In the dazzling competition of gemstones, emeralds often stand as a formidable contender, with their rich colours and timeless charm, as they come shoulder to shoulder with diamonds in the category of enduring sophistication. The intricate details of the cutting styles and captivating green hues of emerald jewellery are just a few of the many reasons this particular gemstone is such a coveted piece for jewellery collectors.
In Egypt, at least in 330 BC, the first recorded emerald mines were discovered. Their symbolism is heavily tied to fertility and rebirth, making them a precious status symbol for noble women in Ancient Egypt, with their mummies being buried with them to signify eternal youth. Today, emeralds are valued at a steep price thanks to their rarity. However, their specific value is also determined by other factors, such as their cutting styles and settings.
Collecting precious stones may be an expensive hobby, but it can also be a reliable form of investment to fund the rainy season. Thus, it is only appropriate to demand the same amount of special care and attention as their extravagant price to ensure that their beauty endures through the ages.
However, this timeless beauty cannot be achieved by mixing random cleaning agents and brushing them all throughout until they are nice and shiny. Before anything else, it is essential to understand what makes an emerald precious. You can learn more about their properties from this reference.
In a nutshell, this stone is made of various minerals called beryl. They are made from beryllium aluminium silicate and exhibit natural inclusions and fractures, commonly called Jardins. This makes emeralds more susceptible to breaking, even though they look and feel hard on the surface. As such, this priceless gem demands a delicate touch when being handled or cared for.
Cleaning and Maintenance
However, as a newbie jeweler, cleaning comes as an afterthought when you have just coveted precious gems. Not many can appreciate its delicate process, which demands meticulous attention to preserve the gemstone and the surrounding metalwork while maintaining the integrity of the stone. Here are simple steps that can be regularly done without calling for professional cleaners to do what could otherwise be minimal work.
Step 1: Create a mild soap solution
Mix lukewarm water and a small amount of mild, phosphate-free liquid soap to create a gentle cleaning solution. It is crucial to avoid any harsh chemicals in your solution, lest you damage both the emerald and the surrounding metal.
Step 2: Clean with a soft brush
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a brush specifically designed for jewellery cleaning to scrub the emerald and its setting gently. This avoids scratches or other damage to the gemstone while thoroughly cleaning the whole piece. More than the brush, you must also use soft and gentle strokes, as emeralds are comparatively more delicate compared to other gemstones.
Vintage jewellery is especially prone to accumulating dirt and oils on its underside. Thus, it should be an area of particular focus when cleaning. A meticulous clean-up also ensures the removal of any debris that could compromise the clarity and brilliance of the emerald, thus maintaining its exquisite appearance.
Step 3: Pat dry with a soft cloth
Once all the dirt and contaminants have been thoroughly washed away, the next crucial step is to pat it dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. This prevents watermarks from forming from any remaining water droplets or cleaning solution. This also clears away any stains that might have been missed during the brushing process and allows you to examine your precious jewellery for any undiscovered blemishes.
Avoid using tissues or paper towels, as they introduce microscopic fibres to your emerald and the metals, as they become ledged to the intricate details of the stone’s setting or cling to its surface. This careful attention to detail in the last part of the cleaning phase culminates in a crucial process of persevering in the value of this extravagant investment.
Proper Storage Techniques
While regular cleaning is the lifeline of your jewellery’s maintenance procedure, it doesn’t end there. Proper storage is the next critical step in preventing scratches or other blemishes. It also minimizes exposure to any environmental factors that could compromise the integrity of your vintage emerald jewellery, as well as the surface of the surrounding metalwork. Here are some storage tips you can consider following for your jewels’ sake:
- Store in individual pouches or boxes: While most jewels are good when kept in an enclosed storage space, storing them individually in their own little pouch can add more protection from scratches due to contact with other pieces. Emeralds are especially vulnerable to these scratches, making these pouches or storage boxes a necessary precaution.
- Avoid extreme temperatures and harsh chemicals: Ensure that the storage of your accessories, especially your jewels, is away from extreme temperatures or direct sunlight for extended periods. Sudden temperature changes may cause thermal shock, potentially damaging these precious stones, especially the more delicate emeralds. Additionally, avoid exposing your emerald jewellery to harsh chemicals such as perfumes, hairsprays, and household cleaners, as they could dull the lustre of the emeralds and damage the metal.
- Keep in a dry storage environment: Keep your vintage emerald jewellery in a dry environment where moisture is consistently controlled or null to prevent any tarnishing of the metal components. You can even add some silica gel packets to your storage containers so moisture can be promptly absorbed should it suddenly occur.
- Make regular inspections: Develop a schedule that ensures your emerald jewellery are regularly inspected for any signs of damage, loose settings, or worn prongs. In such circumstances, if you find any signs of wear and tear, address it immediately with a professional service to prevent further damage and maintain the structural integrity of the weathered jewellery piece.
Other key components that could take your maintenance efforts to another level are having them checked by professional cleaners for a more expert inspection and obtaining insurance coverage for your valuable pieces. This protects your financial interest and can facilitate the replacement and restoration of the jewellery in cases of loss or damage.
Follow this link to know what to ask before you sign the paperwork: https://www.naj.co.uk/advice/valuations-insurance
With careful attention to their proper care and maintenance, these timeless pieces will continue to captivate the hearts of fashion and jewellery enthusiasts and tell the story of the past for years to come. It is essential to maintain the delicate balance of preserving and enjoying these precious pieces so we can continue to celebrate not only the beauty of the gemstone but also the legacy of craftsmanship that completes the jewellery.