Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018 at 2:06 pm by Amy
Here are some useful tips and tricks for jewelry care from the Gemological Instititute of America!
BE CAREFUL WITH LIGHT AND HEAT
Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, light and heat can affect a colored gemstone’s durability and color. Over time they can also fade or damage some gemstones. Pearls and other delicate materials, such as ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light.
KEEP YOUR JEWELRY AWAY FROM CHEMICALS
Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolor precious metals – gold, silver and platinum – and may harm some colored gems. Even everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or other cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems. Fine jewelry should be removed before diving into any contact with products that contain ammonia.
GIVE TREATED GEMS SPECIAL CARE
Many colored gemstones are routinely treated to improve the appearance of color and clarity. These treatments can be negatively affected by heat, solvents, steam and ultrasonic cleaners. Knowing whether your gem has been treated is the first step to knowing how to care for it.
THE SAFEST CLEANING METHODS ARE ALSO THE EASIEST
Most colored gems can be cleaned with warm water, mild dish soap (no detergents) and a soft brush. A pulsed-water dental cleaning appliance and a soft, lint-free cloth can also be used. Be sure to rinse your jewelry in a glass of water to remove cleaning solutions since you risk losing loose stones – or even an entire piece of jewelry - if you rinse directly in the sink.
Soft gems, such as pearls, on the other hand, can easily scratch. Use a new, clean makeup brush and warm, soapy water to softly clean them. Lay a strand of pearls on a towel to dry. The wet silk thread can stretch − and attract dirt − so don’t touch your strand until it is completely dry. Pearls worn often should be restrung once a year.
SAFELY STORE YOUR JEWELRY
Proper jewelry storage is often overlooked. Jewelry should never be tossed into a drawer or on top of a dresser − that’s asking for scratches and damaged gems.
Most jewelry pieces come in a box or pouch from the store, which is a perfect place to keep them. Sterling silver, for example, should be kept in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth. Jewelry boxes that feature individually padded slots for rings and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets are also ideal. When traveling, protect your jewelry pieces from scratches or other impact damage by padding it in a separate box or case.
Many jewelry stores offer free check-up or professional cleaning at scheduled intervals: Jewelry should be checked every six months and cleaned frequently. Look for a jeweler with professional training and a good reputation – asking friends or relatives for recommendations is a good place to start.