General Care for Fine Jewelry
With proper care, your fine jewelry will last a lifetime. Here are some tips to keep your jewelry looking its best: All fine jewelry should be treated with care. After wearing your jewelry, wipe with a clean, soft, barely damp cloth to remove any dirt or cosmetics. Store each piece of jewelry individually in a soft pouch or cloth to prevent scratching.
- Avoid salt water and harsh chemicals such as chlorine or detergents, which can harm gold and gemstones.
- Do not sleep in your jewelry - you may damage it.
- When you travel, pack your jewelry carefully. A variety of protective soft rolls and pouches are available.
Special Care for Gemstone Jewelry
Most colored gemstones routinely undergo heating or other treatments to further enhance their natural beauty. These enhancements are generally permanent. However, extra care should be taken with all colored gemstone jewelry. If cared for properly, it can last a lifetime.
- Never expose any gemstone jewelry to salt water, chemicals, perfume or hairspray. These substances may slowly erode the finish and polish of the gems. Do not subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes.
- Opals, emeralds and tanzanite require extra precautions.
- Do not use commercial cleaning solutions, ultrasonic steam cleaners, cold or hot water to clean these gems. Use only a soft cloth and lukewarm water. Opals are especially sensitive to temperature variations, which can cause cracking. Remove your opal jewelry before washing dishes, handling frozen foods, or in very cold weather.
- Store your gemstone jewelry in cotton, never plastic. Keep each piece separate as these gemstones are easily scratched by other pieces.
Special Care for Diamond Jewelry
- A diamond is the hardest substance known to man. However, though your diamond is very durable, it can still be chipped by a strong blow. Never wear your diamond while doing rough work.
- While chlorine and other chemicals won't harm your diamond, they can damage or discolor the mounting. Always remove your diamond ring before using any chemicals.
- For everyday light cleaning of solitaire jewelry, use a toothbrush and warm slightly soapy water in a bowl (never over the sink). Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
- Store your diamond jewelry individually, as diamonds can scratch other diamonds as well as other jewelry.
Special Care for Gold & Platinum Jewelry
- For light cleaning of your gold or platinum jewelry soak the jewelry in a bowl of mild liquid detergent and lukewarm water. Brush lightly with a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with warm, then cool water to remove dulling residue, and dry with a soft cloth. To remove heavy grease or oil, dip your precious metal jewelry into plain rubbing alcohol, then follow the directions above.
- Remove jewelry before bathing, swimming, gardening or exercising.
- Chemicals such a chlorine or cleaning solutions can damage your jewelry. Hairspray, perfume or perspiration may also dull the finish of precious metals.
- Because gold is a naturally yellow metal, white gold is created by mixing other alloys with the pure 24K gold. White gold is routinely coated with a rhodium finish. Rhodium is in the platinum family, and therefore tarnish resistant. The rhodium finish on white gold will wear off over time depending on how the jewelry is worn, cared for and cleaned. This finish can be reapplied as needed.
Special care for Sterling Silver Jewelry
- Silver will tarnish when exposed to air and light. This is normal, and depending on the type of finish, silver may need special care.
- Sterling silver is frequently plated with anti-tarnish coatings. This plating may eventually wear off, sometimes unevenly, creating the appearance of water spots or discoloration.
- For polishing older sterling silver pieces, use a cloth or mitt specially designed for silver, and silver polish.
- For silver with anti-tarnish coatings, use a soft jewelry polishing cloth only. It is best to lightly wipe or clean these pieces as you would gold jewelry. Do not use silver polish.
- Never wear your sterling silver jewelry while swimming in chlorine water, as chlorine may cause discoloration of the metal.
- As with other fine jewelry, exposure to any chemicals may damage the finish.
- Store your sterling silver jewelry in a cool dry place, individually wrapped in a cloth to prevent it from being scratched by other jewelry.
Special Care for Opaque Stone Jewelry
- Porous stones such as lapis, turquoise, coral, and malachite are sometimes treated to further enhance natural color or luster. Although this treatment is generally stable, it may be affected by contact with hairspray, perfume, or dry cleaning solution.
- Avoid exposure of these stones to any chemicals or detergents.
Special Care for Cultured Pearl Jewelry
- Freshwater and saltwater (akoya) cultured pearls are often bleached to achieve a more uniform, desirable hue. Many pearls, particularly from freshwaters, are dyed or otherwise treated to create more vivid and interesting hues. These treatments are all permanent.
- Cultured pearls have an organic surface coating (called 'nacre') which is susceptible to chipping. It requires special care to prevent chipping, cracking or discoloration.
- “Last On, First Off” Put your cultured pearls on after applying all cosmetics, hairspray, nail polish or perfume. Similarly, remove them before beginning your nighttime beauty regimen.
- Never wear cultured pearls while bathing, swimming, or working with chemicals. These substances may damage the surface of your cultured pearls, or weaken the silk on which they are strung.
- Use only a clean, soft cloth to wipe your cultured pearls and cultured pearl jewelry after wearing. Store them in a soft pouch or cloth (never plastic) to prevent scratching by other jewelry.
- If your cultured pearl jewelry becomes more heavily soiled, it’s time for a more thorough professional cleaning and restringing. Strung necklaces and bracelets, when worn often, should be restrung at least every few years.
An American Gem Society Store