Dirty jewelry can cause skin irritations, cause jewelry to wear out more quickly and, most importantly, not look very vibrant.
Tips for cleaning jewelry at home
You can clean most jewelry at home. Over time all jewelry will lose its sparkle, caused by chemicals, pollutants and general wear.
About every six months or so have your items cleaned and examined. I look for loose stones, breaks or cracks in the metal due to wear, most common in older pieces. I check for breaks or loose stings on your strand of beads or pearls and that the clasp to be sure is tight and closes properly.
Maybe the ring has not been worn because it is too tight or too loose. Let’s resize it. Unable to get it over your knuckle? Let’s look into a finger fit.
Silver, gold (white or yellow), diamonds, rubies or sapphires can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Use a soft toothbrush to poke underneath the mounting to loosen grime and oil that have collected under the stones. Do not rub the toothbrush across the metal.
Silver can be cleaned with a soft microfiber or a polishing cloth. Rub the piece well and see all the black tarnish come off; tarnish accumulates over time. Silver oxidizes easily so it is smart to store silver in plastic bags or specialty bags that are designed for silver jewelry.
Pearls and bead necklaces also can be cleaned with mild soap and water. I clean mine with Woolite fabric detergent. Rinse well, then roll the strands in a towel and let them air dry. Check to see if the beads or the pearls slide back and forth. This is a good indication that you might need to have them restrung.
Items that require professional cleaning
Pearls, emeralds, opals, coral and fine turquoise jewelry are more fragile and more porous and should be cleaned by a professional.
Platinum Jewelry also should be cleaned by a professional; this metal is very soft and scratches easy, which is why it is so easy to engrave.
If you are not sure of what you have or how to clean it, I am a phone call away.
Watches should have an annual maintenance and general cleaning. I handle all brands of watches.
Vintage jewelry should be cleaned by a professional. Often, the only thing holding the stones in place is encrusted dirt. When the dirt is removed or steamed, more often than not a stone will fall out because there is very little metal holding the stone due to wear over time.
It is also important to use care when wearing vintage jewelry and to avoid rough activities, such as gardening, rigorous exercise or painting.
Costume jewelry or faux jewelry has become very popular and is traded and found at estate sales, garage sales, online or, possibly, in the jewelry boxes of your grandparents or parents.
Coco Chanel brought faux jewelry into the mainstream. Isenberg, Trifari, Christian Dior and Weiss were all top faux jewelry designers. Even today these pieces are valued.
Caring for our treasures are a little more difficult. Most of the stones are glass, crystals or rhinestones and they were commonly glued into place or have a foil-back covering. It’s a metallic backing on the stone to increase the brilliance; it can be silver, gold or a colored foil.
The base metals (also called pot metals) are made from nickel, copper, aluminum or pewter. These are then plated, so cleaning these have to be done very carefully as to not remove the plating.