Your jewelry is an important investment, and it retains its appearance and value longer if it is properly cared for. Here are some tips to ensure the long life of your gems.
How to Clean Gold Jewelry
Gold is tarnish-resistant, although it can get smudged and grimy. Lotions, powders, soaps, even natural skin oils can cover your jewelry and cut down on its brilliance. Jewelry cleaning removes this residue and restores the original luster of your jewelry.
Even though many commercial products are available to clean gold jewelry, a basic solution of detergent and water goes a long way to restore the radiance of gold, and a soft brush helps to gently clean intricate filigree designs and stones. Every now and again it can be helpful to soak the gold jewelry in a mixure of 1 portion ammonia and 6 parts water for about a minute. Make sure to dry and polish your gold jewelry with a soft cloth or chamois afterwards.
Professional jewelry polishing cloths are an efficacious and inexpensive way of keeping your gold collection glittering and radiant. These treated cotton cloths help to dislodge tarnish and to buff jewelry to a brilliant shine.
Never wear jewelry in the swimming pool or while doing chores. Though gold is said to be non-reactive, the fact is that contact with chemicals such as chlorine in pools or household cleaners will discolor or even damage your gold jewelry mountings.
When you are not wearing your jewelry, proper storage is essential. Be careful that pieces don't tumble together in a crowded jewel box if you want to avoid scratching and loss of radiance. Ideally, store your jewelry in a fabric-lined jewel case, or even a compartmentalized box so that every piece of jewelry resides in an individual soft cloth pouch. In damp climates, storing jewelry in small resealable plastic bags can extend intervals between cleaning, especially for silver.
It's important to check the stone settings of your jewelry sometimes for any damage to the bezels or prongs. Immersing the jewelry in rubbing alcohol for a couple seconds will restore the gorgeous sparkle to cloudy stones. It's critical to dry the jewelry thoroughly after cleaning prior to wearing or even storing. Pave set (glued in stones) jewelry should never be soaked in water while cleaning gold jewelry, as these glues, especially those used in older jewelry, are often not waterproof.
Diamonds, sapphires and rubies are relatively hard, though the later two can still sustain scratches. However, pearls, emeralds and opals are softer and need a gentler touch. Emeralds and opals contain water in their matrix and may crack if they are allowed to dry out. Regular application of cod liver oil from the drugstore every few months is recommended by antique jewely dealers. Pearls should be worn frequently to expose them to skin oils. If they dry out, their luster will diminish, so don't clean them with alcohol or detergents . Avoid exposing pearls to vinegar and other acids, as they will dissolve. To clean pearls, simply wipe them with a soft damp cloth.
Ultasonic Jewelry Cleaners
Do not use them on pearls and opals -- they will be damaged.
Line a broad flat dish with tinfoil, then place your silver jewelry in the dish spaced out so they pieces do not touch. Mix together 4 cups of hot water with 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Pour this over the silver and leave for a few minutes until tarnish is dissoved, then rinse and polish with a soft cloth.
Make sure you remove the silver as soon as it is clean, and don't let it soak for hours as the electrolytic reaction will continue.