Because pure, 24-karat gold is naturally soft, it's often combined with other metals, including copper, to create a sturdier alloy. No matter if your gold jewelry is pure, 18 karat or even 10 karat, it must be cleaned properly to prevent scratches and discolorations. If your piece is adorned with a gemstone setting, it's important not to soak the gold jewelry, as this can cause your pearl, diamond or emerald to become dislodged and even lost.
Create a mixture of 3 cups lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon mild dish soap in a small bowl. Stir the water to incorporate the dish soap. Mild dish soap contains no dyes or perfumes.
Dampen a soft-bristled toothbrush with the soapy water and scrub off the gold jewelry. Pay attention to remove any caked lotion, dirt or debris from beneath the setting. Rinse off the gold under a cool tap and examine the piece. If any dirt or debris remains, pass over it with the dampened toothbrush. Dry the gold with a lint-free cloth.
Rinse off the gold and clean the gemstone or diamond with a damp, lint-free cloth soaked with plain water. Never clean gemstones with the toothbrush to avoid leaving behind small scratches. According to Ben Bridge Jewelers, it's especially important never to use abrasive cleansing products or even mild soap to clean coral, amber, emerald, jade, lapis lazuli, pearl or opal.
Dry the gemstone with a lint-free cloth. Set the gold piece on a lint-free cloth and allow it to air-dry overnight. Store your gold piece in a small velvet sachet, plastic baggie or separate compartment in your jewelry box or armoire. Never store the gold with other jewelry, as this soft metal is easily scratched by hard gemstones, such as diamonds.
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- Avoid cleaning your gold jewelry featuring gemstones in a home ultrasonic cleaner. The powerful vibrations can damage or loosen the setting.
Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.
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