Let's get Cleaning!
We have to be careful cleaning old jewellery. The metal, gemstones and how the piece is made will dictate how they can be cleaned.
No 3. Jewellery Cleaning Toolkit
1. Bowl of Warm Water
2. Baby Tooth Brush
3. Washing Up Liquid
4. Gold / Silver Cloth
5. Jewellery Drill*
*Watch our video on how to use these tools!
NO. 2 DIAMONDS
Did you know diamonds are attracted to grease, so much so grease is used to separate diamonds from other minerals when they are being mined.
Keep your diamonds clean by giving them a gentle warm bath with soapy water to remove the grease.
Pearls need to be worn, if they are not they can lose their lustre - it is said they flourish and bloom when next to your skin. Oils from the skin nourish them and keep them living. Pearls should be kept away from hairsprays, perfumes and body lotions as these will damage the lustre of the pearl. Strings of pearls should be checked regularly for wear and re-strung if needed.
Marcasite can either be claw set or glued, sometimes old glue can degrade and stones fall out. When cleaning look out for any run away stones.
Jewellery with paste or diamanté (glass) are usually backed with metal or foil, especially in jewellery from the 1950s, and therefore should not be placed in any liquids, as liquid could get into the back of the setting. This type of jewellery can be wiped with a slightly damp soft cloth or lint free cloth.
Gold and silver tone metal jewellery should not be cleaned or immersed in water or harsh cleaners this can damage the piece and its surface. Many of these pieces have diamanté stones set into them and moisture can damage or dislodge the jewellery, especially if the stone has a backing within the setting.
Platinum is susceptible to knocks they can lose their high shine quickly. It is advised to remove your platinum jewellery when doing any manual work.
Silver jewellery will oxidise easily, if it is left in contact with the air. Store your jewellery in closed boxes ideally with anti-tarnish silver storage tabs or strips. Clean silver with silver clothes, warm water and washing up liquid. Very tarnished silver may need to be taken for professional cleaning. Avoid silver dips as they can be very harsh on the silver and any set stones.
Porous gemstones such as Coral, Turquoise, Pearls and Opal can dehydrate and crack. For example Opals should be stored with moist cotton balls to avoid dehydration. Always research your gemstones to ensure you are caring for them in the best way possible. The general guide is to keep your gemstones away from any hash chemicals and hard knocks and wear.
As a general rule, hairsprays and perfumes used near vintage, antique, costume jewellery can be damaging. Silver dip and other harsh chemicals should not be used to clean vintage jewellery. Porous gemstones such as pearls can be damaged by perfume.
A box with compartments and lined with soft fabric will stop the items knocking together chipping or denting. Fabric pouches are very useful to keep the jewellery tidy and contained. Avoid leaving your jewellery in strong sunlight, some gemstones such as Turquoise and Opal will dry out. Silver and gold left out with tarnish over time.