Soft stones like lapis, malachite, turquoise, amber and
opals can easily be scratched by pin stems and the edges of other
jewelry. Protect pieces with these gemstones by wrapping them in
jeweler's tissue and storing separately.
Opals require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never
use chemicals and avoid heat. Don't put your opal ring on the window
sill when washing your hands or the dishes as strong sunlight can
dry out the water in opals which could cause hazing or color change.
If your opals don't seem to have the fire they used to try applying some baby oil. This may take several applications over a period of days
Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning some jewelry but they
can damage many gemstones and the chemicals are not recommended
for pearls and many other fine stones. Repeated use can also loosen
the settings and you could lose your precious gems.
Pearls. Protect from scratches; jewelry pouches or cloth bags should be used to protect them from scratches. Pearls can also be wrapped in
soft material and kept wherever convenient.
Perfumes and household chemicals can wear away the nacre or cause color change.
If pearls become
dehydrated, they can get brittle and crack. Consequently, they should
not be kept near heaters or in places that get strong sunlight, such as
on a window sill. Safe deposit boxes can be unusually dry, so if you
ever store pearls there, try to take them out occasionally and expose
them to humidity or moisture. Sealed plastic bags are not the best place
for pearls. They can keep them from breathing and getting moisture.
Never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean
metal or stones. You will find countless websites that recommend
toothpaste as a cleaner, but this is not an accepted practice
by fine jewelers. Although the abrasives in toothpaste are great
for your teeth, they can damage the surface of the metal requiring
the skill of a professional to buff and refinish. Toothpaste
will also scuff the surface on amber, lapis, turquoise and other
soft stones resulting in the fine polish which was produced by the
skilled lapidary to be permanently marred.
Always remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any
product that contains bleach! Bleach can cause
gold and other metal alloys to breakdown leaving the metal irreparably
damaged. This includes swimming pools and bathing in hot tubs
as chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria growth.
Besides chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone,
and ammonia can cause harm. These chemicals can dull or even
pit the surface on softer gemstones. Petroleum based products
can actually "melt" amber if allowed to remain on the stone and
they can do significant damage to pearls.
If you normally use specially purchased jeweler's cloths to keep
your jewelry clean and shiny, be sure to use fresh cloths since
the dirt and grit left on the cloth from a previous use will now
leave scrapes and pits in the piece you are trying to clean and
To help retard tarnish on sterling silver, wrap the piece
in jeweler's tissue paper and place it inside a plastic zip lock
bag and seal.
Put a silica gel packet in your jewelry box to keep it moisture free. This will also help prevent your jewelry from tarnishing.
Store like items together. Do not put away gold plating and silver
plating together, the different metals will cause each other to tarnish,
fade and/or turn colors. Have different storage places for different
colors of metals.