It’s ideal to keep up regular cleanings at home, but be sure to see our jewelers for professional cleanings at least once every six months. Everyday products like hairspray, lotions, perfumes, and other cosmetics create a layer of film on the jewelry which leaves the metals and stones looking dull and dirty, and they can even corrode the metal.
How your piece should be cleaned will depend on its age/fragility, the particular metal material, and the type of stone involved. Our team knows the best way to keep your jewelry shining. We believe that each piece is special and should be treated as such — let us show you what we can do! If your jewelry has lost its luster, visit Vinciguerra Jewelers for expert jewelry cleaning, polishing, and plating services.
Here are some important jewelry cleaning facts about different metals and stones:
- Silver – Silver jewelry needs more cleaning than other precious metals because it tarnishes quite quickly when it comes into contact with oxygen or sulfur, but properly maintained silver jewelry improves with age and develops a lush patina. Common commercial silver cleaners can actually harm your silver by removing the anti-tarnish coating and patina. While at-home cleaners might give a temporary shine, the pieces will tarnish much more quickly and have to be cleaned more frequently once you have broken down the surface.
- Oxidized Silver – Some silver jewelry can have parts that are intentionally oxidized, or darkened, to create small details. However, this detailing can be lost with excessive cleaning and polishing. Silver cleaners should not be used on oxidized jewelry.
- Gold – Although gold requires less frequent cleaning and less buffing than silver, it can still accumulate dirt and grease and should be cleaned regularly. Gold jewelry can tarnish when exposed to chemicals like alcohol, acids, and sulfur compounds, and can even be broken down when exposed to chlorine.
- White Gold – White gold is a combination of metals (including yellow gold) and is covered with a coating of rhodium. In order to keep it shiny and looking more white than yellow, have it professionally coated and polished when it starts to lose its luster.
- Platinum – Platinum is resistant to tarnishing and discoloration due to chlorine and other chemicals, making it quite durable. Platinum is a very dense metal that is much harder to polish than silver or gold, thus we recommend having our professional jewelers polish your platinum jewelry for you.
Dirt and the skin’s oils can collect on the surface and under the setting and cause the stone to lose its brilliance. Gemstone jewelry should be cleaned regularly; however, soft gemstones such as opals, pearls, turquoise, and onyx must be treated differently from hard gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires.
- Hard gemstones – Vinciguerra Jewelers use ultrasonic cleaners with high-frequency sound waves and chemicals that create bubbles. The bubbles latch on to the dirt on the stone and the sound waves pull the dirt up to the surface for removal. We do not recommend using at-home ultrasonic jewelry cleaners because they can cause stones to loosen and you may not know what happened until you lose one!
- Soft gemstones – Ultrasonic or steam cleaners should not be used for soft gemstone cleaning. You might be tempted to simply wipe a bit of dirt off your opal or pearl jewelry, but don’t do it. Most household dust is a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale which is more than soft gemstones’ range. Soft gemstone cleaning is a delicate process that our professional jewelers can carefully handle for you.
There are many things working against your jewelry every day which makes regular checkups crucial to maintaining your piece. We perform routine maintenance including:
- Correcting discoloration on precious metals
- Correcting gemstones and pearls affected by light and heat
- Correcting delicate gems harmed by chemicals
- Fixing loose prongs, worn mountings, and general wear and tear
- Restringing pearls
We are knowledgeable about the various metals and stones that create unique pieces and know what is needed to keep them maintained properly. From particular metals to delicate pearls, you can trust us to handle your jewelry with care!
How to Properly Store your Jewelry
In order to keep your jewelry maintained, you must store it correctly when it is not being worn. Here are some tips for jewelry storage:
- Jewelry should never be tossed into a drawer or on top of a dresser — that’s asking for scratches and damaged gems.
- When not using jewelry, especially sterling silver, it’s a good idea to store it in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth.
- Jewelry boxes that feature individually padded slots for rings and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets are also ideal.
- Pearls and opals draw moisture from the air, so storing your opal or pearl jewelry in a dry area (like a safe deposit box) can sometimes do more harm than good.
- Heat can fracture gems, so store gemstone jewelry in a temperate location.
St. Louis Jewelry Maintenance Services
We at Vinciguerra Jewelers provide friendly customer service and high-quality jewelry maintenance services. Our team is here to help you keep your jewelry in its best condition, whether that is answering your precious metal and gemstone questions or cleaning your piece. Contact us today for professional jewelry maintenance services!
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