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Why Proper Care for Your Jewellery is Essential

July 5, 2024

 

How to Care for Gemstones in Your Jewellery: A Daily Guide

Caring for the gemstones in your jewellery isn’t just about keeping them sparkling. It’s about preserving their beauty and integrity for years to come. Different gemstones require different care methods. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you maintain the lustre and longevity of your gemstone jewellery.

Each gemstone is unique not only in its beauty but also in its care needs and vulnerability to damage. Here’s how you can maintain the lustre and longevity of your precious stone jewellery, while taking note of each gem’s susceptibility to breaking.

Diamonds

Diamonds are renowned for their hardness, yet they can still chip or scratch if struck at the right angle. For daily care:

  • Clean regularly with a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, using a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away grime.
  • Avoid contact with harsh chemicals, like chlorine and bleach, which can dull the surface.

Pearls

Pearls are much softer and more prone to scratching:

  • Wipe pearls with a soft cloth after each use to remove body oils and salts.
  • Apply perfume before putting on your pearls. Perfumes and other sprays contain chemicals that can dull the pearl’s finish or even cause long-term damage. Always let perfume and other personal care products dry completely before wearing your pearls.
  • Avoid soaking in water, as moisture can weaken the stringing material.
  • Store separately in a soft pouch to prevent scratches from other jewellery.

Opals

Opals are susceptible to dehydration and thermal shock, which can cause them to crack:

  • Avoid sudden temperature changes and protect them from extreme conditions.
  • Moisturize by occasionally wiping with a damp cloth.
  • Store out of direct sunlight and consider a humidified environment to prevent drying out.

Emeralds

Emeralds often have internal inclusions and surface-reaching fractures, making them vulnerable to breaking:

  • Clean gently with a soft, dry cloth—avoid soaps and vigorous scrubbing.
  • Protect from extreme conditions such as heat and changes in air pressure, which can exacerbate existing fissures.

Sapphires and Rubies

These stones are quite durable but can still suffer from chips or fractures on impact:

  • Clean with soapy water using a soft brush to remove any dirt.
  • Handle with care to avoid harsh impacts which might cause damage.

Turquoise

Turquoise is quite soft and porous, making it easy to stain and sensitive to chemicals:

  • Clean gently with a soft brush; avoid soaps or chemicals.
  • Keep dry and protect from prolonged exposure to sunlight to prevent colour change.

 

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is quite a durable gemstone but can be vulnerable to cracking if subjected to rough handling:

  • Clean with soapy water using a soft brush to gently remove oils and dirt.
  • Avoid sharp blows and sudden temperature changes which might cause the stone to crack.
  • Store separately in a soft pouch or box to prevent scratches from harder stones.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is more prone to scratching and cracking due to its relatively low hardness and good cleavage:

  • Handle with extra care to avoid impacts and pressure which can easily damage the stone.
  • Use lukewarm water and mild soap for cleaning, and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Keep away from harsh chemicals and extreme temperature changes to maintain its structural integrity.

Amethyst

Amethyst, while quite hard, can fade in colour if exposed to prolonged sunlight:

  • Clean using a solution of mild soap and warm water, and use a soft brush to scrub gently.
  • Protect from direct sunlight and high temperatures to prevent colour fading.
  • Store carefully to avoid contact with harder gemstones that could scratch its surface.

Topaz

Topaz is also a hard gemstone but has perfect cleavage, which means it can split with a single sharp blow:

  • Clean with mild soapy water; avoid mechanical cleaners like ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
  • Avoid sharp impacts that could cause the stone to split or crack.
  • Store separately in a lined box or a fabric pouch to avoid scratches or sudden impacts.

Aquamarine Care Tips

  • Clean Regularly: Aquamarine can collect oils, dirt, and debris, which can dull its sparkle. Clean it gently using a solution of mild dish soap and warm water. Use a soft brush, like a toothbrush, to scrub lightly behind the stone where dust can collect.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Harsh chemicals can erode the finish and polish of aquamarine. Avoid exposing your aquamarine jewellery to chemicals found in household cleaners, chlorine in swimming pools, and even everyday cosmetics like hairspray and perfume.
  • Protect from Scratches: While aquamarine is fairly resistant to scratches, it can still be scratched by harder materials. Store your aquamarine jewellery separately in a fabric-lined box or wrapped in a soft cloth to avoid contact with other harder gemstones.
  • Shield from Extreme Temperatures: Sudden temperature changes can cause aquamarine to crack. Avoid using hot water when cleaning and keep your aquamarine jewellery away from direct sunlight for prolonged periods, which can also cause the colour to fade over time.

 

General Tips

For all gemstones:

  • Remove jewellery during strenuous activities to prevent impacts or exposure to chemicals and dirt.
  • Avoid wearing jewellery in environments where they might be exposed to harsh chemicals, like swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • Store your gemstones separately in a fabric-lined box or wrapped in a soft cloth to prevent them from knocking into each other and potentially chipping or cracking.

