Essential Tips for Cleaning and Caring for
USEFUL TIPS FOR CLEANING
ANTIQUE JEWELLERY -
Without Damaging The Precious Metals, Stones And Jewels.
although this is slightly off topic for this article, can
I offer one tip that will enable you to enjoy your jewellery
for many, many years? Then, if the worst happens and your
beautiful items are stolen in a burglary, you will stand
the best chance of getting them back
|PHOTOGRAPHS of all your jewellery are a thousand
times more useful than a worded description in a police
report. They don't have to be top quality pictures
like an instore catalogue, just good enough to identify
them in a line-up. This has proven to be the single, most
important thing you can do, to recover your valuables.
That's it! My top anti-burglary and insurance claim
Care and Cleaning of Gold, Silver and Platinum
Gold and silver are malleable and ductile, chemically stable
by themselves and can be recycled and remodelled into a multitude
of items. Gold retains its lustre over prolonged periods
and will not chip, flake or corrode. Highly polished silver
is the best reflector of light and retains its strength despite
distortion. Unfortunately, this does not mean that either
of them are indestructible.
is measured in carats and is an indication of its purity.
Most of us discover the importance of gold ranges when we
get married, and the choices are usually from 9 carats (9ct),
18ct, 22ct and 24ct. However, the purer the gold, the softer
it is, until, in its purest form of 24 carats, it becomes
one of the softest metals known.
Purer gold scratches and buckles easily with any kind of abrasion
or force and so is best removed to do work which might damage
it. Equally, several rings on the same finger can often be
the cause of a ring suffering deep scratches or wear, particularly
if they are of different carats and perhaps one or more containing
even harder substances like diamonds.
Surprisingly enough, most gold jewellery can be cleaned in
warm soapy water, and any angular areas around stones or the
back of the item, which may be indented, can be reached with
an old soft toothbrush, dipped in the soapy solution. Gold
also responds to a light rubbing with a rouge-impregnated
cloth, which gives it a shine, available in most supermarkets,
but high carat golds shouldn't need it.
18ct gold and higher, will not usually suffer from discolouration
or tarnish and isn't harmed by contact with household chemicals.
However, bleach and other cleaning products WILL damage
lower carat golds as they aren't so pure (being alloys
of metals) and are therefore much more prone to attack by
When putting silver into storage, it's not necessary to clean
or polish it. After prolonged storage, it will need cleaning
anyway. Don't use ordinary newspaper to wrap the silver, nor
use elastic bands to bind several pieces together. After a
while the rubber will bond to the silver as the band deteriorates
and rots, leaving a stain, as will newspaper. Instead, use
acid-free paper to wrap items and store where it's not damp.
Slightly tarnished sterling silver will easily renew to a
bright polish by simply rubbing or buffing with a soft cloth.
When an item is heavily tarnished then a proprietary silver
cleaning solution, such as Goddard's Silver Dip will always
do the trick.
heavy tarnish there are many liquids and creams available
that are rubbed or smeared on and polished off again with
a soft cloth. Many have names that include the terms, "long
term", "tarnish resistant" or "long shine". This means they
contain a chemical that leaves a protective layer on the silver,
which reduces its direct contact with the air. Cutlery should
therefore be washed thoroughly before use.
A WARNING ABOUT SILVER PLATE! Always use the least
abrasive option when dealing with silver plate. Over enthusiastic
rubbing will remove the silver to reveal the base metal, especially
on external corners and the rims of lids etc. Any trip to
any antiques fair will reveal many, many items that have suffered
this fairly tragic fate, which can be expensive to repair.
Care and Cleaning of Diamonds and Gemstones
Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind here is the
potential for loss. Always use a bowl of water to clean your
jewellery, not the sink. If you stand the bowl in the sink,
put the plug in first, and don't remove it again until you're
sure you've got all the pieces you started with. It might
sound obvious, but you wouldn't believe how much jewellery
goes down the drain!
Firstly, check the gemstone or diamond is secure in its claw
mounting. Hold the item in one hand and use a fingernail to
just touch the diamond. If it's loose you'll see it rock or
move. This will need to be repaired by your jeweller first,
who will tighten the claws. An old soft toothbrush and warm
soapy water is ideal to remove the grease, dust, grit and
dead skin that fills the gaps and indentations around the
stone anchors of a ring or other item of jewellery. This works
equally well for almost all types of gemstone, including,
ruby, emerald and sapphire.
A gentle brush, even an artists brush is infinitely preferable
to using a cloth from which threads can be snagged and pulled.
If a thread gets caught in a claw, it can bend or weaken the
grip of the claw and stones can be lost weeks or months later.
Once again check the stone for movement, just to make sure
it wasn't the dirt holding it in place. It should now
be gleaming again with a nice new sparkle!
BE AWARE! That some stones
are quite 'soft' and others are particularly absorbent. Gemstones
that fall into this category are; pearls, ivory, coral, turquoise,
opal and amber. Care must be exercised when cleaning not to
scratch them or leave them soaking. They are also best stored
in separate compartments of a jewellery box.
Care and Cleaning of Pearls
Pearls are of particular concern because any damage usually
results in discolouration and/or a reduction of lustre. They
can be affected by perfume, hairspray, deodorant creams and
sprays, makeup, skin lotions and nail polish remover.
Put pearls on AFTER using any of these products and after
sufficient drying time for sprays and creams. Just wipe your
pearls off with a soft damp cloth before putting them away,
so that any residue doesn't remain to damage them in storage.
Whilst your jewellery is not being worn, it is best stored
in a lined box or soft pouch, similar too, if not the one
you had, when the item was purchased. Necklaces shouldn't
be allowed to become tangled and metal or diamonds can easily
scratch other metals or plate, just by being next to each
This can ruin or dull a polished surface very quickly, with
the obvious disappointment and loss in value that will be
I also would advise against wearing your jewellery whilst
gardening, doing housework, or playing any kind of sport,
in particular swimming. Jewellery is particularly susceptible
to damage from the effects of chemicals present in perfume,
hairspray, nail polish remover and deodorant.
If a lost ring or earring is trodden into the lawn, it can
be a hundred years before it's found. Likewise, rings can
all too easily slip off soapy or sweaty hands and be lost
Your local swimming baths are especially destructive to expensive
jewellery as the chlorine found in the water can cause surface
damage. Gold and silver hate chlorine which was an active
ingredient introduced during the refining process to separate
the base metals in the melting crucible.
apoligise to our American friends who will object to my spelling
of jewelry as jewellery. We must in this instance agree to
differ and blame it on the pond. Thanks :-)