Jewellery care is straightforward in most cases. Generally speaking, most proprietary jewellery cleaning products may be used safely. As these involve putting the item into liquid, they MUST NOT BE USED on jewellery with closed settings – that is when you cannot see the back of all the stones through the back of the mounting. With so-called closed settings, mainly seen on antique or eastern and middle-eastern jewellery, liquid can get behind the stones, and cannot be removed. These items require special care, for which please contact us.
Special care also has to be taken with pearls, which may be affected by some jewellery cleaning products – so always read the label! Pearls do not like being sprayed with hair lacquer or perfume, so please put them on only when you have finished your toilette. If pearls are worn on a daily basis, they should be re-strung as often as annually.
An equally effective way of cleaning most jewellery, especially rings, is a little washing-up liquid in warm water, and an old soft toothbrush. Blow dry, or use a hair-dryer on a cool setting. Emeralds almost always have internal flaws, therefore they should NEVER be put in an electronic ultrasonic cleaning machine, nor should opals, and avoid sudden temperature changes.
Other organic jewellery – shells, coral, ebony, ivory, jet may be given the washing-up liquid treatment, provided they are not in closed settings. All sorts of substances have been used in antique jewellery, so if in the slightest doubt, please contact us, preferably with an email photo of the front and back of the item. We shall be happy to advise.
Ian Harris – N.Bloom & Son www.antiques.co.uk