2. Identify the types of jewelry
In order to start the maintenance of jewelry you should first identify the material of the jewelry piece and then chose the relevant method of cleaning. This is like washing your colored and white clothes separately.
- All pieces of similar jewelry should be clubbed together. Polish or plating of one piece of jewelry might affect the plating of the other piece.
- Stone jewelry should be segregated as sometimes the stones are stuck on the jewelry with adhesive (not the normal grade). When cleaning you need to be sure of the amount of liquid being used. The liquid might loosen the stone and make it fall out. Also, using water could tarnish the backside of Kundan and enamel pieces.
3. Pick the tools
The right tools are important for good and better cleaning. The tools should be soft on the jewelry.
- The ideal would be to use a soft brush. This would be able to go to the internal intricate areas where dirt and flakes get accumulated. The soft toothbrush could also be used but with care. Hard surfaces for cleaning might lead to scratches on the jewelry. Used toothbrushes are hence a strict NO.
- A soft sponge could also be used. They would help to clean flat polished surfaces in a better manner.
4. Cleaning agent
Ideally, test a small portion of the jewelry, usually the backside of the earring or a necklace to first check the effect of the agent on the plating. If the plating looks good for at least 24 hours after treatment on the test surface, should one try to use the cleaning agent for the entire jewelry piece? There are lots of commercial cleaning agents available in the market. Ensure that you choose one which contains neither Ammonia nor alcohol. These could be harmful and tarnish your jewelry pieces. If you are someone who likes home based mild cleaners the following could be some of the possible options
Lemon juice –
Lemon is a natural mild acid. Rubbing some lemon juice (mixed with water) can help the process of cleaning. Lemon works especially well over the silver.
Vinegar with a water solution –
soak the jewelry in the solution for some time and clean with a soft brush or sponge. A brush might help to remove the flakes from the cracks if any.
Mild baby Shampoo –
Mix a couple of drops of baby shampoo in water. Shampoo can help cleaning of pearls. The solution should be like thick tomato soup. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of water. Apply the solution with a thick brush on the jewelry piece.
Don’t use this on enamel jewelry. Take some toothpaste on a soft brush and rub it on the piece of jewelry.
Contact lens solution –
Don’t use this method if you have sensitive skin. Enamel jewelry treatment should be avoided. Read the complete ingredients and caution labels before using the contact lens solution. Apply the contact lens solution with a brush and wipe it clean asap. In case the solution is left out of the jewelry for long, this could lead to tarnishing.
After applying the cleaning mixture and cleaning everything off, rinse the piece off in cool water as soon as possible. Rinse just enough to remove the soapy water solution from the jewelry. Immediately after you rinse off your jewelry, place it on a towel to soak up any excess water. Wipe the excess water using the towel. Immediately, blow-dry the jewelry. If the jewelry piece is not quickly dried, then it may lead to rust and water spots. Ensure to blow dry until it is completely dry. Take special care when blow-drying jewelry with gemstones, a warmer setting of the drier may lead the glue to melt.
[Disclaimer: The above methods as mentioned have been done under the strict supervision of experts. Adequate cautions have been mentioned, however, the author shall not be responsible for any damages that you might incur on your jewelry pieces due to faulty method or usage of heavy chemical]