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How To Care For Your Jewellery

Your jewellery collection contains some of your most treasured possessions. Here is our guide to taking care of your jewellery so that it gleams and sparkles like new for many years.

GOLD

Gold without gemstones can easily be cleaned in warm soapy water. Soak the piece in the water for about 20 minutes and then use a soft toothbrush to remove any remaining dirt gently. Rinse the gold with clean water and then dry with a clean towel. Leave to air dry so that all water is removed.

For extra shine, use a microfibre cloth to wipe over the piece – never use kitchen paper or tissue to wipe gold as it might leave tiny scratches that, over time, will dull the finish.

(See our instructions for cleaning diamonds and other precious stones if your gold jewellery is set with gemstones.)

PLATINUM

Platinum does not tarnish or fade over time. Platinum without gemstones can be safely cleaned using warm soapy water. Leave the item to soak for around 20 minutes and then carefully rub the piece with a soft toothbrush or similar. Rinse under warm water – take care that your jewellery does not fall down the plughole!

Allow the piece to dry in the air and then wipe the platinum with a microfibre cloth to give it extra shine.

Over the years, platinum acquires a patina of age. If you wish to return your jewellery to ''as new' condition, then entrust the piece to a jeweller for professional cleaning.

(See our instructions for cleaning diamonds and other precious stones if your platinum jewellery is set with gemstones.)

SILVER

These instructions are for silver jewellery that is not set with gemstones. If your silver pieces have gems set in them, you should check out our suggestions for cleaning diamonds and other precious stones.

The best way to clean silver is with a silver polishing cloth, these cloths can care for everyday dirt and grime. Gently rub the silver with the polishing cloth so that you do not scratch the soft metal. And the silver will lose any slight tarnish and be returned to the sparkling condition that it was when new.

If your silver jewellery has become heavily tarnished and dirty, then you can safely clean your silver items using aluminium foil. Just place a square of aluminium foil in the bottom of a heavy bowl. Put your silver jewellery on top of the square of foil and pour hot, but not boiling, water over the jewellery. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the water and stir the water until the powder dissolves. Let the silver soak for about 20 minutes then remove, rinse under clean, warm water and then dry off with a microfibre cloth. Your tarnished silver will now look as good as it should!

DIAMONDS AND OTHER PRECIOUS STONES

Jewellery with gemstones need particular care in cleaning; for example, although diamonds are very hard, if two diamonds rub against each other they can scratch! Worse yet, a diamond will easily scratch any other gemstone. It is essential that stones do not rub against each other when being cleaned. Do not clean pearls in water, other gems can be cleaned as follows:

Always clean jewellery with gemstones in a bowl so that if a stone comes loose, it can not be lost on the floor or down a plughole.

Most stones can be carefully cleaned in a weak solution of washing up liquid and warm, not hot, water. Do not soak your gemstones in water, instead use a soft toothbrush to rub the cleaning solution over the jewellery gently. Rinse off the soapy water in a bowl of fresh lukewarm water and then dry your jewellery with a microfibre cloth.

Pearls will be damaged by exposure to water, the best way to restore your pearls to their best condition is to take them to a jeweller for professional cleaning and restringing.

ULTRASONIC CLEANING

There are cleaning devices for jewellery that use ultrasonic waves to vibrate dirt free from jewellery. There are two types available, the first is for home use and the second is used by jewellery manufacturers to make sure their pieces are as clean as possible before sale.

Ultrasonic cleaning devices for use in the home are not very effective. Cleaning the old-fashioned way with soapy water is at least as efficient. Worse yet, some of these devices can cause gemstones to become loose in their settings or to damage each other as they vibrate against each other.

Our advice is to either stick to soapy water and a soft brush or take your jewellery to a professional for cleaning.

KEEP YOUR JEWELLERY SAFE

After theft or breakage, the worst thing that can happen to your jewellery is that it becomes scratched. To prevent scratching keep each piece of jewellery in a case or box that allows each item to be kept separate from other pieces so that they cannot scratch each other when handled or moved.

While we all hope that we will not be robbed, or our precious items be broken, these things can and do happen. The best protection for most of us against these events is a good insurance policy that covers for damage, loss or theft. Check your household policy, or consider a specialist policy for your jewellery for peace of mind.

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