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How to clean fine jewelry

Posted by khcreations on October 8, 2009 at 1:55 PM

How to clean

Detailed Tips for Care and Cleaning of Fine Jewelry and Watches

Fine jewelry is meant to be worn and passed down to future generations.Taking simple steps to care for and clean your jewelry today, will helpensure that it will remain looking beautiful tomorrow.  Each piece ofjewelry and timepiece is individual and needs to be cared fordifferently.  Below are detailed tips, broken down by jewelry types, tocare for your precious baubles:


Diamond Jewelry

Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing roughwork. Even though diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, itcan still be chipped by a sharp, sudden blow.Chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting on your diamondjewelry. Keep your diamond away from chlorine bleach or other householdchemicals. You should also remove your diamond jewelry before enteringa chlorinated pool or hot tub.Clean your diamonds regularly using a commercial jewelry cleaner, amix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into thesolution and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under thesetting.Always thoroughly rinse and dry your jewelry after cleaning and before storage.Avoid touching your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.

Colored Gemstones

Many natural gemstones are treated or enhanced from the time theyare extracted from the earth by one or more traditionally acceptedjewelry industry practices. These treatments and enhancements canaffect how you should clean and care for your colored gemstone jewelry.Consult your jeweler for more information on caring for treated orenhanced gemstones.After wearing, wipe your precious gemstone jewelry thoroughly witha clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. This will enhance the luster of thegemstones and ensure that your jewelry is clean before storage. Store gemstone pieces individually in soft pouches. You should be able to obtain these from your jeweler.Do not expose your precious gemstone pieces to saltwater or harshchemicals, such as chlorine or detergents. These chemicals may slowlyerode the finish and polish of gemstones.Hair spray, perfume and perspiration may cause jewelry to becomedull. Apply all cosmetics, perfumes and colognes before putting oncolored gemstone jewelry. Make sure to wipe your gemstones after wearto remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration. Do not subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes.If you have an active lifestyle, take extra precautions with sometypes of gemstone jewelry. Emeralds, for example, are brittle andshould not be worn when doing household chores or any other activitywhere the stone could be hit or damaged.Be extra careful with ultrasonic cleaners. Some gemstones arefragile and can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaners. Consult your jewelerfor the best cleaning procedure for your particular gemstone jewelry.Your jeweler is also a good source for any information on coloredgemstones. Almost all colored stone jewelry can be safely cleaned using a mild soap and water solution and a soft brush.Always thoroughly rinse and dry your jewelry after cleaning and before storage.


Karat Gold Jewelry

Remove all gold jewelry before showering or cleaning. Soap cancause a film to form on karat gold jewelry, making it appear dull anddingy. By preventing the formation of this film, you immediately reducethe frequency with which your pieces will need to be cleaned.To clean your jewelry at home, you'll find many commercial cleanersavailable. In addition, you will find a soft chamois cloth an effectiveand inexpensive way to keep your pieces lustrous and shining. Ask yourjeweler to recommend both of these items for you. For certain gold jewelry, especially pieces that do not containcolored gemstones, an ultrasonic cleaning machine may be appropriate.Once again, ask your jeweler to advise you. Be careful of chlorine. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures,can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry. Do not wear goldjewelry while using chlorine bleach or while in a pool or hot tub. You can remove tarnish with jewelry cleaner, or by using soap andwater mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Carefully brush with a softbristle brush. An old toothbrush can also be used. After the brushing,simply rinse with lukewarm water and allow to dry. If there is a heavytarnish on your jewelry, consult your jeweler for the best cleaningprocedure. You should also talk to your jeweler before attempting toclean any karat gold jewelry set with colored gemstones, because somestones require special cleaning procedures. Grease can be removed from karat gold jewelry by dipping thejewelry into plain rubbing alcohol. Again, check with your jewelerabout colored gemstone pieces.


