Caring for your jewellery

Kusum Mehta
It is not enough to own and wear jewels and to keep them, when not being worn, in the jewel case. Jewellery items need care and attention. Above all, they need cleaning and periodical overhaul. To care for them and to cherish them is almost a necessity. Many women love them all right but they think they have nothing more to do for them than to wear them with pride and pleasure.
Many women, though fastidious, in other matters, can be seen wearing rings that caked a layer of soap scum into which minute particles of dust and other foreign matters have settled, gradually forming a film which will dull the gleam of the stones and of their setting.
Jewels should be kept clean and should be regularly examined by a jeweller to  check up on settings, clasps, threading and  on.
And they should be properly encased. If they are in constant use, they should be checked every six months by a jeweller. In between, they should be kept in suitable containers.
Obviously, diamond pieces  must be kept apart from other jewels. Each item should be put separately. Diamonds, being the hardest substance, will easily scratch the surface of other gems.
Most jewels are bought properly placed in their own cases. Where space allows, they should always be put back in these cases after being worn, for they are specially designed to hold them. Small items like rings, broaches and ear-rings, can be kept in little individual chamois leather bags so that they do not come into contact with each other in a jewel case. Pearls should never be mixed with other germs set jewellery as their surface is easily scratched and damaged.
The beauty of diamonds  and other precious gems depends on the play of light refraction through the stone. This can be quite perceptibly dimmed if the underside of the gem is not scruptuously clean. If dirt has been allowed to accumulate to any degree, it will have to be given to the jewellers to give the jewels the special treatment which will remove the dirt without  harming the gem or its setting.
The day  to day ordinary care of the jewels can be easily done at home. Soap studs which form a film in which foreign matter collects imperceptibly can be removed by carefully brushing with a small hog’s bristle brush dipped in surgical spirit. The backs of the gems and the interstices of the setting should be carefully cleaned by washing the jewels in hot water.
To dry the gem-set jewels you should do is the jewellery manufacturers do and place them in a tray of worm boxwood sawdust. This type of sawdust is as fine as dust itself and absorbs all the traces of moisture, without scratching the surface of the gems.
Finally, all traces of the sawdust should be brushed away with a very soft-bristled brush (a complexion brush is ideal for the purpose). Never should an attempt be made to clean the interstices of  a setting  by prodding at them with a pointed implement. It is sure way of loosening or even damaging the stone and its setting.
In return for the great pleasure the possession of pearls brings to the owner, these gems demand care and attention to some extent. They should always be kept away from contact with soapy water and from being sprayed with scent. The surface of a pearl is absorbent and frequent immersion in soapy water may cause discoloration while contact with scent may cause pitting.
For this reason, they should not be washed. Any film that may cling to them after wear should be removed by wiping over gently with a soft  piece of chamois leather over the. They should not only be kept apart from other gem-set jewels but they should also not be worn in contact with other gems lest they may get scratched.
Plain gold jewellery needs to be washed in warm soapy water and they dried on a soft cloth and polished off with a soft chamois leather, silver jewellery, unless it has become yarnished, may also be cleaned in this way.
Coral, cornelian, lapis lazuli and similar gem stones  may be cleaned by carefully washing in warm soapy water, rinsing, drying and finally polishing with a chamois leather.
Opals and turquoise  should not be washed. Both these gem stones are  of somewhat porous nature and if immersed in water are likely to absorb the moisture an so tends to get cracked or become discoloured.
Marcasite is another gemstone  which should not be washed. All that is needed to brighten and clean this type of jewels is to rub it with a soft  brush and finish off with a gentle polishing and chamois leather.
For jade, the best cleaning medium is back emery or graphite powder (both of which are very soft) applied with soft cloth and polished off with chamois leather.
Enamelled jewellery should be cleaned by dipping it in a mild solution of pure soap  suds and hot water to which a few drops of ammonia have been added. Polish off with a very  soft cloth.
Amber, like pearls, needs to be kept apart from other jewellery as its surface is easily scratched. All that is needed to keep it clean and in good condition is to polish it cheerfully with a soft cloth.


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