Maximize the life and brilliance of your jewelry with proper care and storage techniques to combat exposure to everyday elements. A little TLC will keep your jewelry beautiful for many years.
Water can be used to clean and rinse some jewelry, but is should be dried thoroughly afterward, especially before storing. Usually, though, a good rule of thumb is to keep your jewelry dry.
Cleaning Your Jewelry:
Jewelry is prone to getting dirty, dusty, smudged, dull, dingy and grimy from everyday wear. Lotions, soaps, cosmetics and even your natural skin oils and the air can oxidize or discolor mountings and create a film on gemstones or behind ring settings, thereby masking their brilliance. Simply clean your jewelry regularly and it will look as good as new. The frequency and method of cleaning you use depends on the jewelry piece and how often you wear it. Periodic professional cleaning is a good idea. In the interim, however, you can clean many of your jewelry pieces at home with a few simple, inexpensive methods.
Bath Method: Fill a small bowl with warm water and mild household liquid detergent, creating suds. Brush the jewelry with a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush or an eyebrow brush, creating a lather. Try to brush under the stones and in between prongs. Using a metal or plastic strainer, rinse off the pieces with warm water. Make sure the sink has a stopper in place. Pat the items dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Cold Soak Methods:
Method 2: Make a solution of equal parts cold water and household ammonia. Soak the pieces half an hour. Remove them from the solution and tap gently around the mounting with an old soft toothbrush. Then, rinse the pieces in the solution once more and drain them on tissue paper.
Quick Dip Method: Use a brand-name jewelry cleaner made for the kinds of stones and metals in your jewelry. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not touch clean stones with your fingers. Please use commercial cleaners with caution; they may be no more effective than household cleaners, but may be more convenient for you. They are generally safe for diamonds, rubies and sapphires, but be sure not to soak these items for more than a few minutes. Commercial cleaners may be harmful to some gemstones; they are not recommended for opals, pearls, corals, lapis lazulis, turquoise and emeralds, as they may damage or reduce these stones’ luster.
Ultrasonic Method: Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are small, modern machines that quickly clean any piece of jewelry that can be soaked in a liquid. They usually have a metal cup filled with water and a cleaning agent. When the machine is on, high-frequency turbulence cleans the jewelry. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions and warnings for using the machine. Also, consult a trusted professional jeweler to ensure an ultrasonic cleaner is appropriate for your pieces and to determine which one to use, as there are many different models available. Ultrasonic cleaners are typically only safe for diamonds, rubies and sapphires. They may cause damage to emeralds, opals, pearls and other colored gemstones.
Created or simulated gemstones:
How are created or simulated gemstones different from natural gemstones? Natural gems are created by the forces of nature and must be discovered, usually by digging in the ground or sifting through a riverbed. When these stones are created in a laboratory, they are called created, simulated or synthetic gemstones.
The purpose of creating gemstones in a laboratory isn’t necessarily to reduce the cost, but also to produce larger, more perfectly consistent stones. Created or simulated gems can be made of any material. Synthetic gems, however, share virtually all chemical, optical and physical characteristics of their natural mineral counterparts.
Austrian crystals: These are known for their excellent reflective quality and prismatic brilliance. This man-made crystal is created using natural minerals and quartz sand, which are then heated and slowly cooled using a process similar to that of creating hand-blown glass. This process creates an end product that can be fashioned into a beautiful crystal.
A special machine is used to create a highly faceted crystal. The crystals are cut in various directions, which allows for excellent light refraction, exceptional brilliance and unsurpassed color quality at an affordable price.
Today Swarovski® is one of the largest suppliers of high-end crystals. In the late 1800s, Daniel Swarovski invented a machine to cut crystal with extreme precision. He patented his technique and to this day, only select Swarovski family members and employees have unrestricted access to the production facility that creates these crystals. They are used to decorate everything from stilettos and sculptures, to chandeliers, jewelry and clothing.