Jewellery Maintenance - What You Need To Know
We all want our jewellery to look as good as the day we first received it. Well it can. However, there are regular jewellery maintenance processes you need to be doing to ensure your jewellery stays in top condition and that you don’t end up losing expensive diamonds out of neglect. This article explains what needs to be done and what will happen if you don’t.
DIY Jewellery Cleaning Tips
For your rings to look sparkly and new they need to be kept super clean. This can be done at home. There are several easy methods of cleaning and there are a few absolute no-no’s.
The first method you should consider is a regular wipe with a jewellery cloth. Don’t use you’re shirt! The cloth is a soft material that won’t scratch the metal or soft gems. It is often impregnated with polishing compound to provide that extra lustre.
If your jewellery needs a little more than a wipe with a cloth you can gently use an old toothbrush with luke warm water and a mild detergent like dishwashing liquid. Some gems should not be subjected to chemicals or detergents of any kind. These are usually porous gems like pearls or triplet opals. If in doubt don’t immerse and keep the detergent away from the gem. There is also a great biodegradable foaming product available, suitable for virtually all stones including pearls.
Good jewellery stores will carry a range of polishing cloths and cleaning solutions. Keep your jewellery solutions clean and never soak base metals in them. They may end up tainting the liquid and after that all your jewellery will come out black and tarnished.
Domestic Jewellery Cleaning Machine – There are various models available on the market. Some work well and others are not worth the space in your cupboard. The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true. Be aware what gems can be immersed and what can’t.
Never Clean Your Jewellery Like This
Over the years I’ve heard stories of how people have been told to clean their jewellery. Some of the results are brought in to our store to be recovered. Most are salvageable, sadly some are not.
- I soak my rings in gin – This is one method we’ve heard for years. For a diamond and platinum ring this would be fine. It will do the ring no harm. Be careful what coloured gems you subject this method to. I don’t think alcohol is any better than water and a mild detergent, and a waste of good gin 😉
- I boil my jewellery – This sends shivers down my spine. I suppose if there are no stones in the jewellery it may be safe. The gems could be subjected to thermal shock if they’re then rinsed in cold water. This could cause the stones to crack. Some coloured gems should not be heated as it can also change their colour permanently. If the jewellery is sitting in the bottom of a pot on the stove they’re almost sitting directly on the element.
- Toothpaste, Denture Cleaner and Household Scouring Products – Don’t use any of these products. They are too aggressive and can scratch the gems and metal.
- Brasso and Silvo – Don’t use these. They are not designed for jewellery and will end up leaving residue in all the gaps.
Why Use A Jeweller To Clean & Check My Jewellery?
A professional jeweller will have the experience and machinery to give your jewellery a much better service than you can do at home.
However, there are varying methods of jewellery cleaning even in the trade. Jewellery Cleaning to me would mean cleaning the jewellery in a professional ultrasonic cleaning bath. Most jewellery stores will offer this as a no charge service as it’s relatively easy to do. The risk is that if any gems are loose in their settings the vibration waves in the ultrasonic that vibrate the dirt out can also cause the loose gems to fall out. Better it happen in the cleaning bath than on the street. This would then become a charged service to re-set, particularly if the setting is worn and needs to be re-built.
A more indepth service is hand polishing your jewellery and checking tightness and safety of gems, claws, wear etc. This would be a charged service and usually quoted for.
Can Any Jeweller Clean & Check My Jewellery?
Not all Retail Jewellery stores are created equal. It is confusing because a person who works in a jewellery store selling jewellery can be called a Jeweller. The reality is that they are Jewellery Salespeople. As there are widely variable worldwide standards of acceptable jewellery knowledge for these salespeople, it means unless they are trained bench jewellers (unlikely) they know very little about jewellery maintenance and are not suitably qualified to give you advice on what your jewellery may require. With that in mind make sure your chosen jeweller has experience at this level or can pass your jewellery on to someone of this skill level.
Usually a sign of having this level of expertise is that there are on-site jewellers doing the work.
Ring Maintenance Warranty
Diamonds Direct provide a free service called a Ring Maintenance Warranty. We will check and clean your ring. If it is in good secure wearable condition we will issue you with a written Ring Maintenance Warranty, usually covered for twelve months. At the end of this time, we would remind you to come back so we can provide the next clean and check.
You don’t get much for nothing these days. This is definitely worth taking advantage of.
What Will Be Checked On My Ring?
We will check the following:
- Are all the stones secure?
- Are the stones all in good condition?
- Are all claws in adequate condition? Worn claws cause stones to fall out increasing repair costs considerably let alone anguish.
- What is the condition of the settings under the stones? When rings are worn together they can wear each other out by rubbing against each other.
- Is the band (shank) in good condition? Shanks wear out and can be re-built.
- Does the white gold need rhodium plating?
- General check over. We check under magnification for any cracks or solder failures that may have not been noticed.
Insurance Companies & Jewellery Maintenance
Diamonds Direct do many quotes and repairs/replacements for insurance companies on behalf of their clients. Often a diamond may have fallen out simply because the claws were never checked. They had worn away and the diamond had simply fallen out. Usually when this happens insurance companies have no interest in replacing the diamond at their expense. There argument is that it was not a result of an accident or damage, rather a result of lack of maintenance. The cost ends up falling on the owner.
Many insurance companies these days on more valuable rings with large gems in them are insisting the policy holder is having the ring regularly checked by a professional. It’s no different than having your car checked to lessen the likelihood of having an accident.