Jewelry is one of our most treasured possessions. Aside from its inherent beauty, it often has sentimental value. Care must be taken to keep fine jewelry safe and beautiful. Here are some ways to safely clean and store your jewelry:
Gold - Gold has been valued for millennia because of its rarity, luster, and ability to resist tarnish and corrosion. Clean gold jewelry in a mild solution of dishwashing liquid and water and a soft toothbrush. Rinse well and let air dry.
Platinum - Platinum is similar to gold. It is a rare earth metal with a beautiful luster that also resists tarnish and corrosion. You can clean platinum jewelry in the same way as you clean gold jewelry: with a soft toothbrush in a mild solution of dish soap and water. Rinse well and allow to air dry.
Sterling Silver - Sterling silver has also been valued for thousands of years for its rarity, shine, and beauty. Unlike gold and platinum, however, silver jewelry tarnishes when exposed to air. Sterling silver can be polished and restored with a jewelers' polishing cloth. When more seriously tarnished, sterling silver jewelry can be cleaned in the following manner:
- Container: Line a large pot with aluminum foil.
- Ingredients: Fill the pot with 1 gallon of water and 2 ounces of baking soda, 2 ounces of iodized salt, and 2 ounces of dishwashing liquid. Mix well to blend all ingredients.
- Procedure: Place your tarnished sterling silver jewelry in the pot and bring all to a boil. As soon as the liquid begins to boil, turn off the flame and allow the sterling silver jewelry to soak for a minute or two. Remove your silver jewelry, rinse well and then wash with water, dishwashing liquid, and a soft toothbrush. Allow to air dry.
Gemstones - Precious and semi-precious gemstones have different hardnesses, with diamonds being the hardest. Care should be taken when cleaning and storing jewelry with gemstones. To clean gemstone jewelry, first rinse it in clear water to dislodge and loosen any grit or dirt that may be on the surface. Next, wash each piece with a soft toothbrush and a diluted mixture of warm water and liquid dish soap. Rinse well and let air dry. Gemstone necklaces can be cleaned in the same way and then stored on a board with cup hooks to allow each piece to hang freely. If you do not want to hang your gemstone necklaces, wrap each individually and place in a small clear plastic jewelry bag. Do not clean soft gemstones like turquoise, pearls, and shells in the above sterling silver cleaning method as the ingredients may harm their surfaces.
Professional Cleaning - Jewelers will most often clean the jewelry that they have created for the life of the piece. If you do not know who created your jewelry, take it to a reputable jeweler and ask them to clean and polish it for you. Jewelers have ultrasonic jewelry cleaners that can safely clean your jewelry. They also know how to correctly polish and restore the patina on sterling silver jewelry. There may be a small charge for this service.
Jewelry Bags - Keep each of your fine jewelry pieces individually wrapped in clear acrylic jewelry bags. These bags vary in size from 2" x 2" to 9" x 12" and larger and protect your jewelry when stored in a jewelry box with other items. They also offer sterling silver jewelry tarnish protection. You can enhance this tarnish protection by placing small anti-tarnish strips in each bag with your sterling silver jewelry. Jewelry bags, anti-tarnish strips, and polishing cloths are available at any jewelry supply house.
It is not difficult to properly care for your fine jewelry. With careful cleaning and storage, your jewelry can remain for years without change or damage. If you take care of your jewelry, it will always be ready to be worn and retain its inherent value for generations. To learn more, contact a company like Jeffrey-Private Jeweler.