Caring for your Jewellery

All jewellery made with love by Alex Thiel Goldsmith requires a little attention and care from its owner. Here’s some general tips on providing the best TLC for your purchase.

  • Please take off your jewellery when doing hard, garden or house work to avoid scratching, bashing and making it dirty
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach and cleaning products while wearing jewellery to prevent your jewellery from becoming dull, discoloured or looking worn
  • All creams, scents and perfumes can cause a reaction with metal or gemstones so it’s best to put your jewellery on last when preparing for your day or night
  • Jewellery should be kept in a jewellery box while it isn’t worn and separated from other pieces to avoid scratching
  • When having your jewellery professionally cleaned, it’s a good idea to have each item checked and inspected for any possible problems. Addressing signs of damage, or loose gemstones will prevent any further damage or loss and keep all of your pieces in excellent shape for over a lifetime

I also offer a full range of jewellery repair and jewellery cleaning services in Cork and Ireland.

Below are some detailed tips when caring for specific materials:

Silver is too soft a metal to make jewellery from in its pure form. That is why it has to be combined with other alloys to make it durable. Sterling Silver for example, contains 92.5 % of pure silver and 7.5 % of other alloys. Silver is used in almost all coloured carat gold alloys, giving the alloys a paler colour and greater hardness. Silver is used in many areas of production from mirror making to the pharmaceutical industry.

Jewellery made with silver will tarnish with time, which gives it a dull look lacking that distinctive white shiny finish. To clean silver jewellery use warm soapy water and soak it for about 20 min, then use a soft bristle brush to remove all dirt. Rinse with clean water and use a polishing cloth or simply a soft cloth. Silver cleaning dips are helpful as well. Silver jewellery needs to be polished by a jeweller every so often to regain its shine.

Gold is the most malleable of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of one square meter, or an ounce into three hundred square feet. A gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become transparent! Because of the softness of pure 24 carat gold, it is usually combined with alloys of other metals like silver or copper. This helps to make it harder and a more durable material for jewellery making.

The higher number of carat means a softer metal so it is strongly advised to not stack rings next to each other made in gold from different carat alloys to avoid scratching. Gold is the only precious metal that will not tarnish but it is a relatively delicate and sensitive material especially to chlorine, so it’s best take off your jewellery before you go for a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub.

Platinum, with its white-grey colour, is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust, this is what makes it a very precious metal. The name platinum is derived from the Spanish term platino which literally means “little silver”. It is a hardwearing metal which is suitable to be worn every day but all precious metals scratch and platinum is no exception. It is unique among the precious metals that when it’s scratched its shine is only displaced but not lost.

Platinum jewellery can be cleaned in mild soapy water with the help of a soft toothbrush or with the use of specially made jewellery cleaning solutions. Over time the metal can be covered in patina which can appear for some people as a dull look but some prefer this added character. Patina can be polished and cleaned away with the help of an experienced jeweller.

Gemstones have a different hardness and they can be chipped or scratched by a harder  gemstone or even break under a strong impact. Many coloured gemstones are sensitive to high temperatures and direct constant sunlight. Often chemicals can change a gemstone’s colour and make it matt or in some cases, even completely destroy it so taking off your jewellery before cleaning or going for a dip in the pool is strongly recommended.

Because gemstones are much softer in comparision to the metals in which they are set or the diamonds which they may share a collection with, it isn’t advised to stack them onto each other or store them without separating. The safest way to clean is using warm water with soap and a soft bristle brush, then rinse and dry. Steam cleaners are too harsh for most gemstones and often ultrasonic cleaners aren’t safe to use on them either.

Diamonds get their name from the Greek adamas which means unbreakable. Diamonds are one of the hardest materials on Earth but even they can chip if hit with a strong enough impact. Diamonds are highly durable, they can only be scratched by another diamond. That makes them perfect for engagement and wedding rings because they are usually worn every day.

Diamonds have a tendency to pick up grease and oils and they may need occasional cleaning using warm water with mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Amonia is also good to lift up away dirt and oils and keep your diamond sparkling. It is recommended to bring your diamond jewellery for a professional check now and then to make sure the stones are’t coming loose. Not all diamonds can be cleaned with steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners.

Pearls are organic gemstones which are produced in a living shelled mollusk, or can be cultured. Farmed pearls can be dyed in many colours but the most rare and valuable pearls come naturally from the sea. Natural pearls come in many shapes, with perfectly round ones being comparatively rare.

Pearls are very sensitive to chemicals and acids, alkaline and extreme humidity. It is better to leave the cleaning to professionals. Pearl strands should be restrung every two or three yers depending on how often do you wear them.