Guide to Jewellery Cleaning and General Care
We are often asked about jewellery cleaning as it is an important consideration of the cover under our jewellery insurance policy. Whilst we provide cover for “All Risks”, there is an exclusion of damage caused when an item is being cleaned, so great care needs to be taken. You certainly can clean items at home if you are careful but periodically, we suggest that your items of jewellery are professionally cleaned and taking them to a jeweller is the best option.
At the same time as cleaning your jewellery, the jeweller can undertake maintenance on the ring, for example, he or she will check the integrity of the ring, including checking that the settings are tight to ensure the diamond will not fall out.
Why have your Jewellery cleaned?
The simple reason is that jewellery cleaning will enhance the appearance of your valuable possessions, you may have noticed over time that your diamond ring has lost a little of its fire and sparkle. If you wear a ring every day, such as an engagement ring, it is constantly coming in to contact with substances that will gradually build up layers of dirt and debris that will gradually dull its appearance. Cleaning your ring will help remove the dirt and debris and also any bacteria which can lead to not only skin irritation but may tarnish the metal of the ring as well.
Can you undertake Jewellery Cleaning at Home?
Yes, you can, if you are careful and we suggest that your jewellery cleaning regime is a two-stage process.
Firstly- you should undertake cleaning at home but ensure you ask a jeweller to inspect and clean the ring at least once every two years. The jewellery using professional cleaning equipment will be able to safely dislodge any ground in dirt that you are unable to remove.
What can you safely use to clean items of jewellery at home?
The temptation is there when trying to remove stubborn dirt and stains to use strong cleaners, but with expensive delicate jewellery, it is safest to use simple cleaning products like normal household soap and warm water combined with a soft toothbrush and a soft lint free cloth.
When removing your ring, choose a place with a flat surface such as a tabletop, and a plastic washing up bowl to hold the warm soapy water, we’ve seen a number of instances where attempts have been made to clean the item over a kitchen or bathroom sink and the ring has disappeared down the plughole.
What should be avoided when cleaning jewellery at home?
Stronger cleaners such as bleach should be avoided as these can-do irreparable damage to a ring.
Also avoid any cleaning substance that is abrasive such as toothpaste, baking soda, or powdered cleaners. These may feature on many best cleaning tips websites, but they can scratch metal especially gold.
In recent years the price of home ultrasonic cleaners has dropped, and some people have invested in these. They’re easy enough to obtain from online stores.
They work by passing vibrations through a liquid and are suitable for some but not all gemstones.
The vibrations, however, can make the settings on your diamond ring become loose, which is why in our opinion, this type of cleaning should only be undertaken by a professional jeweller who will then check the settings after cleaning has finished.
How Often Should I Clean My Ring?
You should start your cleaning regime almost as soon as you obtain your item of jewellery, once a week is normally sufficient. Regular cleaning can help to prevent the buildup of dirt.
Obtaining Professional Jewellery Cleaning
In our opinion you should have your jewellery cleaned at least every 2 years by a professional jeweller. This is usually quick and inexpensive, and some jewellers even offer it as part of their customer care plan.
Professional cleaning will help to remove the dirt that you are unable to and after cleaning the jeweller will check the ring to make sure all the settings are tight etc. There is no substitute for professional cleaning and afterwards your precious item of jewellery should look good as new.
Gold Jewellery Care Tips
Precious metals and gemstones tend to increase in value over time and items of jewellery that are not cared for or stored correctly can become easily scratched and damaged thus diminishing their value and attractiveness. These are our top tips for caring for your valuable gold jewellery:
- Have valuable items of jewellery checked on a regular basis by a jeweller who can check for damage and make sure the settings have not become loose. Settings can be tightened to ensure that precious stones are not lost. This is normally a quick and easy process. Some jewellers now include an annual or biannual setting checks as part of their customer care package.
- Although there is a cost involved, it’s important to have valuations on items of jewellery at least every five years. The valuation will quote not only a replacement price for insurance purposes but a full description of the item. A professional description can greatly help a jeweller if a replacement ring has to be sourced or a bespoke item made. Some valuations will also include a picture of your ring, if not take some and keep them safe, again this will help with any replacement process.
- Never store jewellery as loose items in a jewellery box, the metal and stones can easily become scratched and damaged as items rub against each other. Keep precious rings in individual compartments or wrap items in cloth or chamois leather for protection. You can obtain jewellery boxes with individual compartments and this greatly helps with the safe storage of items.
- Chains should always be stored fastened, so they do not become entangled.
- As mentioned above in our cleaning tips, gold and silver should be cleaned with a soft, clean cloth that is free of any chemicals. Keep one specifically to clean jewellery or use a professional cleaning cloth. Do not over clean items of silver as the effect of rubbing is actually removing metal from the item.
- Avoid wearing gold jewellery when swimming as the chlorine in the water will react with gold. Although pure gold is quite safe, carat gold can be weakened by exposure to chlorinated water if you do remove your jewellery whilst swimming, make sure you adhere to any jewellery insurance policy requirements about storage.
- We have mentioned that Jewellery settings and gemstones can be greatly improved by cleaning with a soft brush and soapy water. However, antique jewellery should not be cleaned at all unless you have received specialist advice from a jeweller.
- Avoid using all forms of abrasive cleaner on jewellery.
- Silver dip style cleaners are popular and can be used on silver jewellery if wiped clean afterwards. This type of cleaner should not be used to clean items of gold jewellery.
- Cultured pearls need special treatment as they are of “natural” origin and can become damaged easily. It’s advisable to apply cosmetics, hairspray etc. and wait a short time before wearing pearls. On removing, they should always be wiped clean with a soft damp cloth. If you have to wet them to clean then, be very careful and it’s probably best to avoid applying any form of chemical. Pearls do need to be re- threaded on occasion and your jeweller should inspect them and advise accordingly. If you are in any doubt as to care for your items of jewellery, always seek the professional opinion of a jewellery or ask for advice or guidance at the time of purchase.
To make sure you your valuable items are fully protected against loss or damage, you can buy Jewellery Insurance. If you require a jewellery insurance quote contact Assetsure. You can either telephone our office or use one of our online quote forms, most quotations can be provided instantly.
We have a policy that will cover single items of jewellery as well as collections and you will not have to insure your entire home and contents with us. We cover Worldwide All Risks and most of our policies have no excess to pay in the event of a claim.