General Advice including caring for jewellery
Proper care and handling of your jewellery can help it maintain its beauty and sparkle for years to come. When you have purchased your precious jewellery, it is important to take proper care to ensure it lasts and maintains its sparkle.
The hardness of a gem is based on a gem trade standard called Moh’s Scale, developed in the 19th century. The scale rates the hardness of a material out of 10 and at each higher number it can be abrasive to a material with a lower number. Diamonds are rated at the highest of 10; rubies and sapphires are 9; emeralds and topaz are 8; garnets, tourmalines and quartz are 7. Those materials below 7 can be scratched or chipped easily if not worn with care. These gemstones include including opal, turquoise, lapis lazuli, coral and pearl.
Gold, silver and platinum metals are only rated at between 2.5 and 4 on Moh’s scale of hardness which means they require special care, cleaning and storage.
Some simple and easy steps in maintaining your jewellery:
- It is very important to have your jeweller check your rings and other jewellery for wear and tear, especially gem set jewellery where the setting or claws can become worn. Have your jewellery cleaned and polished at least once a year. Your jeweller may recommend that this be done more frequently on certain pieces.
- Clean your diamonds with a mild liquid detergent and a soft brush, or one of the specially designed jewellery cleaners available from your jeweller. Make sure not to clean them in sink in the event a stone becomes loose or the piece goes down the sink. Consider cleaning the jewellery item in a bowl. Make sure no gemstones have become loose and fallen out before you tip the cleaning solution down the sink!
- Be cautious about cleaning jewellery yourself without more specific knowledge about the material.
- Have your jeweller re-string your pearls once a year, as the strand could be stretched or worn if they have been in contact with chemicals such as perfumes and hairspray. Have pearls knotted between each one, this will prevent the loss of pearls if the string should break.
- Wash your pearls with a softened cloth of mild soap and water after taking off to remove perfume, hairspray and cosmetics etc.
- Wrap your pearls in tissue paper or place in a cloth bag when storing and keep them in a box away from other jewellery as you don’t want your other jewellery to scratch the pearls.
- Store your jewellery in a jewellery roll when travelling, it will keep the jewellery organised and free from tangles and scratches.
- Ensure you are adequately insured and that you have up to date valuations. The JAA recommends having jewellery valued every 2 years. Check with your insurer to make sure of their requirements.
- Diamonds are durable, although they can chip. Avoiding this can be done by not wearing diamond jewellery while doing heavy manual work.
- Remove jewellery before using household cleaners as they can contain chemicals which can be harmful to your precious jewellery.
- Never allow your jewellery to come into contact with chlorine bleach, as it can pit gold alloys.
- Never put your jewellery down thoughtlessly, as they can be easily misplaced or lost. Always put them into a lined box and store in a secure place.
- Never wear your jewellery while showering or cleaning, as gold jewellery will develop a soapy film and dull the appearance.
- Never expose your gemstones to salt water and harsh chemicals, which will dull and erode your gems.
- Never rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or piece of felt.
- Never allow sterling silver to come into contact with chlorine, as this will tarnish the jewellery.
- Never clean cultured pearls with chemicals or abrasives, as this will damage and scratch the surface of the pearls.
- Avoid allowing pearls to come into contact with perfumes, hairspray and cosmetics.
- Never wear jewellery to bed or while participating in sport, as this may cause kinking, snagging or breakage.