CARING FOR GEMSTONES GENERALLY
Gemstones are classified by hardness from 1 to 10 on Mohs Scale
The most durable gemstones for jewellery have a hardness of 7 or more. Gemstones with a hardness below 7 are easily scratched - eg opal, moonstone, labradorite, pearl, amber, turquoise, lapis, kyanite, fluorite, apatite, onyx and prehnite. In particular, these gemstones should not be left in direct sunlight, hot or humid conditions and you should avoid getting them wet, particularly the porous stones.
Emerald and kyanite are very brittle so they must not receive any hard knocks as they are easily fractured.
Other harder gemstones such as amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, rose quartz, topaz, and smoky quartz can fade in direct sunlight.
Other simple precautions should be taken in caring for your gemstone jewellery. Always remove jewellery when engaging in activities that risk any knock or exposure to chemicals, such as housework, gardening or sport. Always put on jewellery after using any makeup, hairspray or perfumes. Wipe your jewellery with a soft lint free cloth to remove any natural body oils.
Non-porous hard gemstones can be cleaned with lukewarm water mixed with a tiny amount of ‘Fairy Liquid’ or equivalent and gently scrubbed with a soft toothbrush. Jewellery should be stored separately in pouches, to avoid stones coming into contact with harder materials that could damage the surface, and to keep them away from light sources.
CARING FOR PEARLS
As pearls are an organic gem from a living organism and made of relatively soft calcium carbonate, some care is needed to keep your pearls in optimum condition.
The surface of a pearl can be damaged and dulled by perfume, hairspray, cosmetics, hand and face creams, and occasionally a person’s natural skin oil, if it is particularly acidic. To minimize contact with any potential irritant, pearls should be the last accessory to put on and the first one to be taken off. As pearls like a little moisture, being worn regularly is good for them as it gives them a chance to breathe.
Pearls should be stored away from any heat source as this will dry out the pearls and cause discolouration. Pearls should be stored away from other jewellery, to prevent any surface scratching to the nacre. They are ideally stored in a silk jewellery pouch.
Your pearls can be cleaned with a soft damp cloth to wipe off any body oils, before being put away. No chemicals should be used, not even mild detergent. Occasionally, your pearls can be buffed with a silk cloth to enhance their lustre.
CARING FOR TURQUOISE AND SOFTER GEMSTONES
As turquoise is a porous stone and with a hardness of 5.5 – 6.0 on Mohs’ scale, some care is needed to keep your turquoise in good condition.
Turquoise can be discoloured by perfume, hairspray, cosmetics, hand and face creams and a person’s natural skin oil. To minimize this problem, your turquoise jewellery should be put on after applying any cosmetics.
Due to its porous nature, turquoise should not be immersed in water and should be kept away from sources of heat and bright sunlight to avoid discolouration and surface damage. As turquoise is a relatively soft gemstone, particular care should be taken with rings and bracelets, to avoid any hard knocks. Turquoise should be put away on its own, away from harder gemstones or other materials that could cause scratching.
Turquoise can be cleaned by wiping with a warm, damp cloth and then dried immediately with a soft cloth.
CARE OF PRECIOUS METALS
Detergents and Chemicals can damage your silver and gold, even salt water and especially chlorinated water. Therefore we recommend that you remove all your jewellery before bathing, swimming or cleaning, and don’t put it back on until after all the lotions, potions and perfumes have been applied.
If you do get your jewellery wet, we recommend that you polish with a soft cloth to remove any tarnish causing elements.
Both Silver and Gold are relatively soft metals, if worn whilst gardening, doing D.I.Y or pursuing any outdoor activities, it is likely you will damage your jewellery, it's best to take it off if you are unsure.
You may find that over time, your Silver jewellery becomes tarnished (discoloured), lots of things can cause this, the most common being oils, foods, rubber, wool, felt and even sweat.
You can prevent the tarnish building up by buffing your jewellery with a polishing cloth regularly, a deeper clean can be achieved with a washing detergent and a soft bristle brush. If this is all just too much, most jewellers offer a professional cleaning service.
When you are not wearing your jewellery, it is best to store each item separately wrapped in a soft cloth or acid-free tissue, so that they don’t end up damaging each other.
Gold Vermeil and Plated Jewellery requires the same degree of care as your solid precious metal items.
If you'd like to know more you can start the ball rolling with an initial call to Julie at our Walton on Thames Studio on 01932 918189
or get in touch HERE