Money Saving DIY Jewellery Maintenance Tips

We love our jewellery. It is one of the most valuable accessories we revere. Understanding how to care for and protect these sparkling pieces is a must, especially if you want to maintain their beauty even after multiple use and to preserve them for generations to come.

None of us think about jewellery maintenance the day we bring these dazzling pieces home from the jewellery market. From your mangalsutra to the fashionable anklet that you got from your fiance on Valentine’s Day, you simply wish they would dazzle and shine forever. But the fact is that like any other material, your jewellery erodes and their beauty fades away with time. Therefore, you must start taking care of your gems and metals from the first day and your effort will pay off with jewellery that looks as good as new for many many years.

Diamonds are forever and gold doesn’t rust like iron. But let’s face it, your jewellery stops dazzling if they don’t get a good cleaning at least once a year. Without occasional cleaning your precious fashion accessories definitely get tarnished and look just plain stained.

Let’s face it: everybody’s jewellery needs a good clean occasionally. If you take a look at your own collection you’ll probably notice your precious jewellery getting tarnished or just plain stained. So, what can you do to protect their beauty? This article is for busy professionals like you who need to know how to clean their jewellery quickly, easily and safely.

Here we go:

Light and Heat – The Greatest Enemy Of Beauty

Sunlight doesn’t just kill the beauty of your skin and complexion, it takes away the dazzle of gemstones too. Frequent long exposure to sunlight affects the durability and color of precious stones like topaz, amethyst, kunzite and shell. Pearl and ivory bleach under prolonged exposure to light. Too much light or sunlight can darket gems like amber over time.

Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes are not good for some precious stones. Too much heat and sudden rise or fall in temperature may crack some gemstones like opal. Gemstones need moisture to retain their beauty. Heat removes the natural moisture from gemstones and makes them dry out, crack and lose its colour. Opals may lose colour, develop cracks and become white or brown if exposed to excessive heat.

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Strong, Harsh Chemicals Eats Away Your Popular Jewelry

Jewelry manufacturers warn us that many apparently harmless chemicals can damage and erode the beauty of valuable metals like gold, silver and platinum and can harm precious gemstones. Substances like body care lotion, perfume, hairspray and other cosmetics may damage gemstones like turquoise and damage the surface of pearls.

Never use chlorinated liquid to clean your ornaments. Many mild household cleaners can harm your jewellery too because they contain ammonia, a substance that is too harsh for your delicate gemstones. Chlorine erodes metals like gold. French 18K yellow gold and Circa 1860 diamond should be handled with care. Clean them with plain water and a soft, lint-free cloth.

Treated gemstones deserve special care.

Gemstones look beautiful because of their color and clarity and they become attractive through routine treatment given to them. These treatments can lose their effect if the stones are exposed to heat, solvents, steam and ultrasonic cleaners. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to be aware of what not to do while cleaning the stones. The GIA given by the report jewellery stores will help you to understand your stones better.

The GIA Identification Report contains the description of whether the stone is natural or synthetic. It identifies the type of gemstone, and detects any detectable treatments. You also get details like the cut, shape, weight, measurement, and color, and includes a photograph of the gemstone. Go through the report thoroughly and avoid doing anything that may harm the stone.

Use the Ultrasound Cleaner, but with caution.

Ultrasound cleaners cleans well but they can damage your gemstones too. Note that not all gemstones can be cleaned in that machine because the chemicals used and vibration generated by the machine can damage the stones permanently.

Don’t use an ultrasonic cleaners to clean:

  • Diamonds
  • Gemstones like pearls, coral, ivory, or amber that are organic in nature
  • Jewels and gems treated with a substance such as oil, resin or a glass-like material
  • Gems coated with a non-permanent substance like plastic or wax
  • Heat-treated gemstones
  • Gemstones that are susceptible to heat and temperature changes whether they are treated or not. For example: kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, opal, topaz, tanzanite, feldspar (sunstone and moonstone), fluorite, iolite, turquoise, zircon and others.

It is always better to pay jewelry professionals of the jewellery shop near you who know how to use clean stones without harming them.

Cleaning jewellery the easiest way is the surprisingly safest way.

A soft brush, warm water(not hot) and mild detergent-free soap is good enough to clean your jewellery. If you are a gadget-freak, you may use a pulsed-water dental cleaning tool and a soft lint-free cloth to clean them. Don’t forget to rinse your jewellery in a bowl of water to remove any cleaning solutions. And avoid washing in the sink because many people’s earrings and other valuables have landed in the drain through the sinkholes.

Soft gems, such as pearls, can easily get a scratch mark if handled roughly. Use a new, clean makeup brush and warm, soapy water to clean them gently. Use a towel to dry them and it is better to lay them on the towel and not to touch them until they are really dry. Pearl jewelleries that you wear frequently should be cleaned and restrung once a year.

Store Jewellery Safely

Don’t toss or bounce your jewels like a basketball if you love them. Rough handling your jewellery attracts scratches and permanent damage. The best place to store them is the box or pouch given by the jewellery shop. Jewellery made from sterling silver should be kept in an anti-tarnish box or pouch. Jewellery boxes with individually padded slots for rings and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets are ideal for storing your favourite accessories.

