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Cleaning a Diamond Ring

Diamond cleaning

Cleaning a Diamond Ring 

Let’s face it, when it comes to jewellery, we all generally think of diamonds. There is nothing quite like having a freshly cleaned ring on your finger fresh from a Jeweller. The light bouncing off your diamond just right can make you feel like a million dollars. So it’s only normal to want to keep it looking nice and clean right? So I’ve put together some tips on cleaning a diamond ring or any diamond Jewellery. 

While Diamonds actually repel water they unfortunately do the complete opposite with grease and oil. Diamonds attract grease and oil more than most other Gemstones around. The natural oils from your skin, the hand lotion you might use before bed and even some soaps and perfumes can all get stuck to a diamond. 

So what to do if you find yourself in need of cleaning your Diamond? Well you could take it to an experienced Jeweller to get the best results, but you don’t need to every time. You can just as easily give your Diamond a clean at home using some simple techniques. 

So what to use?

Cleaning a diamond ring isn’t too hard, the best thing to use is Fairy liquid or a dish soap solution. In addition to this you could use a gentle shampoo like baby shampoo. Just avoid anything that contains a moisturiser, this will have the opposite effect on your jewellery and leave a film on the diamond. 

Get the tap running hot and fill up a bowl, add the washing up liquid or shampoo and give it a stir. Pop your Jewellery in the hot water and leave for around 20 – 30min. This will allow the dirt and grime on the back of the stones to start to break down. Gently use a soft tooth brush around the back of the stones to remove any dirt trapped and then rinse under WARM water. Then repeat if you need. Never go from hot water to cold water as this could damage your diamond or stones.

Cleaning like this should ideally be done once a week. Yep! Once a week! This will allow the build up of oil and grease to be kept at bay and will be easier to clean. I’d also recommend getting an experienced Jeweller to give it a once over to check the settings are all nice and tight and give it a professional clean and polish once a year. 

What you shouldn’t use to clean your Diamonds

This actually comes up a fair bit. Never use bleach to clean your Jewellery. You might think this is the ideal product to clean your Jewellery as it cleans your house so well.. its not, don’t use it. If you use bleach on your Jewellery you could potentially ruin it. Bleach is an extremely harsh chemical and can cause damage to some metals. Some solders can contain elements that will react with the bleach or chlorine and oxidise the solder. 

Other things to avoid would be toothpaste, thats meant for you teeth only! Also avoid baking soda. Toothpaste and baking soda are actually very abrasive and can cause scratches on your lovely Jewellery. 

Ultrasonic Machines

Now ultrasonic machines are great. Professional Jewellers use them all the time when cleaning Jewellery. I have one and its great… but….  these machines should really only be used by a Goldsmith who knows what they’re doing, especially if your item of Jewellery contains stones. I’m often asked about them and if I’d recommend people getting one. The machine works by blasting sound waves through a heated tank to dislodge any dirt and grime that builds up on the Jewellery.

They generally make a little noise and the liquid will slosh about. The problem is that if the item of Jewellery has any stones in, this can potentially lead to the stones coming out. This generally happens if the item of Jewellery hasn’t been serviced regularly, the piece is worn or the stones haven’t been set properly to begin with. A Goldsmith should check your item of Jewellery before and after its been in an Ultrasonic machine to check for loose stones and tighten any stones and settings that need attention. 

Servicing

Servicing your Jewellery (especially rings) is something I’d recommend every 12 – 18 months. The tips of claws can get damaged and worn over time so it’s well worth just taking a little time to make sure your diamonds or precious stones are secure. Checking over a ring and a full clean and polish can cost as little as £30. If your item of Jewellery needs work then I can give you a quote to restore it to a new condition. If you’d like a piece of Jewellery checked over and cleaned and polished get in touch and I’ll give you a quote based on your requirements. 

Thanks for reading 

The Difference between Platinum and Gold

The difference between Gold and Platinum. 

The Difference between Platinum and Gold. Is Platinum really better than Gold? How strong is platinum really? These are just a couple of questions I’m going to tackle in this short but sweet post.

To answer these questions we have to understand a little history of Precious Metals, how it’s used and why we like it so much. I’ll also be taking a dive into the Molecules that make up these metals to see how they behave under force.

Gold has been used for thousands of years for making Jewellery. It’s very colour suggests Luxury, expense and shine. Gold in its rawest form is soft and very malleable, meaning it’s very easy to make things with. Gold is so soft if you had a 999 fine gold bar 2mm thick and a few centimetres long you could easily bend this with your own fingers. Because gold is so soft it’s usually mixed with other precious metals like silver to bring the gold content down to make the metal a little stronger. For example 9ct Gold in the Uk has a Hallmark code of 375. Simply this means that there is 375grams of fine gold per 1000grams of metal. Meaning there is 625grams of other metals per 1000grams like silver mixed with the gold. The more gold is added the higher carat of Gold the metal contains.

