Even the most beautiful jewellery can often get dull, dirty and out of style. But there is a quick fix to this dilemma and it is simple and stress-free. Jewellery become dull and dirty through frequent wear. They pick up oil from your skin and hair, causing the metal to become worn-out and the stones to lose their luster. Luckily, many home products will restore the shine to your jewellery. Gold, silver, diamond or costume jewellery usually consist of expensive stones and metals that are made from gemstones and knowing how to clean these pieces properly without damaging them will set your mind at total ease. But unlike silver, diamond and costume jewellery, gold doesn’t develop a dull tarnished finish over time. However, gold can still easily accumulate dirt and grime with normal use also. On the other hand, silver is a versatile metal with a soft lustre that makes for beautiful jewellery. Unfortunately, silver is also pretty fragile compared to many more commonly-used metals and it can quickly develop tarnish, stains, or scratches. It can also be a bit intimidating to try to clean silver pieces because they are so delicate. However, you don’t have to be a professional or use expensive tools to clean your silver yourself. Of course, there are various jewellery cleaners but they might be causing damage to your precious stones or pieces without you even knowing. This DIY project consists of less abrasive home-made remedies that keep your jewellery shinning like new. Below are the steps to follow on each type of jewellery rather than spend so much money on professional jewellery cleaners.
Tarnish happens when the surface of silver combines with sulfur and turns into silver sulfide, which is black. Tarnish is the enemy of a silver jewellery and here are your weapons in making them shine like brand new again. For items that are merely dull, filmy or starting to discolour, mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and dip in a soft cloth (make sure it is lint-free) or soft toothbrush. Rub the jewellery gently with the mixture, then rinse in cool water and buff with a soft fibre cloth until it becomes completely dry. For heavier tarnish, mix a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the cleaner with a soft, lint-free cloth (not paper towels, which can scratch). Work the paste into the crevices, turning the cloth as it gets gray. Rinse and buff dry. Note; don’t soak silver, this speeds up rather than remove tarnish. You can also make a salt bath in making your jewellery shine like brand new. In a medium size bowl, stir one tablespoon of salt and hot water until it completely dissolves. Take a sheet of aluminum foil and tear off a few strips. The combination of salt and aluminum foil will react with the tarnish on the silver’s surface and create a bright, shiny surface in place of the tarnish. If you don’t have table salt on hand, you can use baking soda instead. It has the right properties to facilitate the same chemical reaction.
Brighten gold and gems
Have you ever looked under your ring? Lotion, soaps and everyday dirt can clog the prongs, making stones appear facet-less and flat. Even gold chains and pendants can get junked up through everyday wear. Give gold a bubble bath by pouring a few drops of mild dish soap into a small bowl of sodium-free seltzer water or club soda (in Good Housekeeping Institute tests, the carbonation loosened soil and removed debris). Put the jewellery into a small strainer and place it in the bowl to soak for about five minutes. Swish it around, fishing out each piece to go over settings and crevices with a soft toothbrush. Return items to the strainer and rinse under running water; dry with a soft cloth. For costume jewellery, especially if stones are glued rather than set, dab a cloth into the bubbly solution and gently wipe any smudges or grime, then “rinse” with a cloth dampened in plain water. Pat dry and lay the pieces upside down so moisture won’t soak into the setting. Don’t use hot or boiling water, especially if your jewellery contain fragile precious stones. Some precious stones, like opals, can crack if subjected to rapid and drastic temperature changes. Similarly, don’t use freezing cold water because the grime will contract and get tougher. Ammonia can also be used to clean your gold jewellery. It is a powerful cleaner but chemically, it can be caustic. Therefore, avoid cleaning your jewellery with ammonia too often. Don’t use ammonia when cleaning gold jewellery pieces that contain platinum or pearls. Simply add one part ammonia and six part water, stir gently. Soak the gold jewellery in the mixture for not more than one minute (ammonia can be slightly corrosive). Use a kitchen strainer to make it easier to remove and rinse thoroughly under running water. Dry with a soft lint-free cloth and air dry before wearing it.
Freshen your pearls
Pearls are so porous and can easily lose their lustre. Whether real, cultured or faux, they must be cleaned with care. To maintain the beauty of pearls, understanding how to care for them properly is essential. While the compact crystalline structure of pearls makes them very durable, they’re soft by nature and this reality can’t be overlooked. It’s easy to scratch pearls and simple contact with the skin’s oils every day causes them to deteriorate. To clean your pearl without stress, lay the strand of pearl on a soft cloth. Dip a clean, small brush into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo, and go over each pearl. To finish, rinse the pearls with a clean, well-wrung damp cloth. Let the strand dry flat to prevent the string from stretching. This no-soak treatment is also good for turquoise, another porous stone. This DIY project will save you time and also money.
Maintaining your jewellery
Remove rings when washing your hands or applying lotions, to keep the settings clean. And after wearing, wipe body oils and perfume off jewellery with a soft cloth. Avoid swimming with your jewellery or getting into a hot bathtub. Also, abstain from using heavily scent products on your hair and skin. Oil and ingredients from perfume, body lotion, and hairspray can tarnish jewellery. Either keep your products light or don’t wear them at all while you’re wearing your jewellery. Store your jewellery in a cool dry place when you aren’t wearing them. It makes the jewellery last even longer than you expect.
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Source: The Punch