I will open this by saying I am no expert but just want to pass along a few things I have learned. There was a time when I made gemstone jewelry and how to care for your jewelry was part of my customer service.
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Jewelry Making Past
I loved making jewelry. It came to me at a time when I needed something to fill a hole in my soul and my life. Just after I had to leave a job I loved and then suddenly I wasn’t defined by my title and didn’t know what I was any more.
I discovered my talent for jewelry making shortly after my two surgeries and it was truly unexpected. Art was never my strong suit so finding this ability within myself was surprising. I took several in person classes and studied online with the Gemological Institute of America earning certificates in several disciplines. The classes taught me about gemstones and pearls.
Importance of Gemstone Care
I also learned how important it is to care for your gemstone and pearl jewelry. No matter whether you purchase your pieces from an artisan or in a store you want your pieces to last for a long time. Different types of jewelry require different types of care; you don’t treat your pearls like you would your emeralds. Your diamonds are another story altogether. It’s important that you know how each stone is to be cleaned and cared for so you don’t end up damaging your favorite piece of jewelry.
As I designed and made my jewelry I discovered some different gemstones and learned that some of them had some very interesting quirks. Take kunzite for example. It’s a stunning stone – a glorious shade of pink that can run from heavily included to perfectly clear.
If kept for too long in direct sunlight it can degrade. I made sure to let my customers who purchased kunzite pieces from me know that little fact. Opals need a little something special too – they need to be worn! The oils from your body are absorbed by the stone and keep it from cracking. They also help maintain the stone’s fire.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Care
If you have a lot of jewelry made from sterling silver it would probably be a good idea to have some jewelry polishing cloths on hand. They are not expensive and they make it easy to bring the shine back to your silver jewelry. Your other alternative is to use a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit on the piece and then gently remove it.
Another more exciting way to use baking soda is to combine it with white vinegar and watch your pieces dance in the bubbles as the tarnish cleanses away. I haven’t used this method with gemstone jewelry as I don’t like to submerge the stones.
Not A Comprehensive List, but Still Helpful I Hope
But I am by no means an expert. I learned a lot while making jewelry and sadly my health has caused me to have to stop. My eyesight has gotten too poor and my hands just won’t let me handle the beads (of any size) or manipulate the wire.
It was very hard to give it up because it was a part of me I really didn’t know I needed. But it’s just not meant to be any longer. I know I created some beautiful pieces and made a lot of people happy. Fortunately I did end up keeping a couple of pieces for myself so I will always have a reminder of what I had once been capable of.
Now my artistic side is satisfied through baking or at least that is what I tell myself. There are times I wish I could go back to making jewelry again and I think about it. But then I drop something and I remember that I would never be able to work with little tiny beads that are 3 and 4mm in size.
And so I bake.