How To Properly Clean & Sort Jewelry
by Sasha t on Jan 09, 2024
The holiday high might be wearing off, but every time you look down at that new exquisite piece of jewelry you received this season, we hope it perks you up again. We want to keep that treasure in tip top shape so it sparkles like the day you received it for generations to come. That’s because here at Jack Weir & Sons, we believe that fine jewelry isn't just an accessory; it's a treasured investment that brings sparkle to our lives and helps us show our loved ones how much we treasure them. However, keeping it as radiant as the day you bought it or received it requires a bit of know-how. Whether it's a family heirloom, a treasured gift or a recent purchase, proper cleaning and storage are key to preserving your jewelry's beauty. This guide provides expert tips on how to clean and store your fine jewelry, ensuring it remains dazzling for years to come.
Understanding Your Jewelry's Needs
What we love about estate jewelry is that it’s been around for decades and is still in beautiful condition. Your antique or vintage jewel will be around for decades in the future, but you need to know how to care for your precious jewelry properly. Before diving into cleaning, it's crucial to understand your jewelry's material. Gold, silver, diamonds, pearls, and gemstones each have specific care requirements. For instance, while diamonds can withstand a more vigorous cleaning, delicate pearls need a gentler approach. A good place to start understanding your jewelry’s needs is by looking at the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
The Mohs Scale of Hardness shows us how delicate each stone is - and gives us a good starting point for understanding care. Diamonds are the hardest stone on the scale, and thus - are most durable for everyday wear. As the stones get softer, their durability gets lessened and more specific care is required to keep them in pristine condition. Below we go into some of the specifics of caring for each step on this scale.
How to Clean Jewelry
Keeping diamonds, the most durable stone, clean and sparkly is actually quite simple - you can use a standard jewelry cleaning procedure: mild dish soap solution with warm water on a soft toothbrush and use a clean cloth to dry.
The toothbrush will help you to clean hard to reach areas of the stones setting and will ensure your diamonds best possible sparkle. We recommend cleaning your ring twice per month using this technique. If you want to go one step further, you can purchase your own ultrasonic machine and various cleaning solutions through amazon. For deep cleaning, visit your local jeweler and ask them to clean your jewel using the ultrasonic machine and a steamer.
After diamonds, rubies and sapphires are the next hardest gemstones, in the 9th position on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, meaning they are incredibly durable - so if you knock them against a countertop once in a while, you should be fine - life happens after all. Because of their similarities to diamonds, you can use the same procedures you would use for diamonds for sapphires and rubies.
Emeralds, aquamarine, topaz, spinel are all the 8th position on the Mohs scale of hardness. This is where cleaning techniques change a bit from diamond care since these stones are naturally softer and more porous.
Since emeralds are naturally porous, they are often treated with oils, resin, and polymers to fill in the gaps on the surface. Unusual heat, like hot tubs, saunas or hot weather can affect emerald’s appearance or cause deterioration - we recommend removing any jewelry with emeralds, aquamarines, etc. before you engage in any activity with unusual heat or dampness. For these stones, you don’t want to use ultrasound or steam machines - soapy warm water with a gentle cloth will do the trick perfectly!
Softer stones like opal, turquoise, lapis lazuli require a lot of care to avoid damage. You should always remove jewelry with these stones before you partake in any kind of more physical activity like gardening, moving furniture or active sports. If you need an easy way to store your jewelry while you’re working out, you can try Ring Bandits. Never use a steamer or ultrasonic cleaner on these gems. Simply wipe these gems with a damp soft cloth. They shouldn’t be soaked or immersed.
These same rules can be used for pearl jewelry as well - in fact, pearls are so delicate and sensitive to acids, ammonia, hairsprays, cosmetics and even sweating tht Pearl connoisseurs say: “put them on last and take them off first”.
If your jewelery doesn’t feature gemstones, you can mix mild soap and warm water and use a soft (baby) toothbrush to gently scrub the surface. After that, rinse it well and dry with a cloth. You can also purchase a special polishing cloth to renew the shine of your jewel at home.
How to Store Jewelry
We know that it’s tough to part with your beloved jewels - even for a few moments, but the safe storage of your jewelry is critical for it’s care. For daily wear, we recommend a small ring dish in the following places - the kitchen sink, your primary bathroom sink, your bedside table and your home gym if you have one. Infusing your own personal style into these ring dishes allows them to fit seamlessly into the decor of your home. When you purchase a ring at Jack Weir and Sons, we provide a beautiful storage box for your piece. This may be a good box to keep at your bedside table. To keep your jewelry as beautiful and safe as possible, we recommend taking your fine jewelry off, especially rings and bracelets, and utilizing these dishes and boxes when you are doing the dishes, cleaning with any strong products and applying any kind of oil or lotions to your body.
To prevent scratches or tangles, store each piece of jewelry separately in a dry, cool place. Moisture and heat can cause damage, especially to delicate stones and metals. We think that soft-lined jewelry boxes or individual pouches are ideal for maintaining the beauty of your piece - and your own sanity (have you ever tried to untangle delicate chains that have somehow melded together?!)
For Home: Quince
For Travel: Calpak
We also suggest periodically checking your jewelry for loose settings or damage so that you can ensure the pieces get fixed or tightened up before you wear them again - the last thing we want is for you to go searching for a lost diamond on a tennis court! Early detection can prevent further deterioration and loss.
Caring for your fine jewelry is a blend of regular cleaning and proper storage. By understanding the specific needs of each piece and following these expert tips, you can ensure your jewelry remains as captivating as it was on day one. Remember, the way you care for your jewelry is as important as the moments they commemorate.
At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preserve history, and discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people celebrate their special moments through one-of-a-kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, we've donated $125,000. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.
We offer in-person and Virtual Appointments and are happy to answer any questions about your favorite jewel.