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Caring for your jewellery

Tuesday 14 July 2015

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This guide aims to help you in keeping your jewellery looking as good as it did the day you bought it. Below we outline the best tips for your STERLING SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM,DIAMONDS, OTHER PRECIOUS STONES and PEARLS

There are many cleaning products available to buy (and Keanes have a large selection) but there are still a few tips that make the job even easier - and even the odd old wives tale that we can recommend!

 

 

Sterling Silver

 

What is Sterling Silver?

Silver is a soft metal in its pure form, too soft to be used for jewellery and other items, so it's mixed with other metals to make it more durable. A popular silver mixture, called an alloy, is known as sterling silver.

Jewellery sold in Ireland cannot be marked or described as silver, solid silver, sterling silver, sterling, or using the abbreviation Ster. unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver.
The minimum silver content can also be stated as 925 parts per thousand of pure silver, so you might see the figures 925 or 92.5 used to mark silver content. Copper is the most common metal used to round out the 7.5 percent alloy balance in sterling silver. It adds hardness to pure silver, but brings with it a tendency to tarnish--a darkening that occurs when sterling silver reacts with gases in the air or with other substances that it comes in contact with.

STORING STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY

Ideally you should store your sterling silver jewellery in tarnish prevention cloths or bags. The treated cloth slows down the tarnishing process and keeps the jewellery from rubbing against harder jewellery that can scratch it. Try to keep your sterling silver jewellery in a cool, dry place.

CLEANING YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY

Clean sterling silver with a phosphate free detergent. A low abrasive cleaner, such as Hegarty’s Silver Polish, is a good choice for removing light tarnish. Some people use toothpaste to clean their sterling silver, but most silver experts caution against it because they feel toothpaste is too abrasive and leaves dulling scratches.

STERLING SILVER PATINA

 

Sterling silver jewellery that is worn continually often develops a lovely patina, a kind of glow combined with darkened areas. If you like the look, leave it alone. If you prefer a bright and shiny look for your sterling silver, use polish to restore the jewellery to its original appearance.

Gold

 

Although Gold comes in many different carat versions, the principles of cleaning are the same.

Always keep gold jewellery in a box lined with satin or velvet. Pouches are a bad idea if you’re caring for gold jewellery, because the gold pieces will rub together and wear away over time. If you have more than one item in a box, it’s a good idea to wrap the smaller pieces in tissue paper to guard against scratches.

Along with proper storage, cleaning plays a crucial part in caring for gold jewellery. You can use a soft-bristled brush for the detailed designs, and very soft cleaning cloths other times. You should use warm water and detergent-free soap, or specific gold cleaning products. Once in a while, you may want to drop your gold jewellery into boiling water and a pinch of baking soda. Leave it in for only half a minute, and wipe the piece immediately after pulling it form the water. Perform this process on one piece at a time.

There are other things to remember while caring for gold jewellery. Remember to remove all pieces before entering swimming pools! Chlorine erodes this soft metal. It’s also a risk because diamonds and other stones can easily fall out of their settings. Don’t let household cleaners or other harsh chemicals come into contact with your gold; they reduce the lustre of the yellow metal.

Platinum

Store platinum jewellery separate from other items so that they do not scratch or get scratched by them. Place your jewellery in a jewellery box or a chamois bag.

Clean your platinum jewellery periodically. This will ensure its fine appearance and will help it last.

Clean platinum in the same way you clean other fine jewellery - using pre-packaged jewellery cleaner or by soaking it in a mild solution of 50% ammonia and 50% warm water and then gently rubbing it with a soft cloth. Note that harsh chemicals such as ammonia should not be used on gemstones other than diamonds because it may damage them - consult a jewellery professional in-person for specific guidance in this matter.

Have your platinum jewellery polished and cleaned by a qualified jeweller twice a year and more often if scratches appear. Remember that all metal can be scratched, however with platinum the metal has merely been displaced.

