Most of us own jewellery or sentimental or valuable items that are made out of metals. These articles can hold a lot of importance for a number of different reasons and can be kept and displayed indefinitely. They can however lose their appeal or become a haven for bacteria and germs if they are not looked after sufficiently. Like most other things, they need cleaning.
Many of us wear jewellery on a daily basis and are unaware of how dirty these items can become. Skin cells, germs and other nasties can collect very easily in the tiny crevices that are found on many pieces of jewellery. These items can normally be cleaned quite sufficiently using warm soapy water. It may be useful to use a soft toothbrush to help loosen and remove deposits found in the smaller areas. It is advisable to do this cleaning in a bowl or with the plug in if using a sink. This is because precious stones may loosen from their settings over the years and can displace or fall out whilst cleaning. Though it is unlikely, it is always best to prevent the loss of a stone and take precautions as necessary. Most of the common gemstones can be satisfactorily cleaned in this manner, though if you are unsure, please consult your local jeweller for advice. Many jewellers own machines called ‘ultrasonic’ tanks which use special cleaning agents and movement to help clean jewellery if you would prefer to use this method; some even offer them as purchasable items. Also available are pots of special lotions designed especially for cleaning jewellery, though these can be expensive and may have no additional benefits than clean water and mild soap.
Gold jewellery withstands the test of time very well, and good quality gold will not normally need much cleaning unless it is visibly soiled. Again it is advised that warm soapy water is used, with the help of a soft toothbrush if needed. There are certain chemicals that can be used to clean gold such as chlorine based products, but if this usage can be avoided, do so as it may contribute to cracks appearing in the metal. Always remember to check the quality of your gold as it may be of a lower carat than you had thought or may even be an alternative yellow metal. If you are in any doubt, consult your jeweller who will be able to advise.
Silver items tarnish very easily and often when exposed to the air. This damage is not permanent and can be removed very easily using a number of products available in the shops. Most supermarkets and jewellers stock cleaning products especially for the restoration of silver which often require an application of fluid followed by the removal and final polish of the item. This will work better than by using soap and water unless the item is a small piece of jewellery in which case removal of the product and polishing will not be easily achieved.
Like gold, platinum is a very good quality metal and will not need much looking after. Often soapy water followed by a polish will be adequate to achieve cleanliness. If necessary, an ‘ultrasonic’ device can be used to help dislodge any debris that has accumulated in any links or small areas.
Jewellery and items made from precious metals, if looked after and maintained can be kept for many many years. These items usually require minimal maintenance and when necessary can be cleaned very easily.