What a great moment this is. You’ve just acquired a beautiful piece of jewelry which, with proper care, could be in your family for generation after generation. There are, however, certain things you need to know to make your jewelry a lasting heirloom.
To begin with, jewelry is not indestructible and gold is a soft metal. That is why alloys are added to give it strength. If you’d like to know what percentage of gold is included in your jewelry, take the karatage of the gold, for instance 14K, and divide it by 24K (the karatage of pure gold). In this case you’ll get .583 or 58.3%. Generally speaking, yellow gold alloys are copper and fine silver; in white gold they’re copper, nickel and zinc. Iridium (5% to 15%) or Ruthenium (5%) are commonly mixed with platinum to make it harder and more suitable for jewelry wear.
If you’ve worn a ring for any length of time, you know that it will “go out of round”. It’s equally as common for a prong to bend, perhaps by hooking it while getting into a car when your entire weight is shifting in one direction. The precious metals used in jewelry also scratch very easily, including platinum. We recommend that you bring your piece of jewelry into Iowa Diamond about every six months or so for it to be professionally inspected and given a thorough cleaning. This is one of the free lifetime services we provide for items purchased at our store.
Regarding cleaning and keeping your jewelry looking beautiful, here are a few things you should know. First of all, diamonds attract grease and oil naturally, in fact, rough diamonds are separated from other stones and dirt by passing the mined materials over a grease belt. The diamonds stick to the grease while the rest is washed away. Similarly, your diamonds will become coated with grease and oil when they are immersed in dishwater or when they come in contact with lotions and even skin oils.
There are several easy and safe ways to keep your diamond jewelry looking great. The simplest is to wash it in warm sudsy water using a mild detergent and then drying it with a lint-free, soft cloth (avoid using brushes because they can scratch the gold). Jewelry cleaning solutions, ammonia solutions, and ethyl alcohol may also be used. Alcohol evaporates quickly and won’t leave water spots. Ammonia also brightens metals, especially yellow gold. WARNING: Alcohol and ammonia may damage other gems, so call Iowa Diamond before using them on anything but diamonds.
Chlorine and other chemicals will pit and eventually dissolve gold alloys, making your jewelry dangerously weak and susceptible to prong breakage and stone loss. Do not wear your jewelry in hot tubs nor swimming pools. Take your jewelry off when using laundry detergent or cleaning products and NEVER clean jewelry with bleach.
Additionally, please be strongly advised to contact your insurance agent and obtain all risk, low deductible, personal property insurance on all of your important jewelry items, no matter where they were purchased and no matter what warranties and guarantees were represented.
When you bring your jewelry to Iowa Diamond for cleaning, we will first check the stones to make certain none are loose. Then, in order to clean encrusted soil, we will use an ultrasonic cleaning machine that shakes dirt loose with a vibrating detergent solution set into motion by high-frequency sound waves, followed by bursts of steam from an industrial strength steam cleaner. Note: Severely cracked diamonds, emeralds, opals, pearls, malachite, tanzanite, moonstone, lapis lazuli and coral, among others, may be damaged by ultrasonic and steam cleaners and, therefore, they shouldn’t be used for cleaning jewelry items which include these gemstones.
Normally, it will only take a few minutes for us to clean your jewelry. Occasionally, however, it can take hours to effectively clean diamond jewelry and, in fact, there are times when ultrasonic and steam cleaners simply can’t do the job completely. In such instances, our Master Craftsman will make recommendations tailored to the individual piece of jewelry. You can avoid risky cleaning procedures by cleaning your jewelry about once a week for items worn daily, less often for occasionally worn items.
For those who appreciate beauty, jewelry can give great pleasure. It may represent the feelings a couple have for each other, an important milestone in life, or a great achievement. And, with a little due respect and care, it can outlast us all.
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