CARE FOR SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES
Most stones are more or less brittle, many are quite soft,
and some can be damaged by heat, vibration, or chemicals. Following are
a few tips on how to care for your prized possessions:
Stones that have a Mohs hardness of less than 8 are highly subject
to scratching; harder stones are less likely to be scratched but are
still subject to chipping and fracture. Remember that quartz, with a
hardness of 7, is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, in the
form of sand, or silica. When removing dust from soft stones, it's
usually best to rinse them with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
Also, store jewelry and loose gems in separate padded compartments or
wrapped in soft lint-free cloth to prevent scratching, chipping, and
When cleaning non-porous gemstones, washing gently with a weak
solution of ammonia, rinsing with clean lukewarm water, and drying with
a soft lint-free cloth is quite effective and safe. Just be sure to plug
the sink so you don't wash your stones down the drain! On stones harder
than quartz (Moh's hardness of 7), it's safe to do a little gentle
scrubbing with a soft toothbrush, but if you're cleaning jewelry, be
careful not to scrub highly polished metal surfaces, as the slight
abrasive action of the brush will produce slightly hazy effects on the
metal. A little soaking may be necessary to remove heavier deposits.
Pearls, coral, and porous stones such as opal, turquoise, or
malachite should be kept away from dirty water and oils to avoid
discoloration. Wipe them gently with a soft, damp cloth. Do not wear
rings containing these stones while washing dishes or similar
Be cautious about the use of ultrasonic cleaners. Some stones are
subject to internal stress -- tanzanite, opal, emerald, organic gems
(such as pearl, coral, and amber), turquoise, lapis, and malachite, any
stone containing major inclusions, and most collector gems should not be
exposed to ultrasound. Tanzanite has been known to shatter and opals to
craze under ultrasound. Most emeralds and many rubies are "oiled" or
resin-impregnated, and ultrasound may remove the treatment or expand
existing fractures. If you are not absolutely SURE it's safe, don't put
your stones in ultrasound!
Most stones should never be exposed to extreme heat or sudden
changes in temperature. Opal, pearls, coral, amber, turquoise, and many
collector gems are quite heat sensitive (both to extremes and to sudden
changes in temperature). Do not leave them sitting in hot sunlight, near
radiators, or in hot cars. Once an opal begins to craze, it's usually
Brittle and soft stones should not be used in jewelry subject to
hard wear, such as rings that are worn constantly. They are much safer
in earrings, pins, pendants, or perhaps bracelets. They can be used in
rings that are worn occasionally, such as dinner rings, but the setting
should be designed to protect the stone as much as possible. Even though
opals are popular in rings, it is a very hazardous use for them.
CARE OF PEARLS
Pearls are very soft and need special care. They should never be
tossed on top of or next to other gems in a jewelry box. Store them
separately in a jewelry pouch.
Some women's skin have more acid than others. If a pearl necklace is
regularly worn, as it should be, some of the pearls will constantly be
in close contact with the woman's skin on her neck at the shoulder line.
Pearl pendants do not always have such constant contact with a woman's
skin. The pearls in the necklace will gradually absorb acid from the
skin and the acid will slowly eat into the spherical pearl. Over time
the pearl will not only lose its luster, but will become barrel-shaped.
You can slow this process by wiping the pearls with a soft cloth after
Besides being soft, pearls are easily damaged by chemicals like
perfume, vinegar and lemon juice. Heat can turn pearls brown or dry them
out and make them crack. Dry air can also damage pearls. Most safe
deposit vaults have very dry air and can damage pearls.
When taking off a pearl ring, grasp the shank, or metal part, rather
than the pearl. This will prevent the pearl from loosening and coming
into contact with skin oil on your hand.
Because of their delicate nature, special care must be taken
Only use: Jewelry cleaners
labeled as safe for pearls.
Never: Use an ultrasonic
Never: Steam-clean pearls.
Never: Use (or expose pearls) to
dish or wash detergents, bleaches, powdered cleansers, baking soda, or
ammonia-based cleaners (like Windex).
