Caring for your Precious Metal and Gemstone Jewellery

This guide provides advise on cleaning and caring for your gemstones, sterling silver, real gold and gold-plated jewellery.


Caring for your Gemstone

If your gemstone is set in karat gold jewellery, there are some important things you should know.  

PLEASE NOTE:  Our 30 days, no quibble refunds policy is conditional on you following the above advise.  Details on our refunds policy can be found here.

Here's some helpful do's and dont's when it comes to caring for your Gemstone Jewellery:

  • Do put your jewellery on last, after getting dressed and after applying any cosmetics. Cosmetics such as perfume and hairspray can damage porous gemstones.
  • Do not sleep in your gemstone jewellery. Prolonged contact with skin can cause an oily film to accumulate on gemstone jewellery.
  • Do keep your jewellery in a pouch designed for storing jewellery or in a jewellery armoire. This will help prevent stones from getting scratched or necklaces getting tangled.
  • Do not wear your jewellery in a swimming pool or in a hot tub. Exposure to chlorine can damage the jewellery metal as well as the gemstones.
  • Do not wear your jewellery when gardening or playing sports. Activities where gripping is frequent can deform rings and compromise gemstone settings. Perspiration can dull the lustre of gemstones.
  • Precious gems, with the exception of emeralds, are able to withstand professional cleaning and the effects of daily wear and hold their polish beautifully.
  • You should avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner or commercial jewellery cleaner on your emeralds as these may remove the oils that the emeralds have been treated with. 
    • Storing your emeralds in the right way is equally as important. Always make sure you wrap your emerald jewellery individually in tissue or soft cloth and keep separate from the rest of your jewellery. 

    With simple care and attention to the nature of your gemstone, its beauty will last a lifetime and beyond.


    Caring for your Sterling Silver

    Genuine sterling silver jewellery is subject to stringent international standards in material quality and manufacturing procedures.

    STERLING SILVER, 925 Silver

    Sterling Silver consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper or zinc.  All the products we sell at Gem Sleuth are stamped with a quality mark.  The higher the purity of silver, the more quickly it will tarnish.  Tarnishing (also known as oxidation) is a result of oxygen or sulphur coming into contact with sterling silver. Some of our items are intentionally oxidized to create depth in the filigree or to highlight certain details on a piece of jewellery.

    Oxygen and moisture in the air will tarnish Sterling Silver Jewellery, so it's important to properly store your jewellery to help minimize the oxidation process. Here are a few storage tips:

    • Store in an area with low humidity (no bathroom storage).
    • Store each piece in an airtight (Ziploc) bag.
    • Place a packet of silica or piece of chalk in the storage bag.
    • Keep clasps/closures unhooked to avoid moisture buildup.
    • You should remove your Sterling Silver jewellery before working out, swimming, washing and showering, sunbathing, applying hairspray or hair products, putting on lotion and makeup
    Even the best-cared-for jewellery will sometimes require cleaning. Polishing your sterling silver jewellery will typically be the best way to clean it. Be sure to do the following:
    • Use a special non-abrasive cloth to avoid scratching.
    • Move to a new section of the cloth regularly.
    • Avoid areas that are intentionally oxidised as part of the design.
    • Do not rub in a circular pattern -  follow the grain of the silver.


    Caring for your 9K, 18K Gold Jewellery

    The purity of gold is measured in karats. 24 karat is pure gold; any karat below this is a gold alloy, a mix of gold and other metals.
    The colour of gold – yellow gold, white gold or rose gold is achieved through the mix of metals in the alloy. By definition, it isn’t possible to find 24 karat white or rose gold.
    As an alloy with the lowest gold to metal ratio (9 parts gold, 15 parts metal), 9 karat gold makes the most durable gold jewellery, suitable for daily wear and most resistant to scratching.

    Yellow gold is a precious metal with warmth and lustre. It can be kept clean and lustrous with a specialist cleaning cloth or fluid. Periodic specialist cleaning and polishing by your jeweller is also recommended. As with other precious metals avoid exposing your gold jewellery to chlorinated water (from swimming pools or hot-tubs) and household cleaning products.  

    White gold is a precious metal that is both beautiful and popular. The white lustre is enhanced by rhodium plating (rhodium is a member of the platinum family) which with general wear will fade over time. Therefore white gold requires a higher maintenance to retain its lustre. 


    Caring for your Gold-Plated Jewellery

    With plated jewellery, a layer of real gold is applied to another metal so it has the same appearance. For most items sold by Gem Sleuth this plating is added to a base of Sterling Silver.

    Due to the fact that this jewellery has a layer of gold on it, different care is needed than with sterling silver or real gold pieces. And, be aware that, in time, the plating can wear off, especially if not taken care of properly.  Here's our advise:

    Remove all gold plated jewellery when doing pretty much anything that involves heat or, swimming, exercise....and anything else you can think of where the jewellery may get wet.

    After bathing/showering, wait until you're dry before putting on your gold plated jewels and apply all lotions and perfumes on before putting the jewellery on.

    Different chemicals in lotions and perfumes can seriously tarnish jewellery. It's best to avoid tarnish with gold plated items as they aren't as easy to clean as silver and gold pieces.

    Store gold plated jewellery in the box it came in. Don't chuck it in your jewellery box with everything else as the friction of rubbing up against other metals can wear away at the layer of gold. And leaving it lying around increases the risk of tarnishing.

    Don't sleep in your gold plated jewellery for the same friction-y reasons!

    DON'T use any abrasives to clean your gold plated jewellery! So ignore all of the advice online to use baking soda or a toothbrush to clean your gold plated items and instead spray some  window cleaner onto a piece of kitchen towel and gently rub it over your metal. 

    Lastly, if your plating has worn off your jewellery, which can happen eventually, you can always have it re-plated. It's not an expensive thing to have done and will look as good as new.