Gold is also a metal that doesn’t rust, corrode, stain or change colour. It’s also a great conductor so it’s used in wiring and circuit boards. Polished Gold is also a great heat reflector to keep objects cool.

My point is that Gold has so many different uses and is unlike any other metal on earth.

 

So why do we all want Platinum now for our Jewellery? 

Over the years white metals have become more popular. Sterling silver has always been popular for making Jewellery and Silver cups ect.. its very soft and malleable and even has healing properties. The problem with silver is that it’s quite a dirty metal, its softer than 18ct gold, it Tarnishes easily and is much more readily available than gold meaning its cheap. In older Jewellery silver was often used to set in the diamonds and then the rest of the band would be gold. Because silver is soft this made for the perfect metal to set in precious stones like Diamonds into Jewellery without too much risk of breaking the stone when setting.

During the early 17th Century Platinum was discovered but wasn’t used in Jewellery until the late 17th century due to the difficulty in working with its high melting point. Platinum soon became a popular alternative for collets and settings due to its harder wearing qualities.

As the years go on white metals became more popular and white gold was introduced, a blend of Gold and white metals to bring the carat down but keeping the metal as white as possible. Due to White gold not really being completely white, its then finished with a plating of rhodium. In recent years palladium is now mixed with the Gold to give a much whiter finish, reducing the need for plating as often. This is really where platinum comes in. Platinum doesn’t need plating at all, so this and its Harder wearing qualities makes for the perfect combination for an Expensive luxury engagement ring that will stand the test of time.

There is however another side to Platinum that isn’t well-known to the average buyer or sales person. Platinum is a great metal for use in jewellery making, when polished correctly it has a brilliant shine. Its a very dense metal, so it feels heavy and substantial. Platinum is harder wearing than all the other Precious metals too so it will last you longer. But …. Platinum is still a soft metal. Its will still scratch, it will still break, and it will still go out of shape when hit hard enough. In fact in some cases platinum will have heavier or deeper marks compared to at 18ct ring put through the same stress. This doesn’t mean its not a hardwearing metal but it does mean its just as venerable to damage.

Taking a closer look into the structure of platinum reveals that all the molecules are very tightly compact, as you would expect from such a dense metal. However when Platinum is struck with an object with force the small molecules move slightly. They move in the direction of the force implemented. This means that if you had a Platinum ring and you went to the gym and picked up dumbbells with a metal mesh grip you would be marking the metal and you’d be able to see it. It works the same for flat smooth objects too. If you had a platinum ring and at the Gym you picked up dumbbells with a completely smooth metal grip. This would mark the platinum but over a greater surface area, meaning you wouldn’t really notice a mark even though it has marked, much like a Planishing hammer. My point is that platinum will mark and scratch like other metals.

 

So why is Platinum harder wearing then?

Simply put, Platinum is harder WEARING because the particles and molecules move! Your noticed I empathise the word harder WEARING as opposed to Harder metal. Platinum isn’t a hard metal … its a harder wearing metal compared to Silver, Gold and Palladium. Because the particles move and don’t chip off as much, they just move about. Meaning you may have a few marks and scratches over the years but most of the platinum is still there. The particles of 9ct Gold or 18ct Gold on the other hand don’t move as much so they chip off more easily. Have you ever noticed how older Gold rings seem to be thinning round the back of the shank? This is where most of the wear and tear happens. I’m not saying a platinum ring wont do this of corse, because it will, but over a longer time. The question should be, what metal is actually harder.. 18ct Gold or Platinum. The answer is, there both as hard as each other. Platinum will last longer but will incur more marks over time. 18ct will incur less marks but will wear down over a shorter period.

So what metal is better?

I dont really think one metal is better than the other. There are advantages for having both.

For Platinum, we don’t need to have it Re-plated every 12 months. Its as shiny as other white metals when polished and finished correctly. White gold can be just as durable on the correct piece of jewellery. So really it comes down to personal taste and professional advice. Check them both out before you decide and base your decision on what you feel comfortable with given the facts.

Thanks for reading.

Guide to buying an engagement ring

In the market for an Engagement ring? Look no further. I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help.

About My Guide.

When choosing an engagement ring, wedding ring or diamond, there are many factors to consider: What shape, what size, what colour, what quality, what cut, what setting?  The list can be overwhelming.  When investing your money to buy jewellery it is important to understand how those characteristics affect the appearance and price.

