Did You Have to Throw Away Your Favorite Jewelry?

By: Jaxon Toh

Most jewelry pieces are very delicate and require special care. For example, pearls are especially fussy. Even commonly used products like perfume and body lotion can damage them. If you want to avoid the painful prospect of throwing away your favorite jewelry, read on...

Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is a very soft metal and if you're not careful during cleaning, it's easy to get scratch marks from your finger nails or the rough fibers of the wrong cloth. To remove fingerprints, light grease or dirt, soak for 2-3 minutes in a dilute mild liquid soap solution, rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry completely before storing in an air tight plastic bag.

Another problem with silver is that it naturally tarnishes in air. Rubbing a polishing cloth over silver will keep it nice and shiny. However do note that most silver today has a fine layer of finish over it as a protection against the elements. Unfortunately this layer can and will eventually wear off. So don't apply too much force when cleaning or polishing. The overcoat will be removed.

Gold
When cleaning gold jewelry, using a soft wet cloth will usually do the trick. For stubborn grease or dirt in hard-to-reach places, you can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush with warm water and a mild soap. Use of abrasive chemical cleaners will strip away its natural luster and shine and should be avoided. Never use bleach or chlorine based cleaners.

Gemstones
Precious stones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are among the hardest and toughest substances. These can be cleaned using warm soapy water, or detergent, and rinse thoroughly afterwards. You can also use an old soft tooth brush to remove dirt and grease in hard to reach areas.

Semi-precious gemstones like opal, lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, amber, jade, etc., are very porous stones and can absorb liquids if soaked. Over time, water and detergents trapped inside the stones can cause discoloration. Never soak this type of jewelry. It is recommended to clean your gemstone jewelry with a soft cloth moistened with warm water. These semi-precious gemstones are also soft and can easily be scratched by other jewelry. Store pieces with these gemstones separately and have them individually wrapped in jeweler's tissue.

Pearl
Pearls are very delicate and require extra care. Excessive dryness and heat can make pearls become brittle. The pearl's nacre surface is fragile and very sensitive and can be damaged by normal household chemicals. Keep away from perfume, hair spray, hand and body lotion. Put your pearl jewelry on only after putting on makeup and spraying perfume on. Do not expose them to blow dryers.

Clean your pearl jewelry by wiping them with a soft wet cloth after every use. Store them in a breathable bag away from jewelry which may scratch their surface. They should be stored at room temperature.

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