Caring for your jewels
From the desk of Lindas Opal
Cleaning and Maintenance
We take pride in personally selecting the finest solid gold rings from around the world, some of which are over 100 years old: Our endless focus on matching their idiosyncrasies with your own personal stories and style gives us great happiness and satisfaction. Finding an item you’ve fallen in love with is an exciting moment for both of us.
Your satisfaction is of the utmost importance! Because we sell such an important product, there are certain levels of care and protection that are good to make habit to preserve what have been around for generations already and stood the test of time to be with us now!
Therefore we must make it clear that many of our items are antique rings, ranging from 15 to 155 years old, meaning that care and upkeep is of central importance to maintain and fully enjoy the quality of your item as well as preserving it for yourself and others for generations for many years to come.
The Importance of Care
Because vintage and antique rings need special care, it is impossible to maintain or clean them as if they were new in the same way as a mass-produced modern-day equivalent. The aim is not to bath anything in water for hours, nor is it to scrub and rub it too much as to end up damaging the ring and the wish to care for it. It is about giving the ring a spruce up and to let it sit in its best form. The precursor to cleaning is keeping your ring in a safe box individual/with other stones they are safe around, or in a soft bag. Sensible storage can easily save you lots of time and upset by protecting the stones and the gold.
An accumulation of residue and dirt is inevitable if you wear your jewellery often. But so to is the risk of damaging the stone, ring or settings. Of course, it’s natural to want to wear your ring as often as possible, in fact sometimes to never take it off. However you are best avoiding wearing your jewellery when;
- using chemicals or cleaning products
- exercising or swimming (both in chlorine pools and in the sea as gold doesn’t react well)
- showering and washing hands
- applying beauty products
- there is risk or bashing, banging dropping or scratching your jewellery
Each of the above will contribute to the diminishment of gold and gemstones. To help, I like to keep jewellery boxes and dishes around the house so I can take off and put them back on as I go through the day.
It is worth noting that certain gemstones are more vulnerable to damage by chemicals, or by too much water or sunlight. These include amethyst, aquamarine citrine and quartz. By using the Mohs Scale we can be guided as to how to approach the clean. This scale indicates a gemstones hardness and dexterity with the hardness being numbered 10 and most fragile number 1.
The Mohs Scale of Hardness (The International Gem Society)
Opal, Pearl, and Turquoise are especially porous (absorbent) and fragile (between 2-5.5 on Mohs) and should not be placed in the cleaning solution because liquid for these items, as with cameos and hair based mourning rings, can be detrimental to the ring. With especially fragile or precious items of this nature it may be safer to just clean them with a damp cloth and avoid more amounts of liquid altogether. I would also personally avoid cleaning Emerald with liquid or even soap, as it cannot affect its oil coating (which helps hide and protect imperfections).
Always make sure you’re aware of the type of stone and as important and often neglected purity of gold, as different carats of gold and items can also be worth knowing. The higher the gold content or ‘carat’, the softer the metal and extra care must be awarded to its presence. Even combining a low- and high-level gold together can be mutually harmful to each gold item. Gold is the only precious metal that will not tarnish as it is free of oxides however it is not a hard metal and so can be scratched without due care and attention yet higher carat gold such as 18, 22 and especially 24 are softer and more malleable if ignored.
What do I need / Cleaning
You’ll need a bowl, light warm water and a soft toothbrush and a lint free cloth, cotton being ideal.
Run water to lightly warm and pour into a bowl, half full. Place the ring into water for 60 seconds. Take your toothbrush, lightly dampen it and rub the brush on the ring remembered to take care with circular motions. There is no point submerging a ring with hair in water, whilst diamond (10 on Mohs), ruby and sapphire especially are harder stones and can withstand more. Emerald’s turquoise and opals need less harsh treatment- by dabbing the soft toothbrush into cooler water and slowly, using circular motions, pay attention with only light pressure underneath the stone and around the prongs- don’t be tempted to add more pressure only apply patience. In our view the aim of cleaning is to optimise the look, not try to remove imperfections or personality the ring holds.
Use your instinct with the amount of fluid needed, considering that fragile rings should be best cleaned with a damp cloth or dry cotton cloth instead. After all, there is no point risking the wellbeing of a cherished item! Of course, the aim is to remove built up dirt, but how to do this depends on your stone, the gold and the fragility of the piece itself. Take your time and find your way, it is well worth it!
Rinse & Dry
With the cloth, lightly pat and caress the gold shank and individual parts of the ring taking extra care around the stones and settings. Buff carefully then allow to completely dry before returning your item safely to its ideally soft box or bag.
Make it a Habit
A good clean is a worthwhile 6 weekly ritual worth dedicating time to. A professionally done ultrasonic clean at a local jewelers may be the most effective option, alongside a check on your ring every 6 months to make sure it continues to be in its best - and safest condition to enjoy and pass down to other generations as it has previously been. Remember, antique items are not supposed to look new. After all, these are pieces of history as well as items of jewellery!