The Girlfriend's Guide to Jewellery

by Anne Wallner Rss
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31: Care and Maintenance

Before you read this, let me remind you that the information in this blog is specific to ‘fine jewellery’ not costume or ‘fashion jewellery’.

There are a number of ‘professional’ cleaning products and devices available on the market designed specifically for cleaning jewellery. Not all gems and metals are compatible with all of the products available. If you do choose to use them, be sure to read and follow the directions carefully. If you are unsure how to proceed, stop! You may do irreparable damage. Your jeweller will always be happy to clean a piece for you. You will both be distressed if you choose to ‘do it yourself’ and make a mistake. In my opinion, ultrasonic cleaners should be left to the professionals.

Part of owning anything you value is the responsibility of caring for it and maintaining it. Simple maintenance can significantly extend the life and enjoyment of your jewellery.

Keeping your jewellery clean is the first step. Nothing complicated; in most cases a simple soap and water bath is all it takes. Soaking is safe to clean claw or bezel set stones. It is not recommended for jewellery where the stones are glued in place. Soaking can weaken the glue. Some clasps have metal springs or parts that can rust. Don’t soak them for long periods and dry them well when you’re done cleaning.

Prepare a bowl of clean lukewarm water with a bit of mild dish detergent and lay out a clean soft towel as your ‘safety net’. You can safely soak almost any jewellery in this bath. If in doubt, always always consult with your jeweller. Please do not take chances.

Use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean your jewellery. After a 5 or 10 minute soak to soften anything stuck under the settings, lay the jewellery on the towel, dip your brush in the bath and then gently brush away! Front and back. Do not ‘scrub’. When you’re done, rinse the jewellery in clean lukewarm water. If you must use the sink be sure the plug is in and be careful not to accidentally scoop your jewellery into the overflow drain. Better still… don’t use the sink!

With a soft dry cloth, pat your jewellery dry, dab behind the stones to remove excess water. Or, lay the pieces flat to dry. If you have some pieces you wear ‘all the time’, clean them often. They will be easier to clean and it will take less time.

Have your jewellery professionally cleaned and checked at least once a year. Pick a date and make it your jewellery cleaning ‘anniversary’ day. At most jewellers this is often a ‘while you wait’ service and is usually complimentary unless you have a significant number of pieces to be cleaned.

I have a last word on using cleaning or polishing products designed for completely different use: Don’t! Toothpaste is for teeth, not for dentures and certainly not for jewellery!

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