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How to Clean Your Bronze and Brass Jewelry Properly

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How to Clean Your Bronze and Brass Jewelry Properly

Have you ever wondered if you could clean your own jewelry?  Have you ever wondered if it was necessary to have a jeweler clean your jewelry?  The answer to both questions is "Yes". 

Gold is durable, gold is beautiful and gold is lasting.  But don't let that fool you, gold can be damaged. It can be scratched and dented when not treated properly.  It can develop a film build up of oils from lotions, powder, soap and natural skin oil, which causes it to look dull.  The chemicals circulating in the air can slightly oxidize the gold depending on the karat grade used. 

One more thing, do not let your gold jewelry, especially rings come in contact with common household cleaning products that contain chlorine.  Chlorine bleach products can damage your jewelry over time.  The moral is:  don't wear your jewelry while doing household chores where chlorinated cleaning products are involved; don't wear your hand jewelry (rings and bracelets) when you are involved in active sports, hard knocks can damage or scratch it; don't wear your jewelry in swimming pools and Jacuzzis.

Now for the do’s; do enjoy your gold jewelry; do take care of your gold jewelry; do have it checked by a jeweler at least once a year for loose prongs, worn mountings and general wear; do have it professionally cleaned periodically.   Between visits to your jeweler, it’s important that you check your jewelry pieces each time you wear them, just look them over for any wear or damage, such as clasps that are not fastening securely, prongs that may be cracked, bent or loosened, and chains that may be kinked.   If you find any of these conditions, a visit to your jeweler is suggested. 

What is the proper care for gold jewelry you ask?  We have a few tips and will share them with you, as well as a few home recipes for cleaning fine gold jewelry, past on to me by my mother.   Mom did not live in the city, she did not live in a town, she was a country woman and as such she had many home recipes and remedies.  Her usual routine for cleaning her fine gold jewelry was simple.  She used warm water and a mild detergent (used for dish washing), and a very soft brush to gently clean the items while they were in the water. 

Next step, gently dry it with a soft lint-free cloth.  Voila, sparkling clean jewelry!  One other method she used was to make a solution of water and household ammonia (one part ammonia to six parts water) and let your jewelry soak for up to a minute, remove and dry with a soft cloth.

Of course there are commercial cleaners available today that make cleaning your jewelry a snap!  Many jewelers carry a commercial dip cleaner.  There are a lot of different brands of this type of cleaner, and you are best off to read the label and follow its directions.  Another commercial method is the ultrasonic cleaner, which is available in many different models and prices. 

They can be used to quickly clean your jewelry at home, however, ultrasonic cleaners can damage some jewelry.  We’ll cover a few of the delicate stones you need to be careful with later.  The best advice I can give you about the ultrasonic cleaners is that you should ask your jeweler which one is best for your jewelry and have your jeweler recommend an appropriate model.

Diamonds are a hardy stone, and can be cleaned using the above methods.  Do not use jewelry cleaner or ultrasonic cleaners on pearls and porous stones, such as emeralds, rubies, lapis lazuli, coral and turquoise.  Wipe them clean with a soft damp cloth or have them cleaned professionally.  Check with your jeweler if you have any doubts about a particular stone.

Proper storage is also important.  As I mentioned before gold can scratch and dent, so it is important that you not jumble all of your jewelry together – instead each piece should be stored so it does not come in contact with another piece of jewelry.  A fabric lined jewelry case or a box with compartments and dividers works well, but if you prefer to use an ordinary box, each piece should be kept in a soft cloth pouch or wrapped in a soft cloth. 

For those of you who travel frequently, there are many types of traveling carryalls on the market today.  They come in all sizes, shapes and patterns and most of them have velvet linings inside so you can attach pins and earrings, and compartments in which to place your bracelets, rings and necklaces.