By being mindful of each gemstone’s specific vulnerabilities and care requirements, you can ensure your jewellery remains a sparkling reflection of your personal style for years to come.

 

Caring for Gold and Platinum Jewellery: Preserving the Elegance and Integrity

Gold and platinum are favoured in jewellery making for their natural beauty and inherent value. These metals are also chosen for their malleability, which allows for intricate designs. However, their softness means they require careful handling to maintain their finish and form. Here’s how to care for jewellery made from 9ct and 18ct yellow gold, 9ct and 18ct white gold, and platinum.

9ct and 18ct Yellow Gold

Yellow gold jewellery is timeless, but its softer nature means it can scratch and dent. The lower the carat, the harder the metal, so 9ct gold, while harder than 18ct, still needs careful handling.

  • Regular Cleaning: Use a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Soak your gold jewellery for a few minutes before gently brushing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse under warm running water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Avoid Chemical Exposure: Chemicals can tarnish or damage the surface of gold. Remove your gold jewellery when using harsh chemicals or engaging in activities like swimming in chlorinated water.
  • Storage: Store your gold jewellery in separate soft cloth bags or in a lined jewellery box to prevent scratches from harder jewellery pieces.

9ct and 18ct White Gold

White gold is often coated with rhodium to enhance its whiteness, which can wear off over time, revealing the yellow gold underneath.

  • Clean Gently: As with yellow gold, use a mild soap and warm water solution. Use a soft brush to clean and then dry with a lint-free cloth.
  • Rhodium Plating Maintenance: Periodic re-plating may be necessary to maintain its lustrous white finish.
  • Separate Storage: Keep white gold away from other metals to avoid scratches and to preserve its plating.

Platinum

Platinum is exceptionally durable and resistant to tarnishing, making it an ideal choice for jewellery that lasts a lifetime. However, it is still prone to scratches.

  • Cleaning: Platinum can be cleaned with the same mild soap solution as gold. It can tolerate a soft brush more than gold can due to its durability.
  • Polishing: Although it is durable, platinum can develop a patina from small scratches. This can be polished by a professional if you prefer a glossy finish.
  • Storage: Store platinum separately in a jewellery box or a pouch to maintain its appearance.

General Tips for All Metals

  • Routine Checks: Regularly inspect your jewellery for loose stones or any signs of wear to the settings. This is especially important for engagement rings or other high-wear items.
  • Professional Care: Consider professional cleaning once a year and more frequent checks if the jewellery is worn daily.
  • Careful Handling: Always remove your jewellery before physical activities and when you might be exposed to abrasive substances.

Understanding the unique properties of each metal allows you to better care for your jewellery, ensuring each piece remains a beautiful part of your collection for years to come. By maintaining each piece properly, you enhance its longevity and ensure that it continues to dazzle and delight.

 

Caring for Different Types of Stone Settings in Jewellery

Each stone setting in jewellery not only contributes to the piece’s overall aesthetic but also necessitates specific care to maintain its condition and security. From classic claw settings to delicate micro-claw and robust rubover settings, knowing how to care for each can extend the life and beauty of your jewellery. Here’s a guide to help you care for various types of stone settings.

Claw Setting

Claw settings, where metal prongs hold a stone securely in place, are common for solitaire rings.

  • Check regularly for loose stones or bent prongs which can occur with daily wear.
  • Clean gently using soapy water and a soft brush, taking care not to snag the prongs on the brush fibres.

Micro-Claw Setting

Similar to the traditional claw setting but featuring smaller prongs for a less obstructed view of the stone.

  • Handle with extra care as the smaller prongs are more susceptible to damage.
  • Use a soft brush to clean around the stones, ensuring all angles are covered without applying excessive force.

Pave Setting

In pave settings, stones are set closely together, held by small beads of metal.

  • Inspect often as the small stones can come loose over time.
  • Clean with a soft toothbrush to dislodge debris from between the stones, using a gentle touch to avoid dislodging them.

Rubover Setting

Stones in rubover settings are completely encircled by metal, enhancing protection.

  • Clean around the edges where dust and soap can collect, using a soft cloth or brush.
  • Polish the metal gently to maintain its shine without disturbing the stone.

Channel Setting

Stones are set between vertical metal walls with no metal separating them, commonly used in bands.

  • Clean with a soft brush, moving it in line with the channel to remove trapped dirt and debris.
  • Check for alignment issues, which can indicate that the channel has been bent or damaged.

Grain Setting

Grain settings use small metal beads to hold stones in place, offering a vintage look.

  • Inspect regularly for loose stones and ensure the grains aren’t worn down.
  • Clean carefully with a soft-bristled brush, being cautious around the delicate grains.

Thread and Grain Setting

This involves tiny loops of metal holding stones in a continuous line, often used for intricate designs.

