Instructions For Jewelry Care
How to Care for Cubic Zirconia Jewelry
Cubic zirconias are beautiful and brilliant, making them well-suited for use in jewelry. They are also affordable diamond alternatives because they are created in a lab and, in many cases, an X-ray is required to determine whether a stone is a diamond or a cubic zirconia. Cubic zirconia rings, necklaces and earrings are available in a variety of beautiful styles. Cubic zirconias, or CZs, are quite easy to care for and don’t scratch easily, but there are a few things you can do to keep your cubic zirconia rings, bracelets and pendants looking their best.
Caring for Cubic Zirconia Jewelry:
Clean your CZ jewelry. Cubic zirconia stones can appear dull over time with the build-up of lotions and oils from the skin. Cleaning CZ jewelry regularly can help it maintain its brilliance. Cubic zirconia stones can be cleaned professionally if desired, but they can also be easily cleaned at home. If your CZ jewelry is made of gold or platinum, then you can clean it with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, pre-packaged jewelry cleaning solutions or rubbing alcohol. If your CZ jewelry is made of sterling silver, it is best to avoid these cleaning products as harsh chemicals can discolor and damage sterling silver jewelry. Soapy water and a toothbrush can be used to clean any type of CZ jewelry. Simply mix mild dishwashing liquid with warm water and soak the jewelry. You can then gently scrub the jewelry clean with a toothbrush and rinse it under warm water.
Keep CZ jewelry clean. To keep your cubic zirconia jewelry clean and sparkly, remove the jewelry before applying lotions or other beauty products. It is also best to remove the jewelry while exercising, because perspiration can transfer oils from your skin and make a CZ look dull. If your Cubic zirconia jewelry is made of sterling silver, remove it before handling harsh chemicals or swimming to avoid damaging or discoloring the silver.
Store CZ jewelry carefully. While cubic zirconias themselves are difficult to scratch because they have a very high hardness rating similar to diamonds, metal and other stones in the jewelry can be damaged if the jewelry is not stored properly. Because CZ jewelry can be expensive, it is a good idea to store the jewelry carefully to protect your investment. Store cubic zirconia jewelry in a separate compartment in your jewelry box or keep it in a soft jewelry pouch.
Caring For Sterling Silver Jewelry
Many people wonder just how to take care of their sterling silver jewelry. When you first purchased that silver necklace, ring or broach it was shiny and beautiful. In time silver tarnishes from the interaction of silver and sulfides in the air.
First the tarnish will take on a golden hue, and eventually, it will turn the piece black. This is a natural process. Higher sulfide levels are associated with humidity and/or air pollution. Keep in mind that the more humid the climate, the faster sterling will tarnish. On a summer day in Jackson, Mississippi, all you have to do is walk out the door and the silver starts turning black very quickly.
(1) Sterling silver will polish up by rubbing or buffing it with a soft cotton cloth.
A chemically treated cloth, like a Sunshine Cloth, makes the job a lot easier and faster.
(2) Sterling silver dips are fast and easy. However, be careful!
First, many dips will take the color and polish off many gemstones.
Second, when using a dip, if you leave the piece in too long, or don’t rinse it well enough with fresh water, white residues will be left on the piece when it dries. The residue is difficult to rub or pick off. When using a silver dip, dip the piece quickly in and out of the dip. Then immediately rinse it in clean water. When the piece dries, buff it with a soft cotton cloth or a Sunshine Cloth. The buffing brings out more of the shine, helps take off any residue left on the piece, and with a Sunshine Cloth, leaves a little bit of a protective anti-tarnish coating on the piece to keep it shiny longer.
A dip should only be used when a buffing with a dry cloth doesn’t work.
(3) Tarnish Shield, or similar lacquer shield, will keep the piece of jewelry shiny until the tarnish wears off. You should be aware that pieces that have been lacquered don’t age well, until all the lacquer has worn off. In spots where the lacquer has loosened from the sterling, but not worn off, the silver will tarnish, but you won’t be able to buff it.
If you use a dip to clean a piece that has a tarnish shield, often the dip will get under parts of the lacquer, leaving a residue, wherever the lacquer is beginning to wear off.
If the piece is a chain, or a filigree, the lacquer will form a film within the openings and cracks. This obviously makes the piece ugly.
