The more you love a piece of jewelry, the more often you're likely to wear it. That means it's going to get dirty - there's no getting around it. Luckily, if you treat your jewelry right, clean it regularly and store it properly, it will stand the test of time. Ensure your gems maintain their sparkle with these tips for taking good care of your jewelry.
Limit heat and light
Light: Avoid exposing your gemstone jewelry to extremes of any kind. Continued exposure to light over time can have negative effects on the durability and color of some gemstones. More delicate stones, such as pearls, can bleach under extreme exposure to light, while other gems, such as amber, can darker over time. proper storage will keep your jewelry safe from the sun's rays.
Heat: Most gemstones are formed as a result of pressure and heat. Some are then heat treated to produce certain colors or change the structure, so excessive heat can change the stone you bought into something else entirely. Sudden changes in temperature can also cause some gemstones to fracture. Pearls are susceptible to drying out which will cause them to crack and discolor. Opals could turn white or brown and develop tiny cracks.
Avoid harsh chemicals
If you're considering using a household cleaning product to give your favorite jewelry a quick cleaning, don't. Abrasive chemicals can scratch or discolor more delicate gems so it's best to stay away from them. Rinsing your jewelry in warm water mixed with a tiny bit of gentle dish detergent and drying with a soft cloth will be enough to keep it clean.
Proper cleaning depends on the gem
The Mohs scale of hardness refers to how soft of robust a stone is and how it holds up to weathering or shock. For example, a diamond ranks at the highest hardness score of 10 and might not be as susceptible to damage while a pearl is much softer and ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 on the scale. Understanding where your gemstone jewelry ranks for hardness will help you determine how to clean your jewelry properly.
Diamonds and gemstones
On a weekly basis, it’s best to soak your diamonds for 15 minutes in warm water with a few drops of gentle dish detergent or rubbing alcohol. Lightly scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove any excess dirt & oil. Then, rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
The classic mix of dish soap and warm water is also an effective way to clean gold and platinum jewelry. To add sparkle, combine 1 tsp of household ammonia with 1 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of gentle dish detergent, and soak your gold or platinum pieces for 10 minutes. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub any tough buildup on the gold. Rinse well with warm water and buff with a soft cloth.
Sterling silver jewelry can be hard to clean when you use commercial silver paste, plus it makes a mess. We advise that you line the bottom of a glass casserole with aluminum foil (aluminum reacts well with silver to assist in the cleaning process). Then, soak your silver jewelry in a mixture of 2 tbsp of baking soda and hot water. Rinse well with hot water to get rid of the tarnish. You might notice the water getting a little murky - this is because the tarnish transfers from the silver to the water. With this method, there's no excessive scrubbing required. When you remove the items from the water, buff with a soft cloth.
The best way to keep your pearls clean is to wear them often. The oils from our skin keep them soft and lustrous. However, if you don't get to wear your pearls often, you can keep them in good condition by wiping them with a soft cloth sprinkled with olive oil. Then use a dry cloth to buff them to a gorgeous shine.
Store your jewelry properly
For jewelry you only wear once in a while, proper storage is key. Moisture can speed up the tarnishing process, so make sure your pieces are clean and dry when you put them away. Ideally, each piece of jewelry has its own box, but if you need to keep multiple pieces together in a jewelry box, lay them out so they aren’t touching, and chains won’t get tangled. That way, when you take them out to wear them, they’ll still look as good as new.