I love to help with your decisions and so I have created a comprehensive guide to help you make sense of the many options.

An engagement ring should represent your love and commitment to your partner, so choosing the ring can be daunting.  My guide aims to help you with the key decisions such as size, shape, setting and budget.

How Much Should I Spend?

This is a big decision and should be the first step in choosing your ring.  Tradition suggests an investment of between one and three month’s salary, but I really think it is most important to spend what you are comfortable with.

What Setting?

Once you have a budget in mind, a great second step is to choose a setting or collet as it’s sometimes referred to.  I would recommend picking a setting prior to the diamond as this allows you to choose a setting to compliment the diamond.  A further advantage is that you can work out how much money you have left for the diamond.

The two main types of setting are claw and bezel, with claw being the most popular.

Claw Setting


This setting holds the diamond in place with ‘claws’. You can have up to 8 claws to hold your diamond.  This style of setting allows light to freely travel through and around the diamond, ensuring maximum brilliance and sparkle is achieved.  It also draws emphasis to the most important part of the ring, the diamond.

The number of claws you have is determined by the shape of the diamond and personal taste.  Four claws are a good place to start and will let in most light.  Six or eight claws are a little more secure, but allow less light to shine through the diamond.  Four claws are still secure, as long as the diamond has been set correctly and is checked every 12-18 months.

Bezel Setting
This setting creates a rim or collar around the diamond and the main difference between it and a claw setting is its style.  Although claw settings are more popular, the bezel setting is sometimes considered more modern or contemporary. The bezel setting offers better protection to your diamond as the diamond is sunk into the metal and so is recommended for people with active lives. The disadvantage of this setting is mainly the lack of light that penetrates through the diamond.

Side Diamonds
Another option for your ring is to add side diamonds, these can really set your ring apart. The aim here is not to distract from the main diamond, but to enhance its allure. Again, this is personal taste and I could advise you as to what might be suitable during an appointment.

What Rock?

The obvious choice and by far the most popular is a diamond, but I can use any rock you desire. Maybe your girlfriend has dropped hints that she would like something different?!  Perhaps a Sapphire or an Emerald?  Generally, you can’t go wrong with a girl’s best friend–the diamond.  For a comprehensive guide to buying a diamond follow my link to my website: diamond guide

What Metal?

I work with both gold and platinum.  A good starting point would be to choose a colour and this can often be based on what your partner already wears.  The options include yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum.  The most popular trend at the moment is white (White Gold or Platinum).  White gold is a silvery grey in colour and platinum is virtually the same.

Coloured Golds

Yellow, rose and white gold are all ‘real’ gold.  When gold is used to make jewellery, pure gold is not used as it is too soft.  Instead alloys of other metals such as silver, palladium and coper are added to it.  The type of alloy used determines the gold’s colour.  All colours retain the same percentage of pure gold and therefore both their cost and quality characteristics are very similar.  The percentage of pure gold determines the carat (not to be confused with carat, a diamond’s weight).

Carat Gold

If you have decided to go for gold, then I would recommend using 18 carat (18ct) gold.  It contains 75% pure gold and is the best quality for making rings.  If a cheaper option is specifically requested, we can use 9ct (which is 38% pure gold).  Higher carats such as 22ct are too soft for making diamond jewellery and so are not recommended.

Platinum vs White Gold

 

In short, platinum is a more durable, hardwearing, heavier and expensive metal than

 

white gold. It also remains white and shiny for its lifetime unlike white gold.

The process of making white gold ‘white’ includes a plating of rhodium.  This plating

 

gives white gold a better initial shine in comparison to platinum; however, this plating wears off over time.  Because white gold is made from pure gold, as the plating wears off a tinge of yellow will be seen.  We therefore recommend that white gold is re-plated approximately every 18 months.

Engraving?

Having engraving on the engagement ring, or not?  Again, it’s personal preference.  If you’re going for a vintage look, then some rings can look great with hand engraving around the shank.  If however you’re unsure, then it may be best to go without engraving; you can’t go wrong with a classic look.  You could always opt for engraving after you have proposed.  Engraving the date you got engaged is always a nice personal touch.  Engraving is one of my specialities and lots of our designs incorporate hand engraving, making them truly unique to you.  From patterns to dates and names, just ask; the possibilities are endless.

To conclude, there are many different variations of styles and metals and diamonds, so my best advice is to give yourself enough time.  You know your partner better than anyone, so you are the best tool in choosing the perfect engagement ring.  Ask questions if you’re unsure about what you’re buying. You can never ask too many questions.

I hope I’ve helped in some way.