Cleaning jewelry at home can be risky business. Let’s take a look at some examples of jewelry that require cautious handling:
- Organic Stones and Materials: Beware of materials like pearl, ivory, bone, coral, wood, leather, cord, or string. These delicate components should never be exposed to harsh detergents, soaked in liquids, or subjected to ultrasonic cleaning. They have a tendency to absorb fluids, leading to permanent damage or stains.
- Antique or Rare Artist Jewelry: Leave the polishing and cleaning of these treasures to the professionals. DIY attempts can potentially destroy the patina and compromise the integrity of these unique pieces.
- Coins: Non-professionals should avoid attempting to polish and clean coins. Improper handling can diminish their value and historical significance.
- Gemstones Requiring Caution: Certain gemstones, such as Emerald, Opal, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, and organic stones, possess specific vulnerabilities. These stones may have natural oils or porous properties that can be disturbed by detergents or absorb moisture. Exercise care when dealing with them.
- Chemical Exposure: Be wary of chemical exposure, as it can have disastrous effects on your jewelry. Chlorine-based cleaners can dissolve jewelry entirely, leaving only the stones behind. Constant exposure to pool chlorine can also corrode the solders used in jewelry making. Even a small bead of mercury from a broken thermometer can contaminate gold, turning it white and rendering other jewelry useless. As a general rule, if a household product contains acids, lye, or chemicals that are harmful to you, it’s best to avoid using them on your jewelry.
- Plated Metals: When dealing with plated metals, exercise caution. Abrasive compounds used for polishing can wear away the plating layer, revealing the underlying metals. This can result in variations in color or tarnishing over time.
Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your precious jewelry. If in doubt, consult a professional jeweler who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific pieces.
LLW Jewelry has been providing quality jewelry cleaning in NYC for over 30 years!