Preserving and caring for your most precious possessions should always be in the back of your mind. Heirlooms are meant to be treasured, and repair work can cost almost as much as a new piece. With these easy jewelry care instructions, you’ll keep your fine jewelry and Mokume Gane in fine shape for generations to come!
How to Store Your Jewelry
When you aren’t wearing your jewelry, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark area. A velvet-padded jewelry box is ideal for storage, as are the pouches and cases provided by the fine jeweler from whom you purchase the piece. Not only does this keep jewelry in good condition, but jewelry isn’t likely to be scratched or lost.
Regular Maintenance is Key
If you spot a prong or a clasp that isn’t totally intact, cease wearing it until it can be fixed by a professional. There’s no use losing a stone or an entire piece due to oversight. Every six months, ensure that your regularly-worn jewelry is properly checked for any potential issues.
Keep Gemstones Out of Direct Light and Away from Heat
Many people underestimate the harm that sunlight and heat can do to gemstones. Under sunlight, some stones like topaz and amethyst start to fade, while others – like amber – become darker. People living in hotter climates may notice that hotter-than-normal summer weather and even dramatic temperature shifts can cause more fragile gems, like pearls and opals, to crack or dry out. Avoid spending a lot of time in direct sunlight, and take your jewels off before gardening or heading to the beach for the day.
Avoid Using Chemicals
Gold, silver, and platinum can be easily tarnished by household chemicals like ammonia-based cleaning solvents, chlorinated swimming pools, and even cosmetics like perfumes and hairsprays. Ammonia and bleach products are one of the worst chemicals to come into contact with gold and vintage pieces. Gemstones can also be tremendously affected by chemicals, especially if they are heat-treated, wax-coated, organic material, or contain fillers.
A good rule of thumb is to take off your jewelry before cleaning or swimming, and only put it on once you’ve finished your regular morning routine.
Best Methods for Cleaning Your Jewelry
Not only does regular cleaning showcase the beauty of jewelry, but it allows you to check for any chips, weaknesses, and discoloration.
Surprisingly, the easiest method for cleaning most gold jewelry is one of the most recommended. Rather than purchasing jewelry cleaning solution, simply add a few drops of mild dish soap to a dish of warm water. Using a soft toothbrush, scrub your jewelry piece using your homemade jewelry cleaner.
Ultrasonic Cleaners and Gemstones
Today, most precious gemstones receive heat treatments, and their breakages are often filled with oil or resin. A gemological report should explain if your precious stone has been treated in any way. If you don’t have a professional report, avoid steam or ultrasonic cleaning treatments until a professional jeweler can determine if it’s safe to do.
Regardless of whether they’ve been heat- or surface-treated, an ultrasonic cleaner should not be used on certain gemstones. These include tanzanite, opal, turquoise, topaz, colored diamonds and lower-quality diamonds (which typically contain more inclusions). If you are cleaning pearls, however, be sure to use a soft moistened cloth, as they scratch easily.
Protecting Your Mokume Gane Jewelry
It’s common for colors and designs to fade on fine Mokume Gane rings over time, but caring for them is similar to any other jewelry piece. Remove your jewelry before working with cleaning products or performing manual labor. This will avoid irreparable deep scratches and chemical abrasions.
How to Clean Your Mokume Gane Jewelry
Human skin contains oils which naturally polish the inside of rings, so only use a jewelry cloth to clean the inside.
If you notice that the metals of your Mokume Gane piece are looking dull and the patterns are difficult to make out, you may need a light clean. Simply add a few drops of dish soap to a moistened Scotch Brite pad and gently rub it around the surface of the piece until the natural finish is visible. Since you’re lightly abrading the surface, you should clean your Mokume Gane occasionally, and only when the designs are difficult to make out.
Learn why Jaume Labro is a leader in the ancient art of Mokume Gane, and how creating custom jewelry piece has never been easier.