CLEANING YOUR JEWELRY
You saw it, you loved it, you bought it, you wear it all the time, now how the heck do you take care of it?!
Q: My ring doesn't look as pretty as it did in the store, how do I clean it?
A: Complicated question. Let's answer the first
part. Most jewelry stores have special lighting. The bulbs are
referred to as jeweler's twinkle lights. Note I wrote "most." In our
store we use standard outside floods. Not as efficient, definitely
hotter in the summer for us in the store, but it more closely mimics the
lighting in your own home. So, when trying on jewelry, you and the
salesman should step outside with it! Ta Dah!
A: Well, that depends on the type of
jewelry. Silver, gold, pewter, other metals, platinum, they all have
their own quirks but there are some generalities. Even gold has a
variety of care and cleaning methods depending on the karat. For
example, you can re-polish 14k but don't touch 20k or higher. Even 18k
yellow gets a beautiful finish over time; if you have someone polish it,
the resulting finish can make the gold appear to be a lower karat.
A: Silver jewelry, without any
gemstones, can be "dipped" but many of those solutions are nasty and
carcinogenic (causes cancer). I'd recommend against dipping. The best
for your health and the planet is to use either lemon juice and baking
soda or just baking soda. Make a paste the consistency of mustard in a
small bowl. Then, while you sit and listen to music or watch a program,
mindlessly rub the tarnish right off your jewelry. If you'd like to
add some polish, then buy some jeweler's rouge from your local hardware
store and rub a little on a cloth, then rub your silver jewelry with it.
You can also buy a "Sunshine cloth" that is already impregnated with
polishing compound. Now, if there are gems, but NOT all gems,
the best home solution is a cap full of non-detergent ammonia in a small
bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you shower, not longer, then rub
the back of the stone with a toothpick to loosen the last of the grime
and cookie dough, grease and hair products. Finish by brushing with a
NEW soft bristle toothbrush. Why "no longer" ? Because the addition of
heat to the chemical bath (water and ammonia and heat) can cause
electrolysis and truly all of a sudden the jewelry is plated, usually a bizarre dark surface. So, be careful!
Q: What about using toothpaste and a toothbrush?
A: For most toothpastes, the answer is no, No, and again, NO! Toothpastes are abrasive and scratch the surface.
Q: Hmmm. OK, so how about my gold jewelry?
A: Well, what do you
want to accomplish? If you want the scratches gone then realize that's
going to take a tiny bit of metal off. I recommend buffing before
summer, before the holidays, or before a big event to have your jewelry
look it's best but not to otherwise in order to help your jewelry last
as long as possible. And, and this is important, DO NOT buff the side or
back shanks. These areas get a lot of wear and are out of sight, so why
the heck buff them and reduce your jewelry's longevity?