Take your platinum jewellery to a qualified jeweller twice per year for inspection. Only allow a trained professional jeweller to work on your platinum jewellery! Adjustments, resizing, polishing and cleaning of your platinum jewellery should be provided by a trained bench jeweller.

Be aware that over time platinum develops a natural patina that many people prefer over the "just polished" appearance of platinum. When this happens to your platinum jewellery you may take it to a qualified jeweller and have the item polished for that "high gloss" look or simply ask them not to remove the patina if that is your preference.

Do not wear your platinum or other fine jewellery when doing home cleaning, gardening, or other types of heavy work or manual labour. Do not wear your platinum or other fine jewellery when working with bleach or other harsh chemicals. Although the chemicals may not affect the platinum, they may discolour diamonds and other gemstones and can cause an allergic reaction with your skin if trapped between the ring and your finger.

Diamonds

Diamonds Are Not Invincible

Although a diamond is the hardest substance known on earth, it still requires attention and care. If a diamond did not have a weakness, it could not be fashioned at all. That weakness is its perfect "cleavage", or the tendency to split along its perfect crystal planes. This makes the diamond susceptible to cracking or chipping with a sharp blow. A good setting prevents most damage, but reasonable care is essential to enjoy your investment for many years. Below are some important tips you should know.

PROTECT THE SETTING

Take your diamond off and put it in a safe place when washing dishes (do not put it next to the sink because the open drain is an invitation for trouble)

Avoid wearing your diamond while gardening or during household repairs that might scratch the setting or damage the claws that keep the stone secure.

CHEMICALS

Exposure during ordinary wear to perspiration and household chemicals, like chlorine and hairspray can accumulate and dull the surface of a diamond. Periodic cleaning is crucial if you want to keep it brilliant and prismatic.

CLEANING

We recommend a gentle scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush in a solution of plain alcohol diluted in warm water. Periodic ultrasonic cleanings by your local jeweller are also recommended to clean hard-to-reach areas under the settings.

CHECK THE CLAWS

Be sure to take your diamond ring to a trusted local jeweller to check for loose claws. You may have to pay a little to have the claws retipped once a year or so, but it will be well worth it. Claws can break or weaken with normal wear and it would be heartbreaking to lose your precious diamond.

Other Precious Stones

Most Diamonds and sapphires will be fine in an ultrasonic cleaner but many other gems may not be: when in doubt, leave them out especially leave out, Emeralds, Tanzanite, heavily included Rubies, and Opals.

Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite require special care. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner and never use any chemical solution. These gem materials should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap.

Note :( Ultrasonic cleaners are very good for rope and chain jewellery and may be used in conjunction with Original Diamond and Precious Jewellery cleaner as the liquid placed in the ultrasonic with excellent results).

Pearls

Caring for Pearls also can apply to Amber & other Amorphous or Organic Gems

Clean regularly avoid excessive contact with perfume, dirt and skin oil. Remember to always put your pearls on last, after you have applied makeup and perfume.

To clean Pearls, use only recommended jewellery and pearl cleaner or a mild, non-detergent soap, lukewarm water and soft cloth, clean but do not soak, rinse well in clean warm water and allow to properly dry preferably flat on a towel or moisture absorbing surface. Original Diamond and Precious Jewellery cleaner is pearl safe just follow directions and remember do not soak pearls in any liquid for more than a few seconds even when rinsing.

Never store in an airtight container or plastic bags they can deteriorate, some plastics may even emit chemicals that can harm the pearls.

Protect from temperature extremes and chemicals, such as alcohol and hairspray, as these can erode the surface.

Wear your pearls often as they thrive on your skin.

Avoid soaking in chlorinated water or any liquid.

Re-string annually with a knot between each pearl.

Storing them for long periods can dry them out and fracture the surface.

Store your pearls flat, as opposed to hanging them, thus avoiding stretching the thread prematurely.

Speak To An Expert

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