The simplest way is usually the best way. Get a clean, soft cloth and polish your silver. It will be beautiful again!
How to Care for Rhodium Plated Jewelry
Rhodium plated jewelry requires careful handling and maintenance. Rhodium is a fragile metal that comes from the platinum family. It is used to coat sterling silver and white gold, creating a shiny, sparkling finish. This material is hypoallergenic, does not corrode and provides an excellent form of protection for fragile metal items. Rhodium plating will eventually fade and will need to be replated. To prolong the life of the rhodium plating it is important to care for it properly. The price of rhodium is 10 times more than that of gold and twice that of platinum. When the plating becomes yellow or brown in color, that is a sign that it needs cleaning. The cleaning process can be done at home with ease, with right tools and materials.
Step 1 – Soaking the Jewelry
In a bowl, combine a 1/3 of a cup of mild, liquid detergent with a cup of warm water. Gently mix the soap and water together until they are combined well. Soak your rhodium plated items into the solution. Leave the items in the soapy water for about 10 minutes. Do not let the jewelry sit any longer than 15 minutes as the extra time could damage the plating. Use your fingers to gently rub all areas of the items in the bowl. Take your toothbrush and gently scrub the finer parts of the jewelry. Be sure to use a soft bristled tooth brush.
Step 2 – Rinsing the Jewelry
Place your sink stopper securely over the drain. Run your tap at a lukewarm temperature. Rinse your jewelry under the tap to remove all of the soapy water. If you have hard water in your system, do not use tap water. It will create water spots. If you have hard water, use bottled or distilled water in place of the tap water.
Step 3 – Drying the Jewelry
Place your rhodium plated jewelry on a soft, clean towel. Gently pat the excess moisture off of the items. If possible use a hair dryer to dry the jewelry. Be sure the hair dryer is set to the lowest heat temperature possible. Leave the jewelry to sit and air dry overnight.
Step 4 – Avoiding Harsh Chemicals
Never use harsh chemicals on rhodium plated jewelry. The chemicals will damage the plating. Do not use jewelry cleaning chemicals or sonic cleaning systems. Some sonic systems use chemicals in the cleaning process. Most sonic systems will cause the jewelry to bounce and this could potentially damage the jewelry. Remove your jewelry when using household cleaners, hand cream and perfume in order to prolong the life of the plating.
Step 5 – Storing Your Jewelry
Place your rhodium plated jewelry on tissue paper. Gently wrap each in a separate piece of paper. The tissue witll protect the jewelry and prevent it from rubbing against anything that could accidentally scratch it.
Pearl Jewelry Care
Pearls are organic gemstones that are vulnerable to acid, alkaline and extremes of humidity. To preserve your pearls’ radiance, avoid letting them come into contact with cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume. Always put on your jewelry as a final touch, after applying make-up and styling hair.
The pearl’s luster can also be harmed by perspiration. To prevent this, before returning your pearls to the jewelry box, wipe them gently with a soft cloth.
Pearls are exceptionally cohesive and shock-resistant, but may be scratched by contact with sharp objects or other gemstones. To prevent tangles and scratches, fasten clasps and pins, then lay each item out separately in a compartmentalized jewelry box. When carrying jewelry, use a protective jewelry pouch.
Leaving pearl jewelry in a security box for long periods may cause pearls to dehydrate, so enjoy them frequently. There is a saying that “pearls want to be worn,” and it is true!
Even with the best of care, small parts of jewelry may come loose. Before wearing, carefully check such parts as the prongs that support the jewels, the clasps of necklaces, the screws of earrings and brooch pins.
Mikimoto cultured pearl necklaces are strung with the finest silk thread for both strength and beauty. However, if that string
stretches or loosens, it may break suddenly. Even if you don’t wear your pearls often, we recommend that you have your pearls restrung every year.
If the radiance of your jewelry appears to be diminishing, take it to a specialist. Ultrasonic cleanser should never be used with pearl jewelry as it can damage the pearls.
Be careful not to dip pearl strands in water or wear them while bathing, as water can weaken the silk thread. It’s also best to avoid direct sunlight or high temperatures such as in a sauna. If pearls come into
contact with substances such as vinegar, fruit juices or detergents, immediately wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Following these simple guidelines should preserve your Mikimoto pearls for generations.