A little care goes a long way.
We know you love your jewelry. That’s why it’s so important to have a regular care and cleaning routine. We’re always here to help you clean your jewelry and feel free to stop in to Ray-Ward any day. But there are also some tips you can (and should) do to protect those pieces you love right in your own home.
Clean your diamonds once or twice weekly by soaking them in a gentle solution such as water with a few drops of mild soap for 20 minutes. Remove the diamond from the cleaner and brush it with a soft, clean jewelry cleaning brush to remove any leftover dirt. Take extra care to brush the back of the diamond, as this will be the area that has collected the most oil and dirt.
Most colored gemstones can be safely cleaned with mild dish soap, warm water and a soft brush. However, pearls are a notable exception. They should only be surface cleaned with a damp cloth dipped in a diluted soap-and-water solution. Avoid dipping pearls into a liquid solution or discoloration could occur.
Here are some other overall tips:
Be careful with light and heat. Just as you worry about damaging your skin with the sun’s harmful rays, heat can also affect colored gemstone jewelry. Over time, with excess exposure to the sun, some precious gemstones can fade and become damaged. Pearls can bleach under extreme exposure to the light, and other gems can darken over time when exposed to too much light.
Be careful with sand and soil. Love to garden? Gong on a beach vacation? Sand and soil are extremely abrasive and can act like coarse sandpaper on a gemstone or precious metal. Remove your jewelry and store it in a safe place prior to engaging in either of these activities.
Chlorine and chemicals – nope! Everyday uses of hairspray, lotion, perfume and some other cosmetics can permanently damage porous gems like turquoise and pearls. Others can discolor precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. Fine jewelry should always be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool. Household solvents can damage gold and anything containing ammonia can be way too harsh for delicate gems and vintage jewelry.
A toothbrush is great for your teeth. Not so much for fine jewelry. You may think those small bristles are perfect for getting into tiny crevices or under that diamond prong. Nothing could be further from the truth! The long handle on any toothbrush can actually put too much pressure on the prongs, and the bristles have been known to scratch metal.
Be cautious with ultrasonics. If you’ve invested in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machine, just be aware that overuse can harm your jewelry. How? There’s vibration in the sound waves, and stones can loosen and fall out. Follow the user instructions carefully but do check on what pieces may be appropriate to clean in an ultrasonic machine. For example, pavé style settings should be avoided.
Pearls of wisdom. Because pearls are delicate, many people are leery of cleaning their own. Wipe them down after each wear with either a microfiber cleaning cloth or chamois. You can also use a gentle jewelry cleaning formulation available at most fine jewelry stores – like ours! However, never soak strung pearls in the liquid!
Storage wars. Never toss any fine jewelry in a drawer or on top of your dresser. It’s a recipe for disaster. Or, at the very least, a recipe for dents and scratches. Make sure jewelry is stored either in the original box or pouch you purchased it in, or a properly padded jewelry box. Every piece should be in a separate compartment and should not touch one another.
Take your jewelry off at night or when you’re doing rigorous activities. Precious metals like silver and gold will scratch easily and gradually become worn as they come in contact with other objects and frequent wear. Platinum is far more durable, but even platinum (if not handled properly) can scratch. Believe it or not, even your sheets can scratch your jewelry! Any rigorous activity that causes any level of sweating will also impact precious metals and can very well loosen stones.
Pack with care. When you travel, we recommend purchasing and traveling with a flexible, soft jewelry travel case or pouch. If you can’t find the perfect case, you can keep bracelets and necklaces from tangling by threading them through a straw! Great tip. You can also wrap each item in tissue for added protection.
Inspect your jewelry. Fine jewelry should be inspected yearly. An ounce of prevention can save a ton of jewelry headaches. We can check prongs; check your stones; ensure your clasp is working properly; and provide a thorough cleaning. Consider it a spa day for your jewelry!