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Cleaning Your Gold

All jewelry has its maintenance requirements. Tarnished silver, for example, can be cleaned by applying silver polish (also, see our previous post: http://blog.shoppingbadger.com/?p=1189). While gold does not tarnish, it does lose its luster over time. Unlike silver tarnishing, which is caused by oxygen chemically reacting with the surface of the metal, requiring specially made abrasive materials to purify it, gold can be cleaned with everyday substances found in the home!  (But, please remember, this applies only to gold, not to costume jewelry or to jewelry with gemstones!)

The first method is the simplest: all it takes is a bit of soap. A few drops of dish detergent combined with a lukewarm liquid should do the trick.  The best liquid is sodium-free seltzer or club soda, but in their absence plain tap water will work just as well.  After soaking the jewelry for about fifteen minutes, a (very) gentle scrub will loosen the grit and dirt contributing to the dullness.  Make sure to avoid abrasive scrubbers, like a toothbrush and — ironically — even tissues, which may feel soft but in reality contain tiny wood fibers that will scratch your jewelry.  Instead, use cotton balls, cotton cloths, or better yet a soft scrubber tailor-made for this purpose.  Once scrubbed down, give everything a rinse through more lukewarm water. Keep in mind: if you do decide to wash gemstones, water that is too hot can cause cracks in some of the more delicate gems (e.g., opals or pearls) and can loosen pieces that have gemstones glued into their setting, so when using this technique keep a close eye on the temperature of your water.  (Also make sure to plug your drain so no mishaps occur!)

If you somehow find yourself in a place without dish washing detergent, don’t fret!  You can find an equally effective tool in your very own bathroom.  As a very mild abrasive, toothpaste acts as a great sterilizer not just for teeth and gums but for gold as well. Mix in a bit of water to create a runnier, paste-like consistency, then use your fingers or a cloth to rub it into the gold.  Then, using a damp cloth, gently dab the jewelry until its surface is clean.   These household items are some of the easiest to procure, so rest assured you can keep your gold glowing at all times!

 

Celestial Jewels

We appreciate our various ornaments for their beauty and sometimes rarity, but did you know that ancient civilizations had a few more “cosmic” beliefs about the stones they used for adornment?  An opal is just one of these stones. Considered gems of wisdom and good fortune, opals were thought to be pieces of heaven that had shaken loose from the sky during violent thunderstorms.  Opals also happen to share an interesting feature that people often consider unique to diamonds: they cut through almost any material, even glass.

Another material believed to have celestial implications is gold.  Nowadays, when people compare gold to sunlight, it has a more metaphorical connotation, but in ancient times people took that figure of speech much more literally. They once believed that gold actually originated from the sun. Some groups even accepted gold as actual teardrops from their respective sun gods.  Talk about divine jewelry!

Silver, the New Gold

Gold and platinum have been around forever as the go-to metals for jewelry. Everyone likes the idea of getting a diamond engagement ring set in these two metals because it shows a certain sign of wealth and stature.

But, due to the fact that gold and platinum are traded commercially in the financial markets, the prices fluctuate up and down when the markets are up and down. Right now, and it has been noted, that the price of gold has soared more so than the other precious metals since 2008 when the financial markets crashed. The markets are still trying to navigate their way to coming back to where they were. It’s a sign of people’s anxiety about the future that even as the Dow set an all-time record today, gold prices remain 100% higher than in 2008.

In the mean time, a girl still has to have her jewelry, right? So this is where silver comes in. Silver is the new gold. You find it everywhere, from engagement rings to beautiful tennis necklaces. Bracelets with semi -precious stones and colored cubic zirconia are all the rage now. If you think diamonds come in every color, you should see the colors they have in cubic zirconia!! And, some silver jewelry comes rhodium plated so it stays shiny all of the time. No tarnishing. That’s incredible!!

Do you know what’s even better? You can buy gold-plated silver now, too, so if you like the look of yellow gold, but can’t afford it, you can have gold-plated silver and no one knows but you. So, if you are thinking of buying someone a gift, or if you just want to treat yourself, silver is the way to go.