How To Care For Your Jewelry
To care for your jewelry and keep it clean, gently wipe off make-up and skin oils after each wearing. Use a nub free, 100% cotton cloth and gently wipe the piece clean using only the soft pads of your fingers. Store in jeweler's tissue or a soft bag.
Use only 100% cotton as a polishing cloth since paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics. These materials may impart fine scratches in the metal, especially on sterling silver.
To keep sterling silver from tarnishing, wrap the piece in jeweler's tissue paper and place it inside a plastic zip lock bag and seal.
Take care when cleaning sterling silver. Sterling silver is a very soft metal and can easily be marred by a fingernail or a rough piece of fabric pushed against the metal surface. Use one of the following methods to clean heavier soils and tarnish:
• To remove fingerprints, light grease or dirt, add a small amount of mild liquid soap to a half cup of warm water, soak 2-3 minutes, rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry completely before storing in an air tight plastic bag.
• Use care when soaking jewelry that has soft stones such as amber, lapis lazuli, or turquoise.
Extended soaking in any solution may harm the polish on the stone. Never use chlorine bleach to clean jewelry.
• To remove excessive tarnish, polish with a 100% cotton cloth and a good nonabrasive metal cleaner. Remove any remnants of the cleaner from gemstones and rinse thoroughly with clean water. DO NOT use toothpaste!
Important Care For Your Fine Jewelry
Remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any product that contains bleach. Bleach can cause gold and other metal alloys to breakdown leaving the metal irreparably damaged. This includes swimming pools and bathing in hot tubs as chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria growth.
Be sure to use a fresh jewelry cloth with every cleaning. Dirt and grit left on the cloth from a previous use will leave scrapes and pits in the piece you are trying to clean and polish.
Never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean metal or stones. Abrasives can damage the surface of the metal requiring the skill of a professional to buff and refinish. Toothpaste will also scuff the surface on amber, lapis, turquoise and other soft stones resulting in the fine polish which was produced by the skilled lapidary to be permanently marred.
Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning some jewelry but they can damage many gemstones and the chemicals are not recommended for pearls and many other fine stones. Repeated use can also loosen the settings and you could lose your precious gems.
Common Chemicals and Solutions to Avoid
Chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and ammonia can cause harm to your jewelry. These chemicals can dull or even pit the surface on softer gemstones. Petroleum based products can actually "melt" amber if allowed to remain on the stone and they can do significant damage to pearls.
Gems Special Care:
Opals require special care. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, chemicals and heat. Avoid strong sunlight. Strong sunlight can dry out the water in opals which could cause hazing or color change.
Protect pearls from scratches by keeping them away from perfumes and household chemicals can wear away the nacre or cause color change.
Soft stones like lapis, malachite, turquoise, amber and opals can easily be scratched by pin stems and the edges of other jewelry. Protect pieces with these gemstones by wrapping them in jeweler's tissue and storing separately.
This list is not all inclusive and only provides warnings for some of the most common improper practices used to clean jewelry.