Caring for Your Jewellery

Jewellery is one of our most intimate and cherished accessories. Understanding how to care for and protect your treasured jewellery can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty and keeping your heirlooms sparkling for generations to come.

CARE & STORAGE OF STERLING SILVER

Over time sterling silver will develop what is called ‘oxidation’, which is a result where by heavy tarnish builds up in the fine details of the sterling silver piece, giving it an antique look. Sterling silver jewellery can be purchased with an oxidised, antique look. The best way to preserve and encourage the ‘antique’ look of sterling silver jewellery is to not clean the jewellery and by not wearing jewellery in the shower or bath.

Cream and dip liquid polishes will most likely remove tarnish and oxidation from your jewellery. They will also most certainly remove any decorative oxidation designs and patinas as well. Therefore, it's best to keep these items free of tarnish through proper storage and the use of cleaning cloths.

Sterling silver should be stored in a cool, dry place. Fine jewellery should be stored in separate compartments in a jewellery box or soft pouch. Never store jewellery in paper, cardboard or cotton filled boxes, as these contain traces of sulphur, which may cause tarnishing. For best result, place the items in a sealed airtight plastic bag or sulphur free tissue paper prior to boxing and wrapping.

Always take your sterling silver jewellery off before applying moisturisers and other skin creams, sun screen, dyes, hairsprays and perfumes. Avoid the jewellery coming into contact with abrasive soaps, chemicals, detergents, bleaches, ammonia or alcohols as these chemicals will cause discolouration and damage. Silver is a relatively soft metal and can scratch so don’t scrub with abrasive cloths or cleansers.

Sterling silver jewellery should always be removed prior to washing, bathing, doing dishes, household chores, strenuous activities, exercise, sport, swimming (both ocean saltwater or chlorinated pools), to prevent scratching, denting or loss of gemstones. Remove all jewellery before going to bed to avoid kinking or breakage.

CARE & STORAGE OF GOLD JEWELLERY

Gold jewellery can be purchased with an oxidised, antique look. The best way to preserve and encourage the ‘antique’ look of gold jewellery is to not clean the jewellery and by not wearing jewellery in the shower or bath.

Like all jewellery, gold should be periodically cleaned and checked for wear and breakages. You can clean it yourself with warm, soapy water but it can also be re-polished to add that extra sparkle.

Cream and dip liquid polishes will most likely remove oxidation from your jewellery. They will also most certainly remove any decorative oxidation designs and patinas as well. It is best to keep these items free of dirt and grime through proper storage and the use of cleaning cloths.

Gold should be stored in a cool, dry place. Fine jewellery should be stored in separate compartments in a jewellery box or soft pouch. Never store gold jewellery in paper, cardboard or cotton filled boxes. For best result, place the items in a sealed airtight plastic bag or sulphur free tissue paper prior to boxing and wrapping.

Always take your gold jewellery off before applying moisturisers and other skin creams, sun screen, dyes, hairsprays and perfumes. Avoid the jewellery coming into contact with abrasive soaps, chemicals, detergents, bleaches, ammonia or alcohols as these chemicals will cause discolouration and damage.

Gold jewellery should always be removed prior to washing, bathing, doing dishes, household chores, strenuous activities, exercise, sport, swimming (both ocean saltwater or chlorinated pools), to prevent scratching, denting or loss of gemstones. Remove all jewellery before going to bed to avoid kinking or breakage.

Under normal conditions gold won't tarnish or corrode but there are generations of stories about 'not being able to wear gold'. Research into the 'gold smudge' has revealed five basic reasons why gold can sometimes leave a black mark or a rash.

- Sometimes skin secretion and perspiration contain chemicals which react with the molecules of other metals in the gold alloy. This can happen when changes occur in body chemistry, for example pregnancy.

- Outside chemical influences, such as cosmetics, hairsprays and perfumes may sometimes be to blame for the 'smudge' - always allow these products to dry before putting on your jewellery.

- Air pollutants from industry may cause the 'smudge' which can rub off onto the skin when jewellery is worn.

- Minute particles of dust or powder may be embedded in the skin which can result in extremely small particles of gold alloy being rubbed off and left on the skin.

- The fifth and least likely cause may be an allergy to gold or one of the other metals in the alloy, such as an allergy to nickel which is commonly used in fashion jewellery and in some white golds.

CARE & STORAGE OF GEMSTONES

Proper care and handling of your jewellery can help it maintain its beauty and sparkle for years to come. When you have purchased your precious jewellery, it is important to take proper care to ensure it lasts and maintains its sparkle.

To give our customers piece of mind and to protect and maintain your valued purchase, AmericanSwiss provides a Jewellery Care Plan which is available on certain jewellery items. For more info on the Care Plan, click here.

Some simple and easy steps in maintaining your jewellery at home:

Do
- It is very important to have your jewellery checked regularly for wear and tear, especially gem set jewellery where the setting or claws can become worn.
- Have your jewellery cleaned and polished at least once a year.
- Clean your diamonds with a mild liquid detergent and a soft brush, or one of the specially designed jewellery cleaners available from your jeweller. Make sure not to clean them in sink in the event a stone becomes loose or the piece goes down the sink. Consider cleaning the jewellery item in a bowl. Make sure no gemstones have become loose and fallen out before you tip the cleaning solution down the sink.
- Be cautious about cleaning jewellery yourself without more specific knowledge about the material.
- Consider re-stringing your pearls once a year, as the strand could be stretched or worn if they have been in contact with chemicals such as perfumes and hairspray.
- Have pearls knotted between each one, this will prevent the loss of pearls if the string should break.
- Wash your pearls with a softened cloth of mild soap and water after taking off to remove perfume, hairspray and cosmetics etc.
- Wrap your pearls in tissue paper or place in a cloth bag when storing and keep them in a box away from other jewellery as you don’t want your other jewellery to scratch the pearls.
- Store your jewellery in a jewellery roll when travelling, it will keep the jewellery organised and free from tangles and scratches.
- Ensure you are adequately insured and that you have up to date valuations. Check with your insurer to make sure of their requirements.

Don’t
- Diamonds are durable, although they can chip. Avoiding this can be done by not wearing diamond jewellery while doing heavy manual work.
- Remove jewellery before using household cleaners as they can contain chemicals which can be harmful to your precious jewellery.
- Never allow your jewellery to come into contact with chlorine bleach, as it can pit gold alloys.
- Never put your jewellery down thoughtlessly, as they can be easily misplaced or lost. Always put them into a lined box and store in a secure place.
- Never wear your jewellery while showering or cleaning, as gold jewellery will develop a soapy film and dull the appearance.
- Never expose your gemstones to salt water and harsh chemicals, which will dull and erode your gems.
- Never rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or piece of felt.
- Never allow sterling silver to come into contact with chlorine, as this will tarnish the jewellery.
- Never clean cultured pearls with chemicals or abrasives, as this will damage and scratch the surface of the pearls.
- Avoid allowing pearls to come into contact with perfumes, hairspray and cosmetics.
- Never wear jewellery to bed or while participating in sport, as this may cause kinking, snagging or breakage.

By following these recommended care instructions you will prolong the life of your purchase and be able to enjoy it for many years to come.

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