Gemstones, Birthstones, Gemstone Jewelry


Caring for Your Jewelry

Jewelry is an important investment that one makes. That is why your jewelry needs proper care so that it remains as beautiful as ever.

Caring for your diamond jewelry

Even your most valued diamonds are not resistant to all kinds of damages. They need proper care. However, before learning how to care for your diamond jewelry it is important to understand the concept of durability.

Durability is the ability of a gemstone to withstand wear and tear, heat and chemicals. It basically consists of three components - Hardness, Toughness and Stability.

Hardness - It is the ability to resist scratches and abrasions. It measures how well a gem can resist scratches from another gemstone or when it comes in contact with sharp surfaces. Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. They score a 10 on Moh’s scale of hardness.

Being the hardest mineral, diamonds will not get scratched by other gems but they can scratch other diamonds. They can also scratch other gemstones and even metal.

Toughness – It is a measure of how well a gem can resist chipping, cracking or breaking. Diamonds are tougher at places where atoms are tightly bound together, less tough where atoms are not tightly bonded. A diamond cutter can easily cleave a diamond by hitting at the cleavage points. Even after the cutting is done, a hard blow can cause a diamond to chip when being worn.

The toughness of a gem is also related to the shape and cut of a diamond. Diamonds such as marquise or pear shaped that have pointed ends are more prone to damage if they are not well protected by prongs in the setting.

Stability – It describes how well a diamond resists thermal changes and chemicals. Diamonds are very stable. Thermal shocks can sometimes cause cleavage or fractures. Fire and even jewelers torch can sometimes burn diamonds and make them look white and cloudy. However, re-polishing can get rid of burn marks and restore a diamonds’ beauty.

Storing your diamond jewelry

Diamonds can easily scratch other gemstones and metals. Thus it is important that one stores one’s diamond jewelry separately.

Caring tips for diamond jewelry

  • Diamonds have an affinity for oil and grease and hence they tend to get dirty. The easiest way to clean your diamond jewelry at home is with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Dip your jewelry into the solution and clean it with the help of a soft toothbrush.
  • One should avoid wearing diamond jewelry when doing any kind of intensive physical work. A hard blow can cause breakage or chipping to a diamond.
  • One should periodically get one’s diamond jewelry examined by professionals. With time, the setting tends to become loose.
  • One could also use ultra sonic cleaners to clean diamonds. Ultra sonic cleaners are safe for most diamonds but they can damage the ones with fracture filling.
  • One should inspect jewelry before wearing. And, if one does spot any kind of damage such as loose prong, broken prong or missing stone, it should be immediately brought to professional attention.
  • Chlorine bleach can cause pits in gold alloys. People who swim a lot should keep this in mind as pitting can weaken the metal and can also cause loosening of the gem.

Caring tips for gemstone jewelry

  • All gemstone jewelry should be stored separately as harder gemstones can scratch the softer ones. Almost all gems are harder than the metal that they are set in. Gems can scratch the surface of gold, silver and platinum.
  • The best and the easiest way to clean your gemstone jewelry (except pearls) is with lukewarm water, mild soap and soft toothbrush. One should avoid wearing gemstone jewelry when doing intensive physical work.
  • Jewelry should be periodically examined by a professional, so that if there are any loose settings, or any other problems, they can be taken care of.

Sapphire and Ruby Jewelry – Both sapphire and ruby display excellent hardness. Ultra sonic and steam cleaning are generally safe for their cleaning.

Emerald jewelry – Emeralds usually have fractures that are filled with oil and resins. Boiling or ultra sonic cleaning can damage the filling and hence should be avoided. Emeralds should not be exposed to extreme temperatures as it can damage the oil treatment given to them, making them vulnerable to cracks and breakage.

Tanzanite – Ultrasonic cleaners are not to be used with tanzanites as they can cause them to crack. Tanzanites are also sensitive to sudden temperature changes. They get damaged with hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids and hence their use is to be avoided.

Aquamarine – Never boil them. Use ultrasonic cleaner only after checking for inclusions. Acids can cause damage to an aquamarine, especially hydrofluoric acid.

Caring tips for Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are more delicate than other gems and thus they need special care.

  • To clean pearl jewelry, wipe them with dry or damp lint free cloth. If damp, allow the pearls to dry before wearing them.
  • Pearls should be stored separately. Contact with other jewelry can easily scratch pearls. • Chemicals can damper the luster of a pearl. Thus always apply make-up, cream, hairspray, etc. before wearing pearls.
  • Avoid perfumes when wearing pearl jewelry.
  • Never use Ultra sonic cleaners with pearls.
  • Never use toothbrush or abrasive material to clean pearls.
  • Pearl jewelry such as necklaces or bracelets should be restrung periodically.
  • Never use detergent, baking soda, bleaches or ammonia based cleaner to clean pearl jewelry.