Cleaning & Care
Care of Diamonds & Gemstones
Take care of your jewellery - try not to wear it when you are doing housework or other activities which might damage the piece.
Gems and precious metals need special care. Even though a gem may be millions of years old, once mined and worn, it is exposed to conditions and chemicals that can damage it. The harder the gem, the less vulnerable it is to potential damage. A diamond, for example, is the hardest gem known to man. Other gems can require some special care in order for them to appear at their best and to avoid being damaged.
Diamonds and other gemstones, in spite of their hardness, can be damaged, chipped or even broken if struck against a hard surface with sufficient force. So naturally, rings should be removed when working around machinery or during other work that might damage them, including working with harsh chemicals. It is also advisable to have the mounting checked once a year to make sure it has not become loose. This service is provided free at Unio.
Pearls - Always store your pearls separately from other jewellery. Ideally, pearls should be stored in a pearl box, pearl pouch, or a soft cloth. Perfumes and body powders can be detrimental to pearl. Alcohol in perfumes and the talc in powders can scuff the delicate surface of pearls, diminishing their lustre. It is not recommended to wear your pearls in the shower or in swimming pools as certain chemicals can be too harsh on the pearls.
Solid Opals - Opal is a soft stone, approximately the same hardness as glass, so it is important to treat your opal carefully in order to avoid damage. Remove your opal jewellery if there is a chance it will be scratched or broken (i.e. working in the garden, moving furniture, etc.)
Many people believe solid opals can be damaged by water - however, this only applies to doublets and triplets.(If you are not sure whether your Opal is a solid, doublet or triplet - look at the back of the opal - if it is the same colour as the front - it is solid - if you can see a black back or 'layers' then it is a doublet or triplet) Solid opals are fine in water. In fact, most precious opals contain about 5-6% water. As a result, opal may crack if subjected to very dry conditions or rapid changes in temperature. Try to avoid very high temperatures or low humidity extremes, such as boiling water or low humidity bank vaults.
Doublets & Triplets - Caring for doublets or triplets is a little different to caring for solid opals. Because doublets and triplets consist of multiple layers glued together, prolonged exposure to water will eventually cause lifting between the layers and the infiltration of water. A doublet or triplet will take on a 'foggy' or grey appearance if this happens. This does not mean your opal will be ruined if you wear it in the shower once, or are caught in the rain. It takes prolonged exposure to cause water damage to a doublet or triplet.
Cleaning Gold Jewellery & Diamond Rings
"How do I clean my jewellery?" This is a common question asked by customers, particularly diamond rings and gold jewellery.
There is no simple answer and if in doubt you should contact us at Unio, but simply, different jewellery items require slightly different treatment.
When jewellery is worn next to the skin, it will become covered and clogged in oils and dead skin. Dust and grit become lodged in this. Wearing rings while washing up can also allow a greasy film to coat the backs of stones, and the inside of settings.
The main purpose of cleaning jewellery is to remove all this greasy debris.
Cleaning jewellery CAN loosen settings when the dirt is removed, so get your stones checked for tightness to ensure they are not dislodged. Contact Unio for a FREE clean and check.
Most gold jewellery can be cleaned in warm soapy water, and can be gently brushed if necessary using an old tooth brush.
High carat alloys such as 18 carat and above, will not usually become tarnished, and will not be harmed by household chemicals.
Lower carat gold can be harmed by contact with chlorine based bleach and cleaning chemicals.
Chlorine can cause stress corrosion cracking in lower gold alloys of 14 carat and below, although it will be worse if the jewellery contains porosity through less than perfect manufacturing treatments. Because of this it is best to avoid cleaning your jewellery with bleach or other cleaners containing chlorine, and also to avoid wearing it when in contact with bleach.
Diamonds are almost impossible to damage, the only precaution which should be observed is to avoid two diamonds rubbing together during cleaning, as they can scratch and cause abrasion to each other.
Reasonable care should be taken not to catch diamond settings with filaments of thread, particularly strong synthetic threads which may bend claws, and loosen the stones they are meant to be securing.
To remove caked-on grease and other dirt from the backs of stones, we recommend an old toothbrush and warm soapy water.
Ruby and Sapphire are cleaned in much the way as diamonds and they require no special care. Emaralds must be cleaned by a jeweller as they often contain fillers to hide fissures in the gem.
Cleaning Silver - Tarnishing
Pure silver is not used for most jewellery because it is too soft. Many other metals can be added to alloy silver into a material suitable for jewellery. The most common metal is copper, where a small percentage is added to strengthen the metal. This silver/copper blend is commonly known as Sterling Silver.
Unfortunately, the copper in the silver will cause the metal to tarnish or oxidise over time and an easy way to remove this tarnish is:-
In a bowl of warm water, place about a tablespoon of salt and a strip of aluminium foil. Leave until the silver regains its lustre. Wipe clean with a clean, non abrasive cloth.