Sterling Silver is the most widely used metal in jewellery; it is typically of 92.5% purity which is also known as sterling silver. Silver is a relatively soft metal and as such can be misshapen relatively easily, for this reason rings and bracelets should be removed when undertaking physical activity. All silver oxidizes causing tarnishing when it comes in contact with certain chemicals, it is particularly important to avoid minerals associated with thermal hot springs and chlorinated water as they can cause severe tarnishing. As with all jewellery, apply hair spray and perfume before wearing your jewellery. Silver jewellery can be cleaned using mild detergent and water, but to remove tarnishing we recommend Hagerty silver cleaning products. It is important to store sterling silver items separately in sealed plastic bags to avoid tarnishing and reduce scratching.
Gold in its purest form is a very soft, for this reason when used in jewellery it is often mixed with other metals. As a greater proportion of other metals is added to gold, the lower the carat, and the more hard wearing the gold becomes. As such, the higher the carat the more care that needs to be taken with the jewellery. Similarly to silver, it is important to store all pieces separately in sealed plastic bags to avoid scratching, and to avoid contact with chlorinated water and other chemicals. As with all jewellery rings and bracelets will encounter the most wear due to where they are worn, so these will require the most care. At Walker and Hall, we can clean your gold jewellery free of charge. If you prefer to do this at home, we recommend you use a soft toothbrush and a solution of detergent and hot water. Be sure to rinse and dry the jewellery thoroughly.
As gold is naturally a yellow colour other metals such as palladium are sometimes added to it to make it whiter in appearance. As it never achieves a pure white colour most white gold is electro plated in a solution of rhodium. Rhodium adheres very well to gold and is extremely hard wearing, on bracelets and rings however it will over time wear away. This would normally happen over 9 -12 months depending on wear, replating is very straight forward can be arranged for you by Walker and Hall.
Not only is platinum more expensive than gold but in jewellery, it is also used in higher purity, normally 95%. This high level of purity gives platinum hypoallergenic properties this is particularly relevant as white gold, an alternative to platinum, can sometimes create reactions with sensitive skin. Platinum is also a very hard metal, for this reason you might presume it would maintain its shine, this is however not the case. All metals will scratch and because of platinum’s hardness it will tend to maintain its scratches, this gives platinum a duller natural state of wear than softer metals such as gold and silver. For this reason platinum will need to be polished more regularly and will occasionally need an emery polish to remove the deeper scratches, this may need to be done every 6 -9 months. As mentioned earlier this applies primarily to rings and bracelets which receive the most wear.
It is important to protect your pearls from chemicals as they will affect the nacre of the pearl, you should apply perfume and hair spray before putting on your pearls. Avoid exposing your pearls to moisture as it will affect the stringing on necklaces and bracelets and hot water will affect the adhesion of the glue in rings and earrings. Depending on how often your pearls are worn, it is recommended they are restrung every 12-18 months. After restringing pearl strands can appear slightly stiff but after being worn they will settle and lie normally.
Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man they can however be damaged. Hardness refers to the ability of a material to resist scratches and toughness refers to the ability to resist breaking. Diamonds are extremely hard and cannot be scratched but they can be chipped and shattered. For this reason it is important to remove your diamond jewellery when undertaking activities where they may be damaged.