  • Avoid rough handling as the fine metal threads can be easily damaged.
  • Clean with minimal pressure, focusing on light brushing to remove surface dirt.

Cemented Pearls

Pearls are often cemented onto posts rather than being drilled, requiring gentle care.

  • Avoid water and chemicals which can dissolve the adhesive over time.
  • Wipe with a dry, soft cloth after each wear to remove body oils and other residues.

General Care Tips for All Settings

  • Regular maintenance checks by a professional jeweller can preemptively address any issues before they lead to stone loss.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures, which can weaken metal settings and adhesives.
  • Store jewellery individually in padded boxes or soft pouches to prevent settings from being knocked and potentially damaged.

Following these specialised care tips for each type of setting, you can ensure that your precious stone-set jewellery remains secure and stunning, reflecting its craftsmanship and your personal style for years to come.

 

Maintaining Different Types of Jewellery: A Guide to Durability and Beauty

Proper maintenance is essential for preserving the condition and appearance of your jewellery. Here’s how to care for various types of jewellery, with a focus on specific areas to check regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Pendants

Pendants are prone to accumulating grime and can suffer wear at the connection points.

  • Clean regularly with a mild soap solution and a soft brush, focusing on the pendant and its bail (the loop that connects the pendant to the chain).
  • Inspect the bail and any connecting rings for signs of wear or stretching, especially if the pendant is heavy.

Bracelets

Bracelets experience significant exposure and movement, making them susceptible to damage.

  • Inspect clasps, links, and settings frequently for security and integrity.
  • Clean with soapy water; dry thoroughly to prevent moisture damage, especially in intricate designs.

Bangles

Due to their rigid structure, bangles can easily get scratched and may deform under pressure.

  • Use a polishing cloth to maintain shine and check for stress marks or changes in shape.
  • Store separately in a soft pouch to avoid contact with other jewellery that might cause scratches.

Chains

Chains are particularly vulnerable to tangling and breaking.

  • Store by hanging or laid flat to prevent tangling.
  • Check for weak links or clasps regularly, which may need professional repair to prevent breakage.

Necklaces

Necklaces vary in design and may have multiple points where damage can occur.

  • Clean based on the material, and focus on clasps and the areas around any stones or intricate designs for build-up.
  • Regularly check clasps and the stringing material for wear and potential breakage.

Rings

Rings are constantly exposed to elements that can cause them to wear down, especially around the band and setting.

  • Remove rings during hand washing or applying lotions to minimize residue buildup.
  • Check settings and prongs for loosening or damage, which could lead to stone loss.

Earrings

Earrings can collect bacteria and are subject to loosening over time.

  • Clean posts or hooks regularly with an alcohol wipe to remove buildup and maintain hygiene.
  • Inspect the backings and settings for tightness and integrity to ensure they remain secure during wear.

General Care Tips for All Jewellery Types

  • Routine Cleaning: Keep your jewellery clean to prevent the accumulation of substances that can corrode or damage it. Use the appropriate methods and cleaning solutions for different materials.
  • Proper Storage: Store jewellery in a clean, dry place. Use compartmentalized boxes or individual soft pouches to prevent scratching and tangling.
  • Professional Check-ups: Have your jewellery inspected by a professional at least once a year for signs of wear or damage, particularly for high-wear items like engagement rings.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Always remove jewellery before exposure to harsh chemicals, including household cleaners, chlorine in pools, and personal care products.

By focusing on specific areas of vulnerability and maintaining routine care, you can extend the life of your jewellery and ensure it remains a cherished part of your collection for years to come.

 

Customer reviews

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Ben Shakerley

Excellent jewellers, we took in my fiancé’s engagement ring which belonged to my grandmother, we wanted a stone replacement and resizing. We had such wonderful service, fantastic advice and the craftsmanship of the ring is impeccable. Would highly recommend!

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Tamsin Beken

I highly recommend Charles Nobel and their lovely staff. They have done a brilliant job resizing my wedding ring, which is made up of three different types of gold so not an easy task. They were really helpful, professional and honest in their advice. Thank you!!

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Stephanie Kosandiak

My antique engagement diamond solitaire ring (which I had worn for 41 years), was in need of a new shank. At the same time I was advised to renew the setting. I was concerned that a new setting would change the character of the ring. I couldn’t have been more wrong!! The ring looks fabulous. The setting has improved the appearance of my diamond enormously and I have to admit I was quite emotional when I saw the result of the “repair “. I now have a beautiful new ring which has maintained its character but has been brought up to date. Thank you too to the Charles Nobel staff for their advice and craftsmanship! I am a very satisfied customer!

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Julie McStraw

I had a ring redesigned into a more modern pendant. Piers understood how I imagined the design to look - modern and unique. We spent a long time deciding on the best of the designs that were produced to fit my brief and I am extremely pleased with the finished product. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this service

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