It looks like a million dollars but after a couple of months it doesn't have the same ‘Sparkle’ or look it once had (a bit like me really).
So what are we to do?
The first thing is to make sure it is SAFE to be cleaned!
Naturally, delicate items should be best left to a professional Jeweler to clean. BUT Opals, Pearls and Emeralds are very susceptible to damage in a Jewelers Ultrasonic cleaning tank, as it can loosen pearls from their mounts and breakdown Opal and Emerald quite easily.
SOLUTION: Clean them yourself! BUT VERY GENTLY.
Make up a solution of Washing up liquid (Clean of course, not after doing the Sunday dishes) and use an old Toothbrush and carefully clean around the mount, using the bristles of the brush to get into the setting and CLEAN BEHIND THE STONES.
But beware as too much pressure could ‘Pop’ the stone out of it's setting, so if in doubt - take it out (of the bowl I mean).
Yet even this has a good point. If you lost it somewhere other than the washing process, not only would you probably never find it, you'd be very annoyed at me for suggesting such a thing in the first place.
However; if the stone came out in the wash, it would prove that the setting was so worn it would have come out sooner or later anyway, so better to ‘catch the falling star’ as it were, and get your local Jeweler to reset it safely back for you.
See, I just did you a favor. . . no need to thank me just yet.
Let's continue. . . .
Don't have the water too hot and certainly don't leave the items to soak all day. Pearls are generally only glued onto your Jewelry (rings, brooches etc) and if the item is a few years old (say over 20) then the glues used then were not as good as they are today. A couple of minutes should be enough.
Dry everything on a paper towel in a warm area (under a sun drenched window is perfect) and finally buff up with a soft cloth and check everything before you wear it again.
It should look good for another few months.
By the way: In General terms, the only difference in the cleaning fluid used by your Jeweler or purchased from a proprietary Brand would be Ammonia!
A small cap of Cloudy Ammonia bought from Coles or Woolies or your local Supermarket, mixed with washing up liquid is a terrific cleaner. It smells a little but the results are perfect!
Just to continue from the previous section:
Most of the white colorless gemstones used over the past hundred years or so as Diamond Imitations or Simulants, were either Paste (Fancy name for glass) Spinels or White Sapphire (corundum) and occasionally Zircon (Not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia CZ's which is quite modern).
When you first purchased your beautiful ring it glistened like diamond, but slowly became duller and duller.
Ladies, you are to Blame!
Hand Cream is the biggest culprit of them all as it gets under the stone and dulls it.
Wearing your Jewelry while Gardening doesn't help much either and you certainly shouldn't wear your rings while doing the washing up (all that grease sticks to the stone).
This is one of the major ‘Properties’ of a Diamond.
Just clean it in the same solution as we suggested above and brush it with an old toothbrush. It will return to sparkling quality in no time.
Once every few months is perfect, so don't over do it.
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regards and please watch the road. David Foard F. G. A. A. Fellow of the Gemological Association of Australia and former member of JATVC - The Valuers Council (retired).
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David Foard has spent over 30 years in the Antique Jewelry Trade as a qualified gemologist and member of the Valuers Council. Get a FREE 3 part ‘Hallmarking Report’ on How to Identify your Jewelry Hallmarks at Home or Work by going to => http://www.jewellery-antiques.com and grabbing yourself a fistfull of Hints - Tips and Secrets.