Jewellery is one of our most cherished and personal accessories.
Knowing how to care for it will help maintain its beautiful and sparkling for generations to come.
Most gold jewellery can be cleaned in warm, soapy water and gently brushed using an old toothbrush. Eighteen carat gold and above does not usually tarnish and is not harmed by household chemicals.
Take extra care with lower carat gold. It is easily damaged by chlorine-based bleach and cleaning products, which can cause stress corrosion cracking (SCC). It’s always a good idea to remove rings or wear protective gloves when using cleaning liquids and other chemicals.
Platinum can be cleaned in the same way as high carat golds. The patina that develops over a period of time can be removed by a professional jeweller who will re-polish your jewellery back to its original high gloss look.
Silver tarnishes easily and the only effective way to clean it is by using silver cleaning solutions such as a silver dip.
It’s very difficult to damage diamonds because of their hardness, but you should take great care not to rub two diamonds together. They can cause abrasion to each other and leave scratches.
The best way to clean your diamond jewellery is to remove any grease and or dirt with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush. But take care not to clean any stone-set jewellery in a washbasin without the plug in! If any stones loosen they will go straight down the drain.
After cleaning, rinse and dry your jewellery with a lint-free cloth.
Gemstones should be treated in the same way as diamonds.
Pearl jewellery should never be soaked in water. Soaking will damage a pearl’s surface. The safest way to care for pearl jewellery is to take it to a professional jeweller for cleaning and re-stringing.
Jewellery manufacturers use professional ultrasonic cleaning tanks to polish up jewellery before sale. These contain a mixture of ammonia and detergent and use ultrasonic agitation to speed up the cleaning process.
Many jewellery stores now sell small ultrasonic cleaners for home use. However, the vibration generated by the machine is not suitable for all gemstones. It can sometimes shake gems loose or chip them, unless you know about different gem materials and understand when and how to use the ultrasonic cleaner safely.
In our experience, ultrasonic cleaners meant for home use are no more effective than the warm soapy water method. So if in doubt, you may want to stick to this safe and tested method.
When not wearing your diamond or gemstone jewellery, make sure it is stored in a jewellery case. In the case of diamond earrings (or when storing two or more items of diamond or gemstone jewellery together) keep them individually wrapped to avoid them scratching each other.