Care & Cleaning at Home

Cleaning Precious Metals

What Metals Do We Use?

Gold...24 karat gold is 100% gold and is considered too soft for jewelry. It is alloyed with other metals to increase its durability and workability. 18 karat gold is 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of other metal (75% gold) and 14 karat gold is 14 part of gold and 10 parts of other metals (58.5% gold).  Different alloys are used to change the color of gold for example, white gold is alloyed with nickel, manganese or palladium and rose gold is alloyed with copper.

Silver...Fine silver (99.9% pure) is alloyed with other metals to give it strength. The sterling silver standard of 925 contains 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other metals, some of which inhibit tarnish. Sterling silver will tarnish or oxidize naturally.

Platinum is one of the rarest of earths metals. It's strength makes it an excellent choice for setting diamonds. Platinum jewelry marked Platinum, PT or Plat means that it contains 95% pure platinum. Platinum content may also be 999 for 99.9% pure platinum, 950 for 95%, 900 for 90% and so on. Platinum’s purity makes it hypoallergenic and the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s durability makes it ideal for wearing every day, as it sustains very little metal loss over a lifetime of wear.

How Are Metals Cleaned and Polished?

The best way to restore the luster of metal is with a jeweler’s polishing cloth which contains polishing compounds in a two step process. Use the side of the polishing cloth containing the polishing compound first, rubbing it repeatedly over all surfaces. The turn the polishing cloth over to expose the buffing side of the cloth, rubbing all surfaces to remove the compound and restoring the jewelry to a lustrous shine.

Our Pyramid Studios Klean Karats polishing cloths have a special wave pattern and are impregnated with an extremely fine polishing compound. They last an extremely long time even when they appear dirty. 

Ionic cleaners will remove surface tarnish and are safer on most gemstones than ultrasonic cleaners. When using any cleaning machine, read the directions thoroughly before you risk damaging gemstones.Soft, porous gemstones, emeralds, ancient tusk and pearls can be damaged when using these machines.

Periodically your jewelry can be professionally polished by Pyramid Studios or a professional jeweler on a buffing wheel.

What are the best ways to care for precious metal jewelry?

Separate your jewelry when putting it away to protect against scratching.The best place for your jewelry is fabric lined jewelry box kept in a clean, dry place.

Take off your jewelry before showering or doing dishes. Soap and detergents can cause a film to form on your jewelry, making it appear dull or dingy. 

Take off your jewelry before swimming or in the hot tub. Chlorine can cause pitting or discoloration of the metal. 

Check clasps, hinges or other mechanisms to make sure they work freely and have not become worn. It is safer to replace a worn clasp than risk the loss of the entire piece. 

Hang serpentine or herringbone chains to prevent kinking and bending.

Read the instructions carefully before using commercial jewelry cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners to make sure it is recommended for the particular piece you are cleaning.

Insure your jewelry to protect against loss, damage or theft. The best insurance is a policy that specifically covers jewelry. We recommend Jeweler's Mutual. 

      Diamond Jewelry Care and Cleaning

      Only clean diamonds sparkle!

      Clean diamonds sparkle because the maximum amount of light can enter the stone and return in an fiery brilliance. It takes just a little care to keep them that way. Diamond engagement and wedding rings are often worn 24 hours a day. Although diamonds are durable, they can get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps and natural skin oils can put a film on diamonds and cut down their brilliance.

      What are the best ways to care for and clean diamond jewelry? 

      Take off diamond jewelry while doing rough work or sports. Even though the diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, it can still be chipped by a sharp, sudden blow. The metal of the diamond's setting, particularly prongs, can be bent or broken.

      Take off diamond jewelry while washing dishes or doing housework. Household chemicals can damage or discolor the mounting.

      Take off your diamond jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool, hot tub or shower. Chlorine can dame and discolor the mounting too.

      Do not  clean your diamond with toothpaste which contains abrasives that could damage the metal mounting the diamond is set in.

      Avoid touching your clean diamond with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.

      Clean your diamond jewelry using a commercial jewelry cleaner,or a mix of ammonia and water or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under the setting. Dirt accumulates under the stone in the mounting which can dramatically cut down on the diamond's sparkle.

        Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning

        Different gemstones have different properties so their care and cleaning requirements may vary. If in doubt, ask us how to clean jewelry with a particular stone or stones.

        What are the best ways to care for gemstone jewelry? 

        Don't let your colored stone jewelry come in contact with heat, detergents, chlorine, cosmetics or chemicals. All of these substances can pit and discolor the metal and in some cases ruin the gemstone.

        Apply all cosmetics, perfumes and colognes before putting gemstone jewelry on. Make sure to wipe your gemstones after wear to remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration.

        Before using a jewelry cleaner or ultrasonic machine, read the instructions very carefully to make sure it is recommended for the particular stone your are cleaning.

        Use a soft brush to dislodge dirt in crevices of the setting.

        Take off your jewelry when doing rough work. If you have an active lifestyle, take extra precautions with some types of gemstones.

        Don't subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes.

          What gemstones require special care?

          Gems that are soft or porous should not come in contact with detergents, solvents, chlorine, chemicals or heat. Examples of these stones are amber, coral, pearls, opal, turquoise, malachite and lapis. Using an ultrasonic cleaner on some of these stones will ruin them.

          Emeralds are typically oiled to enhance clarity and should not be subjected to heat (steam cleaning) or solvents. Most jewelry cleaners contain detailed information on what stones are recommended and not recommended for cleaning. When in doubt, please ask us for information on your particular stone.

          How does a gemstone's hardness affect their care?

          The harder the gem, the less vulnerable it is to potential damage. A diamond, for example, is the hardest gem known to man, and that's one reason why "diamonds are forever". Hardness is based on a gem-trade standard called the Mohs Scale, developed in the early 19th century.

          The scale is structured so that materials rated at each higher number can scratch substances with lower numbers. Diamonds are rated the highest at 10; rubies and sapphires are Mohs 9; emerald and topaz 8; and garnet, tourmalines and quartz 7.  Anything softer than a 7 can be scratched, including opal, turqouise, lapis, coral and pearl. Gold, silver and platinum are only Mohs 2 1/2 to 4, which means that they require special care when wearing, storing or cleaning.

          How I clean ancient walrus or ancient mammoth tusk jewelry?

          Due to the natural state of ancient ivory, clean only with a clean soft cloth.  Care should be taken not to get black from the silver on the cloth as this can transfer to the ivory. 

          Do not use jewelry cleaners, chemicals, soaps, or detergents on the ivory. 

          You may clean the ivory using a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently wipe the ivory.  As ivory is a porous, organic material, you may want to lightly treat it with a light coating of olive oil every few years.

          To remove tarnish from the sterling silver, use a Q-tip and apply jewelry cleaner only to the silver, taking care not to get any cleaner on the ivory.

          It is important to store your ivory out of direct sunlight, and to avoid extreme heat, moisture and soaking.


          Pearl Jewelry Care and Cleaning

          The key to caring for your pearls is to protect the pearl's surface, or nacre. Pearls are formed by oysters or mussels on farms mostly found in Japan, China and the South Seas. They are composed of concentric layers of a crystalline substance called nacre. It is this nacre that gives the pearl its lustrous iridescence and accounts for much of the pearl's beauty.

          What are the best ways to care for and clean pearl jewelry? 

          Put on pearls after applying cosmetics, hair spray and perfume.

          Don't wear pearls with other chains or necklaces which could easily scratch the pearls on contact.

          Store pearls in pouches or a soft cloth before putting them in a jewelry box. They are easily scratched by hard metal edges or harder stones of other jewelry.

          Take off  pearls when doing dishes, housework or going to the gym. Chemicals or chlorine can damage the nacre and loosen pearls in settings. Cleaning your pearls Never clean pearls with chemicals, abrasives or most jewelry cleaners. After each wearing, wash your pearls with a good cleaner made especially for pearls or Woolite. This will help remove perspiration, lotions or other cosmetics that could damage the nacre. Immerse pearls in cleaner and agitate slightly, then rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. Allow to dry before putting them away.

          Pearls that are worn regularly should be restrung periodically. Pearls are typically strung on silk or other cord which can weaken and stretch over time.  It's a good idea to have your pearls restrung with a knot between each pearl. This will prevent the loss of pearls if the silk or cord should break and prevents the pearls from wearing against each other.