Use a separate box or slot for each item to make sure that it doesn’t rub with other jewellery items. This way you will be able to avoid scratches and 

Pearls and opals need moisture to maintain their glow and they draw it from the air. Storing your opal or pearl jewelry in a box designed to store electronics or a safe deposit box, can sometimes do more harm than good.

When traveling, avoid scratches or other impact damage by padding your jewellery in a separate box or case.

How to clean silver jewellery

Tarnished silver pieces should be cleaned and with a good silver polish that contains ingredients that dissolve and remove tarnish while leaving behind a protective coating to prevent re-tarnishing.

Liquid polishes can be a bit messy to use. Wipes are more convenient. Specially treated multi-layer clothes, which have one side to clean and remove tarnish and the other side to shine works well too. And if you don’t have a silver polishing product, here is a DIY solution for you.

For mild tarnish:

  1. Get the bottle of dish soap. 
  2. Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water.
  3. Dip a soft cloth in the solution.
  4. Rub the silver with the cloth to remove the tarnish.
  5. Rinse with plain cool water and buff dry with another soft cloth.

For heavy tarnish:

  1. Try baking soda or toothpaste
  2. Mix three parts baking soda to one part water.
  3. Wet the silver and apply the paste with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  4. Rub with the piece of cloth and to pick up the tarnish.
  5. Rinse well and buff dry.

How to clean gold body jewellery

A few drops of dishwashing liquid mixed with a little warm water is good enough to clean your gold bracelets, earring, necklace and other gold jewellery at home.

  1. Soak the gold jewelleries in the solution for five minutes.
  2. Swish before taking them out of the solution.
  3. Lay the items on a piece of soft, lint free cloth.
  4. Pick items one by one and give them a thorough rub with a soft toothbrush.
  5. Work into the crevices to remove hidden dirts.
  6. Rinse everything under running water. Use a strainer for small items.
  7. Buff dry with a piece of soft lint free cloth.

How to clean gemstones

You can clean gemstones at home too by following the steps given below:

  1. Mix liquid dishwashing soap with carbonated water(sparkled water).
  2. Soak the gold jewelleries in the solution for five minutes.
  3. Swish before taking them out of the solution.
  4. Lay the items on a piece of soft, lint free cloth.
  5. Pick items one by one and give them a thorough rub with a soft toothbrush.
  6. Work into the crevices to remove hidden dirts.
  7. Rinse everything under running water. Use a strainer for small items.
  8. Buff dry with a piece of soft lint free cloth.

How to clean pearls, turquoise and opals

Pearl, turquoise and opal are porous and delicate gems. Therefore, they easily lose their luster. Whether real, cultured, or faux, they need cleaning and care. Soaking pearls causes the string to weaken and break.

To clean them follow these steps:

  1. Lay the strand on a soft, lint free cloth.
  2. Mix a little shampoo and warm water.
  3. Dip a small makeup brush in the solution and clean the pearls one by one.
  4. Rinse the pearls with well-wrung damp cloth.
  5. Don’t pull or hang the string of pearls while it is wet to prevent stretching and breaking.

Some DIY Tips for Cleaning Jewellery

1. Toothpaste and Toothbrush

A clean, soft-bristle toothbrush is the right tool for cleaning dirty jewelry. Tiny bristles make it easy to clean crevices. For light stains, plain water is good enough to scrub it away. For  a little serious buildup, dilute toothpaste with water, and start scrubbing. Rinse with water, then give them a wipe with a lint-free cloth. Let jewelry dry naturally before storing them.

2. Baking Soda or Carbonated Water

If you’re not in the mood to scrub, mix some baking soda with water and dip your jewellery. Baking soda reacts with water to produce bubbles or fizz that clean your jewellery in a few minutes. Wipe the jewellery dry with a cleaning cloth. But don’t use this method for cleaning pearls and other soft porous gemstones.

3. Just Soap and Water

Soap and water are the best because their mixture removes spots, stains, and general grime without harming the ornament. Just a few drops of liquid dish washing soap with a few cups of water is good enough to remove stains. Soak  jewelry in the mixture for a minute, before you start wiping the dirt and stain out. Buff dry with a lint-free cloth.

4. Hot water is a great cleaner.

Hard gold/silver or any other metal jewelry without gemstones cleans well in hot water.. Steam and heat loosen dirt and debris from the jewelry. This makes wiping the jewellery clean a lot easier. Take a bowl of hot water and dip the jewelleries. Wait for a few minutes before taking them out and giving them a good wipe. But remember this hot water bath is not for your gemstones because heat will take away their beauty and damage them permanently.

5. Readymade Antibacterial Cleaners 

Sparkle your flashy accessories with a multi purpose antibacterial cleaner. Pour enough liquid cleaner into a glass bowl and dip the jewelleries for five minutes. Wait for the build ups to fall off. Take the jewelleries out and scrub them  gently with a soft toothbrush. Rinse with cool water, then buff dry with a clean cloth.

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