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Learning Lounge: Jewellery Care

|Diamonds| |Karat Gold| |Cultured Pearls| |Coloured Gemstones| |Watch Care|

Jewellery Care

The Jewel Box and the Canadian Jewellers Association are pleased to offer the following tips on the care and cleaning of your fine jewellery.


  • Don't wear your diamond when you're playing sports or doing rough work.
  • Don't let your diamond come in contact with strong chlorine bleach. It won't hurt the diamond, but it can pit or discolour the mounting.
  • Don't jumble your diamond pieces in a jewel case. They can scratch other jewellery and each other. Place them in a small plastic bag, a pouch or wrap in tissue paper.
  • Do see your jeweller at least once a year to have your precious jewellery checked for loose prongs and any signs of wear. S/he will usually give them a professional "shine up" at the same time.

Cleaning Your Diamonds
Diamonds get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds (especially at the back), making them look somewhat dull and lifeless. Here are four ways to clean your diamonds and keep them their brilliant best:

  • Detergent Bath - Prepare a small bowl of lukewarm suds using any mild liquid detergent and water. Brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush or soft toothbrush while they are in the suds, then rinse them under running water. Pat dry with a soft lintless cloth.
  • Cold Water Soak - Make a half-and-half solution of cold water and household ammonia in a cup. Soak the diamond pieces 30 minutes. Gently brush with an old soft toothbrush and swish in the solution once more. Rinse and dry as mentioned before.
  • Quick-Dip Method - Buy one of the brand name liquid jewellery cleaners with its kit, choosing the kind most useful to you. Read the label and follow its instructions. Don't touch your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle jewellery by its edges.
  • Ultrasonic Cleaner - This is a small machine consisting of a cup which you fill with water and mild detergent. When turned on, a high-frequency turbulence creates the cleaning action. Read the instructions for the machine very carefully before use.

Karat Gold Jewellery
Always separate your gold jewellery to prevent scratching. Wrap in a tissue or place in a small clean plastic bag or pouch.
Remove all jewellery before showering or cleaning. Soap can leave a film on gold, making it look dull.

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Cleaning your karat gold jewellery
Ask your professional jeweller to recommend a commercial cleaner or make your own solution:
Make a mixture of soapy water (mild detergent) and a few drops of ammonia, then brush your gold jewellery with an old soft toothbrush. Rinse. Finally, dip into rubbing alcohol to remove all traces of soap or grease and pat dry with a soft, lintless cloth.

Cultured Pearls
Treat pearls gently. Never toss them carelessly into a purse or jewel box. Keep them separate from other jewellery as pearls can easily get scratched. Put on your pearls after applying cosmetics, hairsprays and perfume as these can be quite harmful to their lustre. Bring your pearls back to your jeweller for restringing about once a year. Your jeweller will have them strung with a knot between each pearl, to prevent loss should the string break. Cleaning your cultured pearls Use only very mild soap and water solution to clean your pearls and brush gently with a very soft old toothbrush. Rinse and let them air dry naturally. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, all chemicals and abrasives.

Coloured Gemstomes
With so many different types of coloured gemstones available, your professional jeweller can guide you on the care and cleaning of your specific gemstone. Here are a few tips:

Lapis-lazuli, turquoise, ivory and amber should never be in contact with a cleaning solution containing any type of bleach, ammonia or other strong chemicals.

Certain gemstones should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner because they could be damaged. These include: amber, aquamarine, emerald, ivory, jet, lapis-lazuli, malachite, moonstone, opal, pearl, peridot, rhodonite, shell, (cameos), turquoise, tanzanite, zircon, and any imitation stones. Opals can be safely cleaned in mild soapy lukewarm water. It is a popular misconception that "oiling" will increase an opal's longevity

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Watch Care

It is a good idea to remove your watch from your wrist before winding it to avoid breakage. Always wind a watch in the morning so it has maximum motion to resist knocks encountered in normal wear. Have the battery in a quartz watch changed immediately after it runs out as dead batteries left in the watch can leak and ruin it. Never attempt to change the battery yourself, take it to your watchmaker or jeweller who can provide this service.

If your watch is not water-resistant, be careful to keep it dry. Avoid exposing it to all types of moisture

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