Jewellery care tips

Apply scents and lotions before putting on your jewellery. Over time, moisturisers can build up a film on your pieces and leave them looking lackluster. Only put your jewellery on when your skin is dry and any products have been absorbed by the skin.

Sunscreen can compromise the integrity of stringing silk. Be mindful of strung necklaces and bracelets.

It is recommended to remove jewellery when having a shower or bath, and particularly when swimming in the sea or in chlorinated water. If contact with water or chlorine cannot be avoided, rinse your jewellery with lukewarm water. Mild soap may be added.

Sun and sand can take their toll on metals and gemstones. Sand is comprised of silica, the same substance used to make glass. It can cause scratching and abrasions.

Sweat and metals are not a good combination — sterling silver, for example, can turn black after prolonged exposure to natural body oils. Remove your jewellery when exercising.

Take care not to knock your jewellery on hard surfaces such as door handles or table tops as the metal may dent and gemstones can crack or chip.

 

Storage

Store jewellery away from sunlight as the sun may fade some gemstones. To protect your pieces, place them individually in soft fabric pouches or in a lined box. Try to keep items apart so that they do not rub together or become tangled. Fasten the clasps of necklaces. Oriole Designs offers a variety of protective pouches for rings and necklaces.

 

Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy made of 925 of 1000 parts silver and additional metals. As pure silver is too soft for everyday wear, copper is normally used to add strength, at the same time preserving the ductility of the metal.

Clean your silver jewellery in warm soapy water, ensuring that it is rinsed thoroughly and dried before storing. Alternatively, polish your silver jewellery with a soft cloth.

Silver tarnishes naturally through contact with air and humidity. To reduce oxidation, keep your silver jewellery in a pouch or box, protecting it from the air.

 

Gold

The fineness of gold is given in karat – pure gold being 24 karat (i.e. 999 of 1,000 parts are gold). Containing no oxides, pure gold is the only precious metal that will not tarnish. However, pure gold is too soft for jewellery. Yellow gold, for example, is thus alloyed with silver and copper. 18k (yellow) gold is marked 750 as it consists of 750 of 1,000 parts gold.

Gold should be cleaned regularly in order to maintain its beauty and patina. Using a soft, lint-free cloth is an effective way to keep gold jewellery looking shiny and lustrous.  Store your gold jewellery in protective pouches.

 

Gemstones

Gemstone hardness is based on a standard called the Mohs scale: the higher the scale number, the harder the stone. The Mohs hardness of pearls, for instance, is 2.5-4.5, onyx and peridot are classified as 6.5-7, amethyst, citrine and quartz as 7, rubies as 9 and diamonds as 10.

Gemstones at hardness 7 and above can be cleaned with warm water, mild soap and a soft brush or sponge. For gemstones categorised below 7, use a soft, damp cloth. A soft polishing cloth is also useful to dry off jewels. Tissue or paper towels can cause scratching.

All gemstones are susceptible to damage by chemicals, water, and even sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sun rays may cause certain gemstones (such as amethyst, aquamarine, beryl, citrine, rose quartz and smoky quartz) to become paler.

 

Pearls

As an organic material, pearls are much softer than most other gemstones. Even though the concentric formation of the layers makes them structurally very strong and shock-resistant, they may become scratched through contact with sharp objects or other gemstones.

Protect your pearls from extremes of heat, sunlight and dryness (however, pearls need a little moisture so that they will not dry out).

After wear it is best to wipe pearls with a slightly damp soft cloth using water only to remove any residual perspiration or perfume which can otherwise eat away at the nacre.

Don’t wear pearls while they are wet – the silk they are strung on may stretch. For the same reason, never hang a strand of pearls out to dry; lay them flat on a soft cloth instead. Wait until the pearls and the silk are completely dry before you put them away.

Always store your pearls wrapped in a soft cloth or pouch and protected from all abrasive objects.

Wear your pearls. As an organic material they react well to the natural oils in your skin and will maintain their lustre.

Have your pearl necklace re-strung every few years.