Never: Use toothbrushes,
scouring pads or abrasive materials to clean pearls.
Do not: Wear pearls when their
string is wet. Wet strings stretch and attract dirt, which is hard to
Do not: Hang pearls to dry.
Take your pearls off: When
applying cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume, or when showering or
Avoid: Wearing pearls with rough
fabrics like Shetland wool.
After you wear pearls, just wipe them off with a soft cloth or
chamois, which may be dry or damp. This will prevent dirt from
accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from
eating away at the pearl nacre. You can even use a drop of olive oil on
the cloth to help maintain their luster.
If pearls have not been kept clean and are very dirty, they can be
cleaned by your jewelers or they can be cleaned using special pearl
cleaner. Pearl Oasis sells pearl-safe jewelry cleaner. Be careful using
other types of jewelry cleaner or soap. Some liquid soaps, such as Dawn,
can damage pearls. Pay attention to the areas around the drill holes
where dirt may tend to collect.
After washing your pearls, lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to
dry. When the towel is dry, your pearls should be dry.
Many jewelers will clean your pearls free of charge, and they'll be
happy to answer your questions about the care of your jewelry
CARE FOR PRECIOUS & SEMI-PRECIOUS
Types of Jewelry:
Solid Gold: Pure gold is 24kt
(or 24 karat), however it is extremely soft. Most pieces of solid gold
are sold in 18kt, 14kt, or 10kt. This allows the metal to still contain
the benefits of solid gold yet the durability to last generations
Gold Filled: Gold filled jewelry
is the next best jewelry to solid gold. Gold filled jewelry is
manufactured by laminating a sheet of gold over a base metal. The total
amount of gold must be at least 5% of the total weight of the piece.
Most pieces we sell are 18kt gold over sterling silver. Gold filled
jewelry will last for many years and is a good quality metal. For many
individuals, the piece will last a lifetime. For those who perhaps
perspire more than average or wear the piece everyday and in the shower,
the gold may eventually wear away leaving the base metal exposed.
Gold Plated: Gold plated jewelry
has less quality then gold filled jewelry. Although there are many
different processes of gold plating, basically gold plated jewelry has a
thin layer of gold on top of a base metal. Electroplated pieces have at
least 7 millionths of an inch of gold on significant surfaces. Gold
plated items do not carry the same quality as solid gold or gold filled
Brass: Brass is an alloy of
copper and zinc, normally containing 2/3 copper and 1/3 zinc.
Sterling Silver: When a metal is
designated as sterling silver, then it minimally 92.5% pure silver. Such
high quality silver will tarnish. Routine cleaning is essential to
maintaining the luster of pure silver. Most sterling silver pendants
have a “Sterling” or “925” stamp on the back to signify the quality.
CARE OF JEWELRY
Gold: Mix mild soap, water, and
a drop of ammonia and wipe with a clean soft cloth. For gold-plated and
gold-filled pieces, be sure to use non-abrasive cleaning materials. If a
cleaning substance is too strong it may remove the gold.
Sterling Silver: All Sterling
silver will oxidize and tarnish unless finished with a protective layer.
Many of our medals are protected with a layer of rhodium to help prevent
tarnishing. However over time this coating may breakdown. Commercial
dips or polish will restore the original color and luster. However, much
of the time this can be accomplished by mixing mild soap, water, and a
drop of ammonia and wipe with a clean soft cloth. Never use vinegar.
Pewter: Pewter can be cleaned
much the same as Sterling silver. However, pewter will never clean to
the same shine as sterling silver since pewter is naturally a little
duller of a metal.
Stainless Steel: Simply moisten
a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean.
Brass: Most conventional
polishes coat the raw metal with a thin film of oil to help inhibit
future tarnishing. Additionally, most metal polishes contain solvents
and detergents to remove the tarnish, mild abrasives to polish the
metal, and oils to act as a barrier between the raw metal and air. Note
that brass can turn black when cleaning due to over-use and misuse of