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Gleam and Sparkle: How to Clean and Care for Your Jewelry

Aug 20, 2008
Jewelry reflects the personality, history and even special life moments of the wearer. For centuries, jewelry has represented a special keepsake of love, a treasured heirloom or simply an adornment of beauty. To extend the life of your jewelry, it's important to take time to clean and care for your collection. A little "TLC" goes a long way.

Diamonds
Styling products, lotions and daily grime can, over time, leave a film on your diamond ring to keep it from looking its best. Waiting too long between cleanings, the adverse materials can create build up that makes the diamond appear dull and lifeless.

While diamonds are the hardest substance known, they shouldn't be cleaned with just any type of cleaner. It's important to take care when cleaning your diamond as harsh chemicals or scrubbing can be counterproductive. Use this effective and gentle method when cleaning your diamonds:

1. Soak the diamond in a formula of three parts water to one part ammonia and a tiny drop of mild liquid detergent such as Ivory.
2. To remove dirt, use a soft brush - avoid using a brush with stiff bristles that could scratch the ring's metal setting.
3. Make a couple of swishes in the solution with your ring and follow with a thorough rinse in warm water.
4. Use a lint-free cloth to dry the diamond ring.

Avoid harmful solutions such as chlorine or abrasives. These can erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings. Sometimes an ultrasonic cleaner is necessary to remove encrusted dirt on diamonds. Ultrasonic cleaners use vibrating fluid to remove accumulated dirt and grime. However, the method can shake loose stones from their mounting, so this method should not be used on fragile settings. Regular cleaning will keep diamond jewelry in gleaming condition and ready to sparkle.

Diamonds should be stored in a fabric-lined jewel case, or a box with compartments or dividers. Or wrap each piece individually in tissue paper if you use an ordinary box. Avoid storing diamonds together or with other jewelry in a drawer or jewelry case, as this can result in scratching. And most importantly, don't leave your ring on the rim of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.

Pearls
Most of today's pearls are cultured pearls. Their creation was initiated by humans who insert a bead or mantle issue into an oyster. During the process, the oyster coats the bead with nacre, the much-loved patina that gives the pearls their unique appearance. The level of nacre thickness dictates the quality and durability of the pearl.

Even with a thicker coating, cultured pearls are organic and more fragile than most other gemstones. To keep them in the best condition, they must be handled gently. Following are a few suggestions for pearl care:

1. Remove your pearl prior to applying hand or body creams.
2. Pearls stay cleaner if you put them on after applying makeup and perfume.
3. Use mild soap and water to clean a dirty pearl.
4. Avoid solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents for cleaning.
5. Avoid an ultrasonic cleaner for your pearls.
6. Rubbing a pearl with an abrasive cloth can result in a dull, plain looking bead.

Because pearls can scratch easily, avoid storing them with other pieces of jewelry. Choose a special place in your jewelry box for your pearls, or keep them in a soft bag made from chamois or another non-abrasive material. Pearl necklaces should be restrung periodically to ensure the silk or nylon cord holding them is in good shape.

Gemstones
Gemstones are among the most durable of substances. Still, they do require care and maintenance. To keep transparent crystalline gemstones clean, soak them in water with a touch of gentle soap. In necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone.

Not all gemstones should be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. If you're in doubt, leave it out. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and other single-crystal gems may be cleaned with a touch of ammonia in water to remove film and add shine.

Never use an ultrasonic cleaner or ammonia to clean opaque gemstones such as lapis lazuli, turquoise or malachite. These gems can be gently wiped clean with a moist cloth. The porous makeup of these gems can absorb chemicals or soap, resulting in discoloration.

As with other pieces of jewelry, store your gems separately so that harder stones don't scratch the softer ones. As most gemstones are harder than the metal it is set in, gems can scratch the finish on gold, silver or platinum.
About the Author
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, contact Lewis Jewelers at 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.
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