TLC for Your Jewellery
For the true jewellery devotee, there is nothing more satisfying than opening up that new box and finding a fresh glittering piece of jewellery to add to your collection. That bright, sparkly jewel looking so pristine, you're almost reluctant to wear it for fear of scratching it.
Well don't worry, we have put together a few basic tips so you can keep your jewellery looking polished, bright and something most of us forget - hygienic!
What You Will Need
You will need the following basic items that most of us have lying around the house-
- A very soft toothbrush
- Liquid washing up detergent and ammonia if you have it, but it's not essential
- 2 x bowls of hot water or hot enough to allow you to put your fingers in it
- A silver or gold polishing cloth (these can be found at most supermarkets if you don't have one)
- Paper towel
Firstly mix a few drops of the detergent and ammonia in the first bowl of warm water. If you are using ammonia we advise using it in a well-ventilated area.
If your jewellery is particularly dirty you may want to soak it for 5-10 minutes. After soaking, add a few drops of detergent to toothbrush and very gently start to clean your jewellery. If there are stones set in it pay particular attention to these areas and don't forget to clean behind the settings where most dirt tends to get trapped. Keep rinsing your items as you go. Depending on how dirty they are you may need to repeat this process several times. It is essential to be gentle when cleaning around these areas to avoid damaging any settings, or fine details with vigorous scrubbing.
Once you are satisfied with how they look rinse them in the second bowl of clean water to remove any residual soap and oil, which may dull your jewellery if left on. Finally, pat dry with a paper towel.
The next step is to take your cleaning cloth and start rubbing the metal surfaces. These cleaning cloths are impregnated with a very fine cleaning compound, which will start to shine the silver or gold. These cloths will quickly become black or dirty; don’t worry if this happens they still work. Don’t ever wash the cloths in the washing machine, as you will remove the compound that does the polishing. If your item is only plated then don't do this step; you will start to take off the top plated layer. After a few minutes, you will find that the metal has started to become shiny again. The longer you do it the shinier it will become. Keep in mind though that the compound is a very fine abrasive so don't do it for too long.
It’s recommended that you clean your jewellery once a week to avoid the build-up go grime around gemstones and in settings. You should take your important jewellery to have a check-up every 12 months with a trusted jeweller. They can be thoroughly checked for wear and tear and receive a professional polish so they always look their best.
What to Avoid
There are some items that need special care or you should avoid cleaning yourself at home. Softer gems like pearls and turquoise should not be soaked or scrubbed. Emeralds commonly have oil impregnated into them and this can leak out in very hot water. As mentioned above don't over-polish any plated or coated items as the coating can be polished off if it is a thin layer.
If you follow these quick tips you will find that your jewellery will retain its sparkle and shine and provide years of enjoyment ready to hand down to the next generation.
Go ahead - try it out and let us know how you go.