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Jewelry Care

Jewelry Care
As a jewelry artist, I recommend cleaning your fine jewelry by either using mildly sudsy or plain water for cleaning and light polishing with a jewelry polishing cloth, or having your jewelry cleaned by a professional. There are, however, many other methods for cleaning jewelry. Please do be sure that your gemstones and pearls in the jewelry can withstand whichever method you choose. Keeping your jewelry clean will help it last for a lifetime of wear.

The short version: Keep jewelry away from scratching, banging, chemicals of all kinds, extreme temps and sunlight. Clean it regularly with mildly sudsy or plain water, rinse really well, and pat dry with a non-scratching cloth. Polish gently with a jewelry polishing cloth. Store most jewelry in a reclosable plastic bag or cloth with anti-tarnish tissue.

The long version is below.

General Jewelry Care

  • Protect all jewelry from scratches, sharp blows, chemicals, extreme temperatures, and sunlight.
  • After each wearing, gently wipe each piece of jewelry clean of make up and skin oils with a 100% cotton cloth.
  • Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
  • Remove rings when doing household or handyman tasks such a gardening, cleaning and household repairs.
  • Apply makeup and hairspray before putting on your jewelry.
  • Do not wear jewelry while in a swimming pool or hot tub. The chlorine can damage various gemstones and metals including gold.
  • Do not store jewelry next to heating vent, window sill, or in the car.
  • Store jewelry away from sunlight. The sun may fade gemstones.
  • Always store bead necklaces strung on silk (such as lapis, pearls, etc) flat because silk stretches over time.
  • Store jewelry in resealable plastic or jewelry bags with anti-tarnish paper to retard tarnish. Jewelry with pearls or opals will need to be stored in fabric instead of plastic as they need to "breathe."
Do Not Place in Chemical Cleaners
(This is a partial list! If in doubt, don't put it in any chemicals!)

Lapis Lazuli

Some Stones That Can
Change In Sunlight

(This is a partial list!)

Amethyst - becomes paler
Ametrine - may become lighter or change colors
Aquamarine - becomes paler
Aventurine - some lighter varieties become paler
Beryl - brown/orange varieties may fade to pale pink
Celestite - becomes paler
Chrysoprase - becomes paler
Citrine - becomes paler/changes color
Hiddenite - becomes paler
Kunzite - becomes paler
Rose Quartz - becomes paler
Smoky Quartz - becomes paler

Silver and Gold

Silver and gold can be cared for in pretty much the same way. You can use these methods to clean and polish .925 sterling silver, 10K to 18K gold, and 14 karat gold filled:

  • Commercial silver/gold cleaners. Be sure that any stones in the jewelry can withstand the chemicals in the cleaner. Read the label, and if in doubt, do not use a chemical cleaner. Some gemstones that cannot be placed in most commercial jewelry cleaners are: pearls, lapis lazuli, malachite, opals, coral, turquoise, and others.
  • Ammonia and water. Use a light solution of ammonia and water on a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly with water. Ammonia should not be used on the same types of gemstones that should not be used with commercial cleaners
  • Jewelry polishing cloth or sunshine cloth. Use lightly to restore luster. Note: Do not press hard when polishing 14 karat golf filled so that you do not damage the gold surface.
  • Additionally, tarnish can be retarded by storing your jewelry in the resealable plastic bag included with each piece, or in a commercial jewelry bag with anti-tarnish papers. Pearls and opals, however, should not be stored in plastic because they need to "breathe."

Copper and Brass

Although I do not use them often so far I thought I'd give you this information. Copper and brass are also very simple to care for. While they do tarnish more quickly than sterling silver, they can be restored to their original shine easily. Methods for cleaning and shining copper and brass jewelry are:

  • Commercial copper/brass cleaner. Again, be sure that any stones in teh jewelry can withstand the chemicals in the cleaner or do not use it.
  • Ketchup. As unlikely as it sounds, the acid in the tomato of the ketchup shines up copper and brass quite nicely. Apply it with a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting ketchup on the same types of stones as should not be used with chemical cleaners. I'm not sure about it, but I expect the acid in the tomato might affect more delicate stones.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Another unlikely sounding cleaner, worcestershire sauce is similar to the ketchup in its mechanism of action. Add the worcestershire sauce to a small dish, and place your jewelry in the dish for a few minutes, remove, and rinse thoroughly. This method should not be used with gemstones or pearls that cannot be cleaned with chemical cleaners, as the acid in the tomato of the worcestershire may affect more delicate stones.
  • Another kitchen cleaner method for copper and brass is a combination of water, lemon or lime juice and salt. Add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to a container of water, then add a teaspoon of salt and stir gently. Place the jewelry in the solution for a few minutes, then remove and rinse thoroughly. If needed, the dip in the solution can be repeated. Again, this method should not be used with gemstones or pearls that cannot be cleaned with chemical cleaners.
  • As with sterling silver, copper and brass jewelry will tarnish slower if stored in a recloseable plastic bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper.
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