CARING FOR YOUR JEWELLERY
Whether you're buying Gold, Diamonds, Sterling Silver, Swarovski Crystal, Freshwater Pearls or an inexpensive high fashion jewellery item that simply takes your fancy and adds the finishing touch to a particular outfit, you need to look after it.. Follow these tips and suggestions and your jewellery will stay in mint condition for many years to come. .
Invest in a Jewellery Roll or Jewellery Box.
It's of paramount importance to keep jewellery out of the air and away from dust, so when you take it off, you need to place it in a Jewellery Roll or Jewellery Box - immediately.
Taking care of costume jewellery
The term "Costume Jewellery" was first used in the 1920s to denote jewellery made of non-precious materials - leather, feathers, material, enamelled metal, acrylics and semi-precious stones such as Quartz, Agate, Onyx, Turquoise etcetera. To recreate the gold and silver look of precious jewellery, costume jewellery uses a base metal thickly coated in gold or silver plating. And to recreate the look of precious gems such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, acrylic or glass stones are added. Costume jewellery can be antique, period, or contemporary in style and has become extremely collectible.
The biggest enemy of Costume Jewellery is "tarnishing", which causes the finish to go black and dull. This is caused by a process called "oxidation", which in simple terms is caused by the interaction of metal, silver and gold-plating with oxygen, sulphur or acids on the skin.
To keep costume jewellery tarnish-free and looking its best, you will need to clean it at various intervals in a mild, highly diluted dishwashing-liquid-and-water solution. But don’t let your jewellery soak for long, just dip it in quickly and dry it - thoroughly. Once dry, wrap it in anti-tarnish or tissue paper and keep it in a dry container, a jewellery roll, or jewellery box.
Use of paste or other strong jewellery cleaners is not recommended as this will soon remove the outer coating of gold or silver plating and loosen any stones or enamel. Use of a polishing cloth, although less abrasive, is also not recommended.
Taking care of Sterling Silver jewellery
Most good quality Silver is 925 Sterling Silver. This means the item is 92.5% pure Silver - the very highest quality you can get. Any closer to 100% pure Silver and it would be too soft to retain its shape, so 7.5% of a base metal, usually copper, is added to create top quality items. All genuine 925 Sterling Silver items carry the 925 stamp alongside the Maker's mark and Assay Office mark.
If Sterling Silver jewellery is worn on a regular basis it will not usually tarnish. However, if an item of silver jewellery is worn spasmodically, even if it is stored away, then it will be prone to tarnishing.
If your Sterling Silver becomes tarnished - develops a black film - just use fresh, uncontaminated commercial silver dip liquid, polish paste or cloth, all of which are available in jewellery shops or hardware stores.
You’ll need to check that there are no loose stones or parts and limit their exposure to silver cleaners, as the cleaner may harm certain kinds of gemstones. Make sure you read the cleaning product's instructions before cleaning and thoroughly rinse the jewellery after cleaning. Once clean, dry with a soft cloth until it's completely dry. Then store it in a dry container, or a plastic bag with anti-tarnish or tissue paper.
Taking Care of Precious Jewellery
Gold, Silver, Platinum and precious gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires etcetera require special care when wearing, storing, or cleaning.
Here are some handy Do's and Don'ts to keep your expensive jewellery in tiptip condition.
Don't wear precious jewellery when doing housework or gardening. Or, if you do, make sure it’s covered.
Don't pile your jewellery into one drawer. Remember a diamond ring can scratch other items - especially pearls. So keep them separate and ideally wrapped in velvet, paper, or silk.
Do check frequently for loose stones. To do this, gently tap the piece with your finger near your ear to check for any rattle or movement.
Do get pearls restrung every two years or, if you wear them a lot, make that annually.
Do clean precious jewellery often to remove dirt particles and oils from your skin. This will maintain its sparkle and beauty. All precious jewellery items can be safely cleaned by soaking for 10 minutes in warm soapy water (using a non-detergent soap). To loosen any dirt around the claw setting, you can use a soft brush on harder gems. To reduce greasy build-up on diamond jewellery, it is recommended that you dip it in vodka - or any plain alcohol - before soaking.
Don't use toothpaste to clean your jewellery. This is a cleaning myth and, in fact, the abrasives in toothpaste can damage softer gems and metals.