Jewellery Maintenance - Tips To Keep Jewellery Clean and Damage-Free
Whether you own a family heirloom, high-end jewellery or a sentimental gold band from your Grandmother, the key to keeping jewellery in good condition and retaining its shine is regular maintenance. It can be tricky to figure out what type of maintenance your jewellery requires – considering what might work well on a gold bracelet might erode a brooch – knowing what type of cleaning works for your jewellery will go a long way in preserving your asset(s).
How to Keep Jewellery Clean and Well Maintained
Every metal, stone and setting is unique in its care needs.
Silver Jewellery Maintenance
Clean your silver jewellery with a soft, 100% cotton cloth and gently rub off any excess makeup or other residue. Never use anything but a clean 100% cotton cloth, silver cleaning cloth, or very soft bristle brush to clean silver jewellery. Other fabrics often contain wood fibres or synthetics that can cause tiny scratches in the surface of your jewellery.
Cubic Zirconia Jewellery Maintenance
Use a cotton cloth to wipe your jewellery clean, and ensure your cleaning motions are of a straight, back and forth nature and that you remove any surface dirt and dust. Do not rub in a circular motion as that can scratch the surface of your jewellery. Once you’ve removed surface residue, use a cleaning solution to remove grime and dirt. In a pinch, cubic zirconia can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap applied with a soft, cosmetic applicator to reach crevices.
You can also steam your cubic zirconia’s jewellery. Using a kettle or a pot, hold your jewellery directly over the steam to loosen the residue. Once steamed, use your polishing cloth to dry your jewellery.
Pearl Jewellery Maintenance
Pearls are incredibly soft and require special care and attention. You should never store your pearls in a jewellery box next to other jewellery – scratches, nicks and dents are almost guaranteed; a better storage option is a velvet-lined box.
If you wear your pearl jewellery regularly, bear in mind you will need to wipe them down more often due to skin secretions which may build-up and damage the pearls over time. A pearl necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin that will eat into the pearl causing it to lose its lustre. Wiping pearls off with either a wet or dry soft cloth will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration from eating away at the pearl. You can also use a drop of olive oil on your cleansing cloth to help maintain your pearls’ gorgeous shine.
Pearls are also susceptible to damage by chemicals and heat. Only use jewellery cleaners that are clearly marked “safe for pearls”. Never use ultrasonic cleansers, dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers. Never use toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials to clean your pearls.
Rhodium Plated Silver Jewellery Maintenance
To clean rhodium plated silver, simply use a mild liquid soap and warm water to hand wash the item. Dry it off and polish it with a soft cloth to prevent build-up of soaps. Perhaps the most important part of rhodium plated jewellery maintenance is to avoid chemicals, abrasive cloths, toothbrushes, dips or ammonia at all costs.
Gold Jewellery Maintenance
While traditional gold doesn’t tarnish, it can be dirtied or become dull by the oils in your skin, body lotion, makeup or other substances. To clean gold, simply wash the item(s) with mild detergent and a soft cloth.
Gemstone Jewellery Maintenance
Gemstones are exceptionally hard, buy they can be damaged from careless handling and negligence.
Never remove rings by pulling on the stone: that habit may result in a loose, then lost, gem. Store each piece of gemstone jewellery separately so that harder stones don’t scratch softer ones. Almost every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw your jewellery in a heap in a drawer or jewellery box.
Rings in particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the gem, especially if worn often. You need to clean them regularly to “let the light in” so your gems can shine. To clean transparent gemstones, soak them in water with a touch of gentle dish soap. Use a bowl of water rather than the sink to eliminate the risk of anything going down the drain. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone. Rinse the soap off and pat dry with a lint-free cloth.
Organic gems (with the likes of pearls, coral, and amber) should only be wiped clean with moist cloth, as these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume, as over time they can cause gem damage.
Stainless Steel Jewellery Maintenance
Stainless steel – misleading perhaps due to its name – can tarnish over time, but is rust resistant. Steel jewellery does not tarnish as fast as silver jewellery, but the rate of tarnishing depends on usage. Avoiding contact with chemicals (lotions, chlorine from pools etc.) will aid in its preservation. The same soap-and-cloth method of cleaning is suggested for steel jewellery as well.
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