Jewellery Maintenance

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Jewellery Maintenance

Maintenance and repair of your jewellery

All jewellery should be cleaned periodically.

Ensure that pieces are repaired using the appropriate materials.

Many good jewels have been ruined by the use of lead solder, which is cheaper than silver or gold solder and easier to use because lead has a much lower melting point. Solder should match the metal of the setting wherever possible, as repairs are less noticeable. Lead solder should only be used in certain circumstances – for instance when the delicacy of a piece requires very low temperatures.

– Beads, especially pearls, should be restrung periodically, with knots between each bead. Knots not only hold the beads together if the string breaks, but also prevent them from rubbing against each other and becoming barrel-shaped.

– Links and clasps on chains and necklaces should be checked for wear. If a link or clasp is very worn a chain could easily break.

– Settings are prone to wear and should be examined periodically to ensure that pieces are not in danger of breaking. Claws on gem-set jewels are especially susceptible to wear, and if they break off or wear away completely, stones can fall out. Worn claws can be retipped or replaced.

 

Cleaning

 

Jewellery that is worn will collect dirt and oils, and these can corrode or discolour materials if left uncleaned. For jewellery that does not incorporate organic materials, the best and easiest way to clean is by lowering pieces into a jewellery dip. You can make your own solution of warm water and a little mild detergent such as dishwashing liquid. The pieces are soaked in the cleaning liquid and a small brush is provided to remove stubborn dirt. When brushing away dirt on gem-set jewellery, be careful not to pop out gemstones or bend claws. Hollow jewellery that has been immersed in liquid should be left out to dry before storing. Dry pieces carefully, using a fine silk cloth or air from a hairdryer on a cool setting. Organic materials such as pearls should be wiped regularly to clean off body acids and pollution.

  • Pearls should be washed periodically in a very weak soap and water solution, but they must be unstrung. Therefore, the best time to have them cleaned is while they are being restrung (though you must ask, as it is not done automatically), Do not allow pearl strings to get wet-they might rot as a result.
  • Silver tarnishes fairly easily and therefore may need regular polishing and cleaning. The more frequently you wear silver jewellery, however, the less it has a chance to tarnish.
  • Take important pieces to a jeweller who specializes in cleaning jewellery.
  • Cleaning is worthwhile because it helps to keep jewellery in good condition and looking its best.