Whether for monetary or sentimental reasons, we care about our jewellery, which means we all want to know how to ensure our pieces remain pristine for as long as possible. While it may be easy to assume they require little attention, considering the expense or their construction, there are certain dos and don’ts if you want your jewellery to last for years to come.
Thankfully, here at Terence Lett, we’ve put together a comprehensive jewellery care guide in this blog post that will walk you through how to care for different types of jewellery, including silver, gold and gemstones. We thought it best to discuss silver, gold and gemstones in relation to their jewellery applications in order to cover the widest scope of jewellery care and offer the best advice in relation to the specific requirements of each.
Silver Jewellery Care
Popular for its classic shine, relative inexpense and ability to go with anything on anyone, silver is a great choice for jewellery. However, silver still requires attention and care. Here is our jewellery care guide for silver pieces:
Silver will naturally tarnish as it reacts with air, so it’s important to remain on top of maintenance. There are several important rules to follow when caring for silver: protect it (as far as possible) from knocks and scratches, keep it away from all chemicals (such as perfume, moisturiser and hairspray), try to stay away from extreme temperatures, and remove jewellery when swimming, showering and bathing. Storage is also important, so to store individually in a plush-lined box or pouch should protect the metal from any environmental damage whilst you’re not wearing it. Storing silver in an airtight container may also elongate its life, due to its reaction with air.
Cleaning silver jewellery is generally a case of using silver cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth. Conferring with your jeweller upon purchase is always a good idea, but the main course of action is to stay away from tissue paper, brushes and anything that will scratch the metal.
Gold Jewellery Care
Gold jewellery care is very much in line with that of silver, but its properties differ slightly so requires some metal-specific measures to ensure longevity.
As is true with silver, remove gold jewellery before bathing, showering and swimming. The chemicals in soap, along with the salt of the sea and the chlorine or pool water all have the potential to dull and scratch your gold jewellery. Again, store separately in soft compartments or pouches to prevent contact with any hard surfaces in the environment. It’s also worth hanging necklaces and chains as tangling can cause damage, leading to the need for repair. You can buff gold regularly with chamois cloths, even if it doesn’t seem dirty; this will retain that all-important shine.
Cleaning gold is as simple as either using a gold cleaner or dropping a very small amount of gentle washing-up liquid into warm water. Pieces without gemstones can be left to soak for up to three hours (as you can’t overclean gold using this mixture), while those with stones should be rubbed with a damp cloth possessing the mixture. After soaking, you can rub the item with your fingers or a cotton bud – after this, rinse the suds and dry with a soft cloth. Ornamental jewellery, or pieces with cracks and crevices, can be cleaned extremely gently with a very-soft-bristled child’s toothbrush. There is extra emphasis on the care to be taken using any bristled instruments with gold as the metal is easy to scratch.
Gemstone Jewellery Care
Gemstones cover a wide range of precious jewels, so it’s imperative to discuss this facet of jewellery care with the jeweller you purchased the piece from and research your specific gems and their care instructions. Although, there are some basic rules to follow that should ensure your jewellery stays shining.
Again, avoid chemicals at all costs. Ammonia and bleach will damage both your diamonds and your skin, so steer clear. Even hairspray, moisturiser and perfume can damage your precious jewellery, so endeavour to put on your jewellery last and take it off first. In doing this, you also save your earrings from getting caught on your clothes and other potential dangers of getting dressed whilst drenched in jewels.
Sunlight is an extreme danger to almost all gemstones, so pay close mind to the exposure your jewellery experiences. The effects of the sun also differ in accordance with the specific gemstone itself; amethyst and topaz fade, pearls bleach and peel and opal can darken all because of the sun’s rays.
Cleaning is yet another process that is dependant upon which gemstones your jewellery boasts. A general rule of thumb is to avoid hot water and chemicals, but to clean with a soft, clean, damp cloth after wearing. Porous stones, however, like turquoise and emeralds, should be wiped with an untreated, dry cloth. There should be no tissue paper in sight at any point – it might seem soft, but the texture is deceivingly rough – try looking up ‘tissue paper under a microscope’ to see just what we mean.
Ultrasonic cleaning can be great for some jewels, such as diamonds, most metals and even some gems, but can seriously damage others. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning if your jewellery possesses pearls, coral or ivory. Gemstones fractured with oil, resin or glass – like emeralds – will be damaged by ultrasonic cleaning, as will coated gems, heat-treated gems, and those susceptible to heat or temperature changes (like tanzanite and opal).
We all care about our jewellery. That’s why we put together this jewellery care guide, but we do strongly recommend you communicate with your jeweller in order to ensure your fine accessories are kept in the condition they deserve. Unlike other consumer products, they’re built to last, so taking good care of your pieces will ensure a lifetime of value and make sure it means something for years to come.
At Terence Lett, we have an extensive selection of beautiful jewellery, and even offer a repairs and maintenance service. So, if you would like to hear more about what we can do for you, get in touch – you can call us on 01993 779769 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.