Being aware of how to care for your jewellery can be crucial to maintaining its beauty. By taking proper care for, you’ll be able to keep it sparkling for years to come.
Keep Your Jewellery Away From Light
Keep your jewellery away from sunlight as light may affect certain gems adversely. As a result, they’ll fade or even crack. If exposed to too much light, pearls and other delicate materials like ivory will whiten. Other gems like amber can get a darker colour over time under extreme exposure to light.
Keep Your Jewellery Away From Heat
Heat, as well as light, can be harmful for coloured gemstones, causing them to become less durable and lose their colour. Over time, light and heat can fade or damage gemstones like amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos.
When exposed to extreme heat and subject to sudden temperature changes, some gemstones can even fracture. The thing is that heat can easily make these gems get deprived of natural moisture that is needed to keep their beauty. E.g., pearls can dry out, crack and discolour. Opals can become white or brown, crack, and might be left without their play-of-color.
Keep Your Jewellery Away From Water
Never shower or bathe wearing your jewellery. Don’t forget to take rings off before washing your hands. Also, never wear jewellery in swimming pools and spas. Chlorinated water can get into reaction with the metals found in jewellery and cause colour changes and even structural damage.
Keep Your Jewellery Away from Chemicals
Chemicals can damage precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and even make them lose their colour. Exposure to chemicals can also be harmful for some coloured gems.
Pearls and other delicate or porous gems such as turquoise can get damaged because of everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or other cosmetics. That’s why it’s important to remove your jewellery before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or using household cleaners.
Have Your Jewellery Checked
Taking care of your jewellery also means having it checked and inspected for any possible problems. This will help you discover the early signs of damage. Thus, you’ll be able to prevent any further damage or loss and keep all of your pieces in perfect shape for many years to come.
Take Special Care For Treated Gemstones
Many coloured gemstones regularly undergo some treatments so to maintain a better appearance of colour and clarity. Heat, chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaners can affect negatively these treatments. So you should find out if your gem has been treated or not so to have a better idea how you should care for it. A GIA report can be of great help in such cases. You can get important information about your gem and learn whether it has undergone any detectable treatments.
Ultrasonic cleaners aren’t recommended being used for all types of gems. Don’t use an ultrasonic cleaner for:
- Gemstones featuring surface-reaching breaks that have been filled with oil, resin or a glass-like material;
- Organic gem materials like pearls, coral, ivory, or amber;
- Gems coated with a non-permanent substance such as plastic or wax;
- Some heat-treated gemstones;
- Gems that are likely to be harmed by heat and temperature changes, no matter they’re treated or not. Tanzanite, feldspar (sunstone and moonstone), fluorite, iolite, kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, opal, topaz, turquoise, zircon are among the mentioned gems.
In addition, the machine generates vibration that can sometimes shake your jewellery piece and cause it to loose or chip.
You’d better turn to a professional jeweller for this type of cleaning who knows about different gem materials and understands when and how the ultrasonic cleaner can be used safely.
The Easiest Method
Precious metals such as gold and silver are likely to get damaged when exposed to chemicals contained in many household cleaning agents. So you should clean your jewellery and coloured gems using warm water, a soft brush, and a mild soap with no detergents. You can also consider using a water pick or toothpick for places that are hard to reach. To dry and polish, use a soft, lint-free cloth works. Don’t forget to close the sink’s drain before cleaning.
When it comes to pearls, use a towel to lay a strand of pearls on it, so they can dry. If the silk thread is still wet, don’t touch it as it can stretch and attract dirt. Wait until it’s completely dry. Pearls worn often should be threaded on a new string once a year.
What About Damaged Jewellery?
If your jewellery is damaged, cracked or broken, avoid cleaning it, otherwise you’re going to make the problem even worse. What you should do is to set aside the damaged piece for repair as soon as possible.
People usually don’t pay too much attention to how they store their jewellery. You should never toss your jewellery into a drawer or on top of a dresser as you can scratch and damage the gems. Keeping your jewellery in a box or pouch is a perfect way to store it.
If you’re using sterling silver, keep it in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth. You can also consider jewellery boxes featuring individually padded slots for rings and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets.
When it comes to travelling, use a separate box or case to store them so that they won’t get damaged or scratched.