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Fine Handcrafted Jewelry and Helpful Extras

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How to Clean Jewelry

Soft Gemstones

Most of the gemstones used in ColorSpark jewelry need gentle cleaning by hand with gentle cleansers, and never in an ultrasonic, ionic or steam cleaner. Use a light touch to avoid removing or scratching the waxed and polished surface of the gemstones.

In high-quality necklaces, 5mm and larger gemstone beads are strung on doubled silk thread so the strands drape gracefully, and hand-knotted so only a few beads will drop off if the thread breaks. Silk is used because it's the strongest natural fiber, it has an appealing subtle sheen, and it remains flexible even when knotted. As with all silk, though, it will be damaged if it gets soaking wet. To avoid that, never immerse your necklaces in water; instead, wipe the beads with a slightly damp cloth while the necklace is laying flat.

If more cleaning is needed, rub gently with a cotton swab that has been dipped into a diluted non-phosphate dishwashing liquid such as Dawn, Ivory or Simple Green, and then wipe off. Lay the piece flat on a cotton cloth until you're sure it's completely dry. Then wrap in jewelers' anti-tarnish tissue and seal it in an airtight plastic bag for storage. This is especially helpful if silver is in the piece of jewelry you're cleaning.

If pearls or opals are part of the jewelry, wrap each piece in anti-tarnish tissue and put it into a plastic bag, but don't seal the bag. Those gems need moisture from the air to maintain their special luster.

Storing Necklaces

Store your clean jewelry flat rather than hanging to help avoid stretching the silk thread. The stretching can take a long time, and depends on the weight of the stones, how well made the necklace or bracelet is to start with, how often you wear the piece, and how it's stored. When gaps show between the beads (and it's so noticeable it bothers you), it's time to have the piece restrung.

Additional Tips About Cleaning Jewelry

Never use toothpaste to clean jewelry. You may have seen toothpaste recommended elsewhere, but it's never a good idea to use toothpaste to clean jewelry because even the gentlest toothpaste contains abrasives that will harm jewelry. I've also seen baking soda recommended as a cleaning agent, and again, that's too abrasive. It's best to use a gentle liquid detergent carefully applied if your jewelry needs more cleaning than just a wipe with a damp cloth.

Cleaning Soft Gemstones:

  • Soft stones absorb and are damaged by chemicals so always put your jewelry on after applying perfume or lotions.
  • Store each piece of jewelry flat, wrapped in jewelers' tissue and in its own plastic bag.
  • After wearing, wipe gently with a cotton cloth.
  • Use a slightly damp cotton swab if more precise cleaning is needed.
  • Do not clean soft gemstones in an ultrasonic, ionic or steam cleaner.
  • Do not use toothpaste or baking soda as a cleaner for any jewelry.
  • Feel the chill when you first put on a necklace of gemstones; the initial coolness is a sign that the beads are natural stones and not man-made synthetics.
  • Wear the rich colors of gemstones, the earth's treasures, with confidence!