ultrasonic can risk creating fractures in the gem that are softer or more porous.
3. As a general rule all metal with no gems are safe with ultrasonic cleaning with the exception of some silvers and copper.
4 Stay away from ultrasonic cleaning with any treated, or softer porous gems. Some diamonds and gems are “treated”, meaning that they could be laser drilled to remove a natural inclusion within the stone, and then filled with a type of epoxy resin that has a similar index of refraction of the host gem making the original inclusion difficult to see. If this material is exposed to steam, heat or heated ultrasonic it can discolor which will allow easy visibility, negatively affecting the beauty of the stone.
4: Consider a cleaning cloth
Professional polishing cloths come in many different materials for various uses, some are called rouge cloths that contain a polishing solution and bring luster to the gold. The rouge cloth is a mild abrasive cloth that will polish the jewelry. When you’re done using the cloth, you’ll notice the cloth looks dirty. This wasn’t the dirt that was removed from the jewelry, it was the rouge in the cloth reacting to the metal. When done, use a soft cotton cloth to remove any remaining rouge from the jewelry surface . Then rinse it in alcohol and then soft polish it again with a clean cloth.
5: Daily Care
The best way to avoid needing to clean your jewelry is to remove your jewelry when you’re doing things like; working out, working in the backyard, even wearing your jewelry to bed can cause damage, because blankets can grab, bend or break your prongs holding the gem which later can cause you to loose your gems.
Pearls should be hung, not just laid in a drawer or in a jewelry box. The reason is that you don’t want the nylon cord to constrict and cause the pearls to not properly hang when you wear them.
All jewelry and rings, should be put in a protective closed environment or ring tray not touching each other so the metals and gems do not scratch or damage each other. Diamonds especially will scratch and scuff each other. They should be kept separate, especially when transporting them.
Avoid harsh chemicals around all metals and gems, hairdressers should be especially careful. Exposure to hair treatments and other related chemicals can be very damaging to gems and metal.
Avoid prolonged sun exposure to gems like Kunzite and Aquamarine. These gems have been known to fade and loose color when exposed to UV light for prolonged periods of time.
Avoid touching your diamonds since the oil from your hands gets on the diamond. It’s like if you’ve touched windows right after you cleaned them. Diamonds attract oil which attracts dust and dirt.
It’ summertime and people are thinking about hanging out at the pool. Chlorine in pools and spas can be very devastating to gold. It can cause surface damage to the gold and weaken the metal.
A quick dip in the pool will have minimal affect on your jewelry, but prolonged exposure to any chlorinated water should be avoided.
If you have any questions or would like clarification your professional jeweler should know the proper care and cleaning technique for your specific needs.
For more information please contact us at: DandRHouseofDiamonds.com or (702) 758-3421