Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Care and Feeding of your Jewelry



Yesterday I wrote about the glory of the natural stone. How it has an organic look that is perfect for spring and spring fashions. One of the important things to remember about natural stone jewelry is that it takes a gentle touch when caring and cleaning these types of stones. As an example, diamonds which are the hardest known natural mineral are a 10 on the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale rates the hardness of minerals from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). The ability for the mineral to resist scratching determines where it sits on this scale. Natural stones can be relatively soft.


A pearl is quite porous and also soft. It has a Mohs scale rating of about 2.5. In comparison, an opal is 5.5 and quartz is a 7. Knowing where your natural stone sit on the Mohs scale is important. How hard a piece of jewelry is denotes how it should be cared for and also how it is stored. Since diamonds are very hard, it probably isn’t a good idea to store diamonds and pearls together as the diamonds may scratch the pearls and ruin their luster. By the same token cleaning diamond with mild chemicals in an ultrasonic cleaner is okay; cleaning pearls in the same manner will damage them beyond repair.


Natural stones need special care. It is probably best to stay away from any liquids, especially jewelry cleaning solutions. You can usually wipe natural stones with a soft jewelry cleaning cloth. Many jewelers include these clothes with purchase and if not, they are usually available for a small fee on an on-line store such as Amazon.com. A jewelry cleaning cloth is also effective for cleaning diamonds and giving them an extra sparkle between ultrasonic cleanings so it’s a wise investment. Storing natural stones is important also since they are not as durable as other minerals. Even storing gemstones that are comparable on the Mohs scale together can lead to scratches or chips to the surface of the stones.


While the Mohs scale is not an exact measurement of the durability of a gemstone or mineral it gives a person the ability to determine the usage, care and storage of their jewelry. Since a delicate stone can be damaged more easily it should be stored wrapped in a soft cloth or padded box away from other jewelry that may damage its finish. Also a soft stone such as opal or calcite, a 3 on the Mohs scale, should be worn with care and make better necklaces and earrings then rings or bracelets as it is easier to scratch jewelry on our hands then around our necks or hanging on our ears. Knowing how to care and store your jewelry is half the battle and will increase the life of every piece you own. It’s important to take care of your precious and beloved pieces because we want to wear them for as long as possible.

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