Platinum jewelry can be cleaned in the same manner as other finejewelry. Your jeweler can recommend a prepackaged jewelry cleaner thatworks with platinum, or ask your jeweler to professionally clean yourplatinum pieces. A professional cleaning every six months will keepyour platinum jewelry in great shape.Store your platinum jewelry separately and with care, not allowingpieces to touch each other, because even platinum can be scratched.Signs of wear, such as scratches, can eventually appear onplatinum. However, due to the metal's durability there is usuallylittle metal loss from the scratch. If visible scratches do appear,your jeweler should be able to re-polish the piece. If your platinum is set with diamonds or other precious stones, beespecially careful, as these materials can be more susceptible todamage. Some fine jewelry pieces combine platinum with karat goldjewelry. Care for these pieces as you would your gold jewelry, orconsult your jeweler.

Sterling Silver Jewelry

Clean your silver jewelry with a mild soap and water solution,allowing the water to bead up, and then pat dry with a soft cloth. Formore stubborn dirt, use a jewelry cleaner designed for silver use. Askyour jeweler to recommend an appropriate brand. Store your silver in a cool, dry place, preferably in atarnish-preventive bag or wrapped in a soft piece of felt or cloth.Store pieces individually, so that they don't knock together andscratch.Do not rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or afine piece of felt. Your jeweler should be able to provide these.Tissue paper or paper towels can cause scratches because of the fibersin these products. Make sure your silver is not exposed to air and light duringstorage ? this can cause silver to tarnish. And don't wear sterlingsilver in chlorinated water or when working with household chemicals.

Cultured Pearls

Apply cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on anypearl jewelry. When you remove the jewelry, wipe it carefully with asoft cloth to remove any traces of these substances. You can also wash your pearl jewelry with mild soap and water. Donot clean cultured pearls with any chemicals, abrasives or solvents.These substances can damage your pearls. Always lay cultured pearl strands flat to dry.  Hanging a strand may stretch the threads.Do not toss your cultured pearl jewelry carelessly into a purse,bag or jewel box. A pearl's surface is soft and can be scratched byhard metal edges or by the harder gemstones of other jewelry pieces. Place cultured pearls in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when putting them away. Cosmetics, perspiration, oils and ordinary wear weaken and stretchthe threads on which the pearls are strung. Bring your pearls back toyour jeweler for restringing once a year. Make certain the pearls arestrung with a knot between each pearl. This will prevent loss of pearlsif the string should break.


No matter how handy you are, don't attempt perform watch repairsyourself. Only an expert jeweler/watchmaker should be trusted to putyour watch back into working condition. Give your watch a quick check on a regular basis, making sure thatthe strap or bracelet is securely attached to the watch face.A mechanical watch should be checked regularly by yourjeweler/watchmaker or an authorized dealer and serviced according tothe manufacturer's guidelines. Wind your watch in a clockwise direction, preferably about the sametime each day. Remove the watch from your wrist when winding so as notto place undue pressure on the stem. Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately. Even a hairlinecrack can let dust and moisture into the timekeeping mechanism,threatening its accuracy. Unless the degree of water-resistance is clearly specified when youpurchase your watch, do not wear it into the shower or pool, or on amoist wrist. Have your jeweler/watchmaker or an authorized watch dealer replacethe battery in a quartz watch before it runs out. Dead batteries leftin the watch can leak or corrode, ruining the timepiece. Do not attemptto change the battery in a watch yourself. If your watch iswater-resistant, a water-resistance test should be performed after thebattery has been replaced to ensure that water will not leak into anddamage the watch.Battery life varies considerably according to the type of watch andits functions.  Refer to your owners manual for more information.Oils from your skin can build up on a watch. If your watch iswater-resistant, you can give it a quick cleaning with a mixture ofwarm water and either a mild soap or a dish detergent. Dry the watchwith a soft cloth after cleaning. If your watch has a strap made out ofleather or another material, you should clean only the watch face andnot the strap. If your watch is not water-resistant, or you're not sure, do notimmerse it in water. Clean the piece with a slightly damp cloth andthen dry.

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