Taking Care of Your Jewelry Investments
Whether you have an occasional interest in jewelry or you are an avid collector, having the basic knowledge of caring for your investments makes good sense. The following information was assembled for the benefit of my customers. You can never quite forget the bright shiny look of a fresh from the bench piece of jewelry. However, no piece of jewelry will maintain its original magnificent shine and sparkle without great care unless it remains untouched in a vacuumed sealed chamber away from oxygen and sunlight. Not a realistic option except for museums and collectors extraordinaire.
Sterling Silver – (Both Polished and intentionally oxidized to make the silver black .)
Sterling silver is a beautiful, bright metal that jewelry lovers worldwide have selected as their favorite metal. Although it is beautiful, sterling silver must be cleaned and stored properly in order to keep it from oxidizing and retain its original shine and luster. Violet Rain always uses Argentium™ tarnish resistant silver both for its mechanical and its tarnish resistant properties. Investing in a chemically treated silver cleaning cloth is the best method to clean sterling
silver jewelry at home before a special occasion. When storing your silver, there are products on the market that will help to keep the silver dry and free of unsightly tarnish. Silica gel packets (a desiccant) are excellent for keeping the storage environment humidity free in a jewelry box or plastic Zip bag. (We do sell some of these products in our store under the button “Etcetera”. Keeping sterling silver free of tarnish will ensure that it will retain its beauty and last for many years.
Gold is less sensitive than silver to tarnish due to its chemical properties and the properties of metal alloys which create various karat values and colors. The best home care cleaning is simply warm water and a small amount of mild dish washing soap. Let your gold sit in the soapy water for 20 minutes, remove, rinse, dry thoroughly and polish with a jeweler’s cloth to add luster.
STONES PRECIOUS AND SEMI-PRECIOUS –
I don’t believe there is any need to explain the allure of Precious or Semi- Precious gemstones. However, there is need to explain their difference in hardness as it relates to care. All stones are gauged using the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness. It is the hardness of a stone that determines the best care to be taken. Indiana University released the easy to follow chart of the Mohs Hardness Scale pictured below. Talc being the softest listed and Diamond being the hardest listed. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly. The samples of matter used by Mohs are all different minerals. Minerals are pure substances found in nature. Rocks are made up of one or more minerals.
In the world of jewelry the preferred stones used for making rings are those with a hardness of 7-10 Mohs. Naturally there are rings made with lower Mohs ratings but they are surely subject to scratching. For an extensive list of stones and their hardness check the IGA website, https://www.gemsociety.org/article/select-gems-ordered-mohs-hardness/ .
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a simple at home plan to keep your gemstone jewelry, including diamonds, looking beautiful is to soak them in a gentle solution of water with a few drops of mild dish soap, once or twice a week. After you remove the diamond from the cleaning solution, use a soft, clean toothbrush to remove any remaining dirt. Please note there are many home recipes that work well, but be sure you have thoroughly researched any of these methods before trying on your gemstones.
Opal, Coral, Amber, Pearls and Opaque Gems are particularly soft and porous and require special attention. NEVER use an ultrasonic cleaner, ammonia, or any chemical solution when cleaning opals, coral, amber, or opaque gems (lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite). All of these gems are best cleaned by carefully wiping with a moist cloth.
Commercially, diamonds and stones with an 8-9 Mohs are typically steam cleaned. by professional jewelers.
- Store all jewelry separately so it doesn’t scratch other jewelry.
- Check for loosened stones. With your index finger, gently tap the piece near your ear and listen for rattling.
- Clean your fine jewelry often to maintain its beauty and sparkle.
- Avoid wearing your rings when doing housework, exercise, or gardening.
- Do not put your jewelry on when washing your hands or applying makeup or hair spray.
- Do not wear your fine jewelry while swimming in a swimming pool. The chlorine can
- cause damage to various gemstones and gold. Gemstones may become loose in their settings and fall out.
To protect your larger jewelry investments, we recommend making sure your jewelry is insured under a homeowners, renters, or individual jewelry insurance policy. This is a common service that your insurer will be happy to provide. Insurance is particularly important for engagement rings with valuable center stones.
We don’t offer insurance ourselves, but we give you all the information you need to make getting coverage straightforward. We provide a detailed receipt for insurance purposes with every purchase, which contains the product and retail price information your insurance company will need to set up your policy.