Click on any of the links below to take you to additional information about the subject listed. Please don't hesitate to call or drop us a note if you have any more questions.

  Diamonds   Gold   Platinum   Colored Gems   Wedding Jewelry   Wax Casting   Care & Cleaning  

One of the most important things you can do for your fine jewelry is to have is professionally checked, yearly if possible. Sometimes a jeweler, armed with a 10 power loupe, can see problems before they get out of hand. Prongs that are worn, or even missing, can be repaired before a stone falls out. Gems can be tightened or straightened, and clasps that are wearing thin can be replaced. ItÕs usually easier and less costly to catch a potential problem at this point than after the damage is done. During this visit, cleaning your jewelry is a good idea too, especially since the best results come from the jewelry workshop. But IÕll give you some options to use at home, too. HereÕs the breakdown, along with some tips on caring for your fine jewelry.

Diamonds have an affinity for grease, but what keeps them from looking dull faster is a diamondÕs ability to reflect light so well. Eventually, though, they need to be cleaned. The most effective method is a professional ultrasonic cleaner (the ones purchased for home use are less efficient). YouÕre welcome anytime to bring in your diamond jewelry to the shop for cleaning, which takes just a moment (and I like to take a moment to check the settings first to make sure the stones are secure).

The next best thing is to clean them at home. This low tech method seems to work just fine: place diamond jewelry in very hot water mixed with a little dishwashing detergent, let it soak and, before the water gets cool, toothbrush the piece (especially in back of the stone). Diamonds can take a lot of heat, so donÕt worry about the temperature of the water. You may need to repeat the process if it hasnÕt been cleaned in a while. The key here is to do it often so that hand soap, lotion, etc. donÕt get a chance to build up and harden over time.

As far as caring for your diamond goes, diamonds are the hardest gem, so itÕs unlikely that it might get scratched. But diamonds are not the toughest gem. A sharp blow in the right place can result in a chip, or even crack. ItÕs best not to wear a ring with a diamond set in prongs when gardening or playing in that volleyball tournament.

Some of the same things apply here as they did for diamonds, with a few exceptions. Many gems cannot be safely ultrasonically cleaned; emerald, opals, and tanzanite are three. Most jewelers will know which ones can be cleaned this way. Almost all gems can take a warm soapy water bath and a little help from a toothbrush. Gems have different levels of durability. In general, try to store your jewelry so the items donÕt touch each other and possibly scratch over time. And be sure not to wear rings or bracelets during an activity where you think they could be harmed.

Cultured pearls are organic and very soft, and need extra care. Whether set in precious metal or strung on as a strand, they can only be cleaned with mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If theyÕre strung, dry them well too. A strand thatÕs worn often will probably need to be restrung every couple of years. Silk is the best ÒthreadÓ, and knotting is recommended for three reasons: if the strand ever breaks you wonÕt have to search the floor for rolling pearls, knots keep the pearls from rubbing against each other and wearing down, and they look better! Try always to apply perfume, cosmetics, and hair spray before putting on pearl jewelry since they will eventually damage the surface of the pearl. And even more important than it is with colored gems: be sure not to store other jewelry in contact with your pearls. Tiny scratches will dull their lustrous surface.

Platinum is so easy to care for. ItÕs a very durable, strong, and dense metal which will not wear down in time like gold (thatÕs why itÕs my first choice for prongs in rings). And platinum is harder to scratch. (For this reason, itÕs also harder to polish. We use special polishing compounds and equipment specifically designed for platinum.) ItÕs also hypoallergenic, doesnÕt tarnish, and isnÕt affected by most chemicals.

Gold is another wonderful jewelry metal, but needs a little more care than platinum. One important thing most people are not aware of is its susceptibility to weakening from chlorine. Keep your gold away from chlorine bleach and cleaners with chlorine, and if at all possible remove before entering a pool or hot tub. Sometimes gold will tarnish a bit in recessed areas over time. This can easily be removed by a jeweler. Another tip that will keep your jewelry looking at its best longer is to remove it before showering or cleaning. All soaps leave a residue which builds up in time, and some of them harden like a rock! But I always add a practical note here: if you think thereÕs a chance of misplacing or losing your jewelry if you take it off this often, just leave it on. Dull jewelry is better than missing jewelry. And the residue can usually be removed with an ultrasonic cleaner when you make that trip to the shop. Chains and pendants will last longer of not worn to bed, especially flat or somewhat stiff chains which can kink. And fine chains can be clasped shut and stored (preferably hanging) so they donÕt tangle. As with gems, gold jewelry can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a toothbrush. If you want to restore the shine and canÕt get to the jewelerÕs, itÕs sometimes possible to brighten it a little with a Òrouge clothÓ which is a soft fabric impregnated with polishing compound.

Silver, with its own unique look, is the softest of the three precious metals and will scratch much more easily. It also tarnishes very quickly. An easy preventative is to place each piece in its own mini zip lock bag (we can give you as many as you like) to keep it from being re-exposed to air. Also, there are some commercial cleaners that remove tarnish very well. But they wonÕt polish silver. For that you need that handy jeweler (or a rouge cloth). All of the precautions I discussed under ÒGoldÓ apply here too.