Our jewelry is one of our most cherished and intimate possessions. Knowing how to clean it and care for it is key to its longevity. Here are a few facts to keep in mind and some tips on how to take good care of it and ensure that you’ll be able to wear and admire it for years to come.
Light and heat
Light and heat can damage your gemstones’ colour and durability. Pearls and ivory may bleach when exposed to harsh sunlight over a longer time. Amber can darken over time if exposed continuously to too much sunlight. Don’t worry. You can wear these gems on a sunny day, just don’t store them exposed on a dresser in a very sunny place.
Vintage jewelry must be handled with care and should only be cleaned with water using a soft, lint-free cloth. Excessive and sudden temperature variations can fracture some gems, and heat may alter their natural moisture, affecting their beauty. Pearls can dry out, crack, and discolour. Opals can turn white or brown; they may also fracture and could lose their play-of-colour.
Precious metals and some gems can be damaged and discoloured by exposure to chemicals. So remember to put your pearls on after applying perfume and never wear your jewelry to the pool. Chlorine can corrode certain gold alloys leaving them pitted. It can also take the lustre out of your pearls.
Many gemstones are treated to enhance their colour and clarity. Heat, solvents, steam, and ultrasonic cleaners could harm them. If you aren’t sure if your gems are treated or not, consult an expert.
Not all gems can be cleaned safely with ultrasonic cleaners.
The device’s vibrations can cause certain gemstones to crack, whether they are treated or not. Also, organic gems such as pearls, coral, ivory, or amber can be damaged by the vibrations and the cleaners.
The majority of gems can be cleaned with warm water and a neutral soap using a soft toothbrush. Pearls and soft gemstones can scratch very easily, so it is important to use a soft brush. Clean your jewelry in a container, not the sink (gems may fall out) and don’t forget to rinse it properly. Let it dry completely before handling or wearing it.
How you store your jewelry is key to its longevity. Don’t toss it loosely in a drawer or on your dresser. You don’t want to increase the chances of getting it scratched. Keep the box or pouch your jewelry came in if you don’t have an actual jewelry box. You can use anti-tarnish bags or cloth for silver. Pearls and opals need air moisture, not a dry environment, so keeping them in a safe over a long stretch of time is not ideal.
If this sounds a bit scary to you, seek the assistance of a professional who has proper knowledge about precious metals and gems. Why take a chance and ruin your valuable and cherished jewelry?
At SERAFINO, we have been handling brand new and vintage jewelry for over two decades. Our expertise in jewelry maintenance and care goes beyond simply wiping it clean. Don’t hesitate to consult us if you have any questions about jewelry care.
In the meantime, please visit our online store for ideas and discover jewelry elevated to an art form!