How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Jewelry
All that glitter, all that gold. When you first purchase your gold ring, your diamond necklace, your platinum bracelet, it shines. But after that first exhilarating period of newness, how do you keep it looking new, even as it grows old? After all, a 14 karat gold piece of jewelry isn’t as easy to replace once it wears out as, say, a vacuum cleaner bag. Because it is so expensive, and because it is so beautiful and sometimes delicate, you must take careful care of your jewelry so that it can remain worth the price you paid for it long after the fact. But how do you take care of your jewelry? I have a few tips.
One of the simplest rules is that perfumes and jewelry, although they may seem to fall into roughly the same category, do not go together. Nor do hairspray and jewelry. They’re all beautifying, but if you use perfume or hairspray while wearing your jewelry, you risk coating it with a film of stickiness, and pearls and organic gems like it can be damaged by the alcohol contained in these sprays. Another simple rule is to avoid swimming in pearls. The chlorine eats away at the pearl and the jewelry will fade.
Chlorine, of course, should never come within range of gold jewelry. It pits the gold and disintegrates the solder joints of a ring.
What about diamonds? Take those rings off before you shampoo your hair, clean the floor, lotion your hands. Diamonds are very attracted to grease. In fact, in diamond mines, beds of grease are used on conveyor belts to keep loose diamonds from being mixed in with the dirt. All that grease contained in makeup, body creams, sunscreen, and so on all adhere to the grease. Also remove your diamond jewelry before getting especially active–diamonds are susceptible to impact damage, and might crack or chip.
It’s important to keep your diamonds clean. Now, you can do this yourself often, but you should also have it done professionally around once a year at the least. If you’re doing it yourself, remember to start with some mild soap, a soft toothbrush, and warm water. Or, instead of using soap, you could make your own with one part ammonia and six parts water. Rinse the jewelry in Ethyl Alcohol or tap water–and only those. There are some beliefs out there that it’s a good idea to use toothpaste or rubbing alcohol. Well, it isn’t. Toothpaste scratches gold, and the oil in rubbing alcohol turns diamond jewelry spotted and makes it fade.
When the time comes to get your jewelry cleaned professionally, visit your jeweler. They check for wear in the prongs see if the gem has any damage or needs polishing. It’s necessary to restring pearls now and then to protect against breakage and loss, so the professional jewelry cleaners can do that too.
Jewelry stores tend to have ultrasonic cleaners, which send high frequency sound waves through detergent, which removes grime and dirt from hard to reach places. Safe for most diamonds, ultrasonic cleaners can be hard on softer jewels like sapphires and rubies. But be careful of the ultrasonic cleaners, which can also be purchased for the home, if you have small side stones or loose stones, because the ultrasonic cleaners could shake them loose from their mountings.
If you keep your jewelry clean, whether by following the clean-by-hand, clean-by-professional method or by purchasing your own professional cleaning equipment, it will last longer than if simply left uncared for against your skin. With you taking careful care of them, your jewels will stay as beautiful as though they were new.