All jewellery, including gem-set jewellery is meant to be worn, seen and enjoyed, but will inevitably be subject to some degree of aging, wear and tear. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material (higher number) to scratch a softer material (lower number). Gold is rated at 2.5-3, Platinum – 4-5, Palladium – 5 and Rhodium – 6. Dust particles, mainly comprised from Quartz (rated at a hardness of 7), will inevitably over time contribute to the natural wear and tear of jewellery items. Some gemstones have a hardness of less than 7, and therefore these too will be more susceptible to long term wear. This guide to jewellery care will ensure that your jewellery remains looking at its best.
1: Store fine jewellery pieces in individual soft lined boxes, padded compartments or separate pouches in order to prevent scratching, chipping of stones and entanglement.
2: Do not polish gold-gilded/vermeil areas with abrasive polishing cloths as this can remove gilding. Only polish silver areas with polishing cloths meant for silver and take care to avoid gold-plated parts. Gold gilding will not tarnish and will therefore not need polishing and only occasional cleaning with a soft cloth, soapy liquid and lukewarm water. Silver cleaning dip can be used on silver areas with a soft toothbrush to remove tarnish but it is not recommended for gold gilded areas as prolonged exposure can attack the gold layer. Always rinse of any dipping agent as it contains aggressive chemicals.
3: Solid gold jewellery benefits from being cleaned regularly with a soft, lint free cloth, helping to maintain its beauty and shine and keeping the metal lustrous. Satin/matt finished jewellery can have its satin finish re-applied with a bit of scotchbrite cloth on the satin areas only.
4: Do not allow your jewellery to come into direct contact with chemicals or acids such as household cleaning agents, cosmetic products, hand lotions, perfume, hairspray, oils etc. These chemicals can permanently damage and discolour precious metal, and in the case of porous gemstones, these substances (including jewellery solutions) may be absorbed, causing permanent discolouration and corrosive damage. Additionally chlorinated water and bleach must be avoided.
5: In the case of perfume and hairspray, apply these chemicals first, let them dry and then proceed to wear your jewellery. When cleaning jewellery featuring non-porous gemstones, clean very gently with a weak solution of mild detergent, rinse and clean with lukewarm water and then dry with a soft, lint free cloth. Do not use coarser substances as this may scratch metal and gemstones alike. Soaking may be required to remove heavier deposits, and a soft toothbrush can be used for gentle scrubbing. Porous gemstones (including pearls, amber, turquoise and opals) and gemstones that are prone to fissures such as emeralds should only be wiped with a damp cloth. Pearls (strung onto silks and glued) should not come into contact with water or be exposed to prolonged heat because this will loosen the silks and/or glue.
6: Avoid leaving gem set jewellery in direct sunlight for long periods of time as this may have an effect on the gemstones colour and stability, as well as causing porous gemstones to dry out over long periods of time. Also avoid other hot, extreme environments, including leaving your jewellery near a radiator.
7: Remove your jewellery before sleeping, and in circumstances when it may get knocked or be more liable to accidental damage, snagging or chemical/dirt contact, such as exercising, gardening, swimming, showering and extreme sports.
8: Obtain adequate insurance cover on your jewellery.