Alpha Gem Lab
Closed Wednesdays and weekends.
Hand lotions, soaps , hair styling products.and dirt can become trapped in the crevices of your jewelry. Some substances will leave a film on your stones. Diamonds set in gold are the easiest to clean. Colored stones and organic materials should be treated cautiously or taken to your jeweler for cleaning.
Keep in mind that diamonds can break and chip. Yes, they do! They are considered the hardest substance, but they are not the toughest substance. You can take a hammer to a diamond and break it into many different pieces. None of them will have a scratch on them. Diamond is hard. You can take that same hammer and attack a piece of Jadeite. You will be hard pressed to break it, but it will look like you have been hammering on it all day. Jadeite is tough.
So while your diamond ring can take SOME abuse, try not to hurt it. Assuming your diamond has not been clarity-enhanced in any way, the best way to clean it is with hot (boiling) water, a dash of cleaner and a soft toothbrush. Here at the lab, I have a solution of one-quarter Mr. Clean to three-quarters hot water and a kid's toothbrush. Let the item soak, then rinse with water over a closed drain while using the toothbrush to dislodge grime and film. It has also been suggested to use a Water Pik to flush out the dirt and grime. If you try this, make sure to keep the item submerged or you will end up spraying water all over the room.
Some experts suggest ammonia and wateror toothpaste. I have found that these leave a film on the item. It is best to stay away from any solution that has bleach in it. While it won't hurt diamonds, it will attack the alloys in gold and make it more brittle. Then, you'll risk stones falling out of their mounting.
Organic materials (such as pearls, coral and ivory) or sensitive gemstones (such as emeralds, opals, turquoise) are best left to the experts. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and let a professional do it.
While the professional is cleaning your jewelry, he/she can also check to make sure that the setting is tight and secure. Many gemstones, especially diamonds, are harder than the metal they are in. If they are loose and spinning around, they will eventually wear away enough metal to allow them to fall out. The setting should be checked about every 12-18 months.
Precautions while storing or traveling:
We are all creatures of habit and a little bit lazy. When you take your jewelry off at night, put it away safely. Items left on a counter or wrapped in a tissue are easily thrown away without knowing it. This is especially true if you are in a hotel room. Buy a special pouch to keep with you at all times. This should be worn on your body, not kept in your purse or pocket. It is also suggested that you have current appraisals to use as verification if need be.
Chains should be hung to avoid tangling or kinking. Pearls strands that are worn often should occasionally be professionally restrung as the silk will stretch and break with time.