Cleaning Gemstones & Diamonds
In time dust, pollution and daily wear will degrade the quality of fine jewellery. You can avoid the loss of stones from worn-down prongs and restore the brilliance of gold and platinum to its former glory by bringing your jewellery back to us for professional servicing once a year.
Although gemstones and diamonds are quite durable, they do need care and regular cleaning. To sparkle and glisten gems require light to reflect and refract through the stone, this acts with wave lengths of light to produce colours, beauty and refraction. The smallest deposit of dust or grease on the surface of a stone can dull its reflection; even the light touch of a finger will leave a smudge of natural oil. We recommend a professional clean once a year but to keep your jewels shimmering. Between visits you can use a mild solution of six parts water to one part ammonia applied with a soft bristle jewellery brush to restore their natural brilliance. To clean Pearls, use a mild, non-detergent soap, lukewarm water and soft cloth, clean but do not soak, rinse well in clean warm water and allow to properly dry, preferable flat on a towel or moisture absorbing surface.
Day to Day Jewellery Care
Diamonds maybe the hardest mineral but they are brittle and can chip and fracture if hit with enough force. This is because most gem stones form as crystals which naturally have directional hardness. Gemstones can scratch other gems or jewellery, to prevent damage store your jewels in the separate compartments of a soft lined jewellery box or pouch and don’t stack rings or bracelets that are vulnerable to abrasion. Avoid tangling by keeping chains fastened and laid flat. If your ring is set with a soft gem or is heavily included it may be slightly weaker, remove it before household or heavy chores. Always apply your hairspray and perfume before putting on your jewellery as these substances contain alcohol or chemicals that act as solvents or chemical re-agents on certain materials, including gold plated, mother of pearl, amber, jet, coral and on porous gemstones such as turquoise, opals and pearls.
Pearls: Never store in airtight containers, plastic or plastic bags as they can deteriorate. Some plastics may even emit chemicals that can harm your pearls. Protect from temperature extremes and chemicals, such as alcohol and hairspray, as these can erode the surface. Wear your pearls often as they thrive on your skin. Avoid soaking in chlorinated water or any liquid. Re-string annually with a knot between each pearl. Storing them for long periods can dry them out and fracture the surface. Store your pearls flat, as opposed to hanging them thus avoiding stretching the thread prematurely.
Pin heavy brooches into material that is sturdy enough to take the weight. If necessary, pin into the strap of an undergarment and consider having safety chains fitted.
Ensure all your fine jewellery and watches are insured against loss, damage and repair. As part of our service Peter George Banks Jewellers include complementary first year insurance cover on all jewellery purchases, activated from the moment you leave the store. We can extend this insurance and add other items or collections to deliver a bespoke insurance package to suit your individual needs.
Precious Metals Care
Pure gold is naturally yellow, to give it a more white appearance most gold is alloyed with copper, zinc, nickel or silver. Salt in skin acids and other chemicals picked up in daily life create an oxidizing or tarnishing effect, usually the less pure the gold the more noticeable the tarnish or dullness. White gold is enhanced by rhodium plating to give a highly reflective shine which is eroded with genera
l wear but can be restored by re-plating. We recommend bringing back your white gold pieces for regular re-plating. Avoid household bleach which causes gold to discolour and examine settings, clasps and joinings regularly to make sure they are secure.
Platinum usually shows the least oxidization or tarnish because of its purity and composition but can be maintained using a non abrasive cleaner. Over time platinum develops a natural patina, an as-new dullness that can be restored by bringing our professional servicing. Always store gold and platinum pieces separately to avoid scratching and abrasion.
Silver is tarnished by sulfur-containing materials, particularly hydrogen sulfide and commonly salt air. The most common tarnish-causing elements are salt in skin acids, chlorine from swimming pools, wool, felt, foods like eggs, onions plus fossil fuel materials like rubber bands, latex gloves, textiles etc. Regular cleaning and polishing will retain the beauty and lustre of your silver jewellery. Some dip polishes contain harsh chemicals so wash silver by hand in warm water with mild detergent and polish up with a soft cotton cloth. For more tarnished pieces please talk to one of our consultants about our professional cleaning services. When properly cleaned silver must be kept dry and properly stored in sealed plastic bags – it will be less prone to tarnishing caused by over exposure to light and air.
To ensure accuracy and maintain its appearance a watch needs to be serviced every year or two (ask us about your particular brand and model). Some watches will keep going fine for years without needing repair, but don’t take a risk; there could be problems of wear building up that will make eventual overhaul more difficult or impracticable. Batteries should only be replaced by approved service agents like ourselves. Unless the degree of water resistance is clearly defined or marked on your watch or in the product manual, don't risk wearing it in the shower or pool. ‘Water resistant’ is not the same as ‘Waterproof’. No matter how handy you are, don't attempt any 'do-it-yourself' watch repairs or even take a peek inside. Only an expert watchmaker should be trusted to put your watch back into working condition if there is a problem.
Buying Gold & Platinum
Most people are confused by the difference between 9 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat gold. They know that the higher carats are more expensive, but they are often not clear why.
Our guide explains how gold carats are used to indicate how much gold is in jewellery.
The purity of gold is measured in carats. Gold carats are always measured in twenty-fourths. Pure gold has 24 carats - that is 24/24 parts by mass is gold. You tend to find pure 24 carat gold only in gold bullion slabs. You never get 24 carat jewellery because it is so soft the particles would rub off on your skin the more you wore it, becoming thin after prolonged usage. To make jewellery suitable for general wear and tear, gold is blended with copper, silver and sometimes nickel to harden it. The carats tell you how much other metal has been added. Common measurements once the alloy is added are 18 carat (75% gold), 14 carat (58.5%), and 9 carat (37.5%). A higher carat measurement in gold content indicates a greater value of the jewellery piece.
· Gold Colour
Gold is a bright shiny yellow metal. The more you add other metals the duller it gets. You can tell by the colour what other metals have been added. Yellow gold is the most common colour and is usually alloyed with silver and copper. Yellow and white gold are similar in strength and malleability, making them perfect for jewellery that is worn daily. White gold is alloyed with nickel, copper and zinc and while it looks similar to platinum, it has vastly different properties. Rose-coloured gold is alloyed with copper and is often used to accent white or yellow gold. The saturation of colour varies from piece to piece and according to gold content.
Platinum is the most durable of fine jewellery metals and is 35 times more rare than gold. It does not chip or splinter easily, making it perfect for diamond and gemstone settings. It is similar in colour to white gold, but compared side by side, the difference is clear. Platinum jewellery is usually 90% pure platinum with 10% iridium or palladium alloy, is hypoallergenic and does not fade or tarnish. To guarantee its quality, each piece should be stamped with a Hallmark.
To guarantee the quality of gold and platinum each piece of quality jewellery is stamped with a Hallmark. Gold jewellery should always be stamped with the carat mark, either 750 (the marking for 18ct), 585 (the marking for 14ct), or 375 (the marking for 9ct). In addition, to assure its quality, the piece should also be stamped with the sponsor's or maker's mark and the mark of the Assay Office where the piece was authenticated if it weighs over 1g. Items under 1g in metal weight do not (legally) require hallmarking.