Care and Cleaning of Jewelry

Cultured Pearls

More delicate than other gemstones and precious metals, cultured pearls need special care to ensure they will remain clean, bright and lustrous for generations to come. Cosmetics, perfume and hair spray all contain elements that may dull the luster of a pearl. Even acids present in the body oils and perspiration may have a damaging effect.

Here are a few suggestions that will surely help preserve the beauty of cultured pearls:

1. Pearls should be put on after the application of makeup, perfume or hair spray. After they are worn, a soft, damp cloth may be used to wipe them free of any of these harmful elements. Cultured pearls should be washed periodically with a mild soap.

2. Cultured pearls must be kept away from hard or sharp jewelry items that could scratch them. Pearls are best stored in a soft cloth pouch, or a separately lined segment of a jewelry box.

3. Body oils and cosmetics also can damage the silk or nylon thread on which the pearls are strung. If the pearls are worn often, it is best to have them restrung by your local jeweler once a year to avoid strand breakage.

4. To prevent all the pearls from coming loose should a strand break, make sure the string is knotted between every pearl. Individual knotting also protects the pearls by keeping them from rubbing against each other.

Diamonds - Gold

Gems and precious metals are gifts of nature, which need special care. Even though a gem may be millions of years old, once mined and worn, it is exposed to conditions and chemicals that can damage it.

The harder the gem, the less vulnerable it is to potential damage. A diamond, for example, is the hardest gem known to man, and that's one reason why "it is forever."

Hardness is based on a gem-trade standard called the Mohs Scale, developed in the early 19th century. The scale is structured so that material rated at each higher number can scratch substances with lower numbers. Diamonds are rated the highest, at 10; rubies and sapphires are Mohs 9; emeralds and topaz, 8; and garnets, tourmalines and quartz, 7. Anything softer than a 7 can be scratched, including opal, turquoise, lapis lazuli, coral, pearl.

Gold, silver, and platinum are only Mohs 2-1/2 to 4, which means that they require special care when wearing, storing, or cleaning.

Jewelry Do's and Don'ts

This information provided by: Jewelers of America.