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All That Glitters is Gold
Since the dawn of civilization, gold has been used by humankind for both decorative and daily use. Gold art objects and jewelry have been discovered as far back as 3,000 B.C. to be used by the Ur civilization what is now Southern Iraq. Similarly, gold objects have also been discovered in Peru by archaeologists that date back to 1200 B.C. Gold's nearly indestructible nature is virtually unaffected by the effects of elements such as oxygen and water. Although gold does wear over time, its durability to resist tarnishing, rusting or corroding has made it a symbol of permanence and therefore the first choice for many when purchasing jewelry.
If cared for correctly, gold will not only last a lifetime but may be handed down to future generations as heirloom pieces.
Cleaning Gold Jewelry
Gold jewelry should be cleaned with a gentle cleansing solution, such as dish soap mixed in warm water or a gold cleaning liquid. After cleaning, gold jewelry should be dried and polished with a chamois or lint-free cloth. Paper towels are not a good option for cleaning as they are too rough for the gold’s surface.
Furthermore, while gold is very durable, abrasives should not be used in cleaning as it may scratch gold jewelry. Harsh chemicals often found in household cleaners may also weaken or damage gold jewelry. Owners of gold jewelry should always wear cleaning gloves or take the jewelry off altogether before cleaning with these types of products. Above all, the worst enemy of an alloy like gold is chlorine. Always take gold jewelry off before entering a pool or Jacuzzi.
Repeated exposure to dust, moisture, makeup and other daily wear can cause gold to lose its luster. Regular gentle cleaning keeps gold glittering like new. It's also a good idea to have gold jewelry cleaned by a professional jeweler periodically.
Maintaining Gold Jewelry
Gold wearers are often confused when their gold jewelry begins to discolor skin or clothing. Faulty manufacturing or under-karating is not the problem. The most common cause of discoloration is metallic abrasion which can be caused by cosmetics on the skin or clothing. Cosmetics, which often contain compounds harder than the jewelry, rub off very tiny particles of the gold piece. This dust, when in contact with skin or clothing, sticks to the surface and forms a black smudge. If this occurs, consider switching cosmetics. Otherwise, make sure to apply makeup before putting jewelry on and use soap and water to clean areas of the skin that come in contact with gold jewelry.
Through years of wear, gold jewelry should be regularly inspected for any damage or weakness that will inevitably occur. Particular attention should be paid to jewelry that is secured with a clasp or prong, as well as bracelets or necklaces with links. These and other pieces such as rings may eventually thin out and break. Any pieces that show damage should be taken to a local jeweler who can address any repair problems.
Proper storage of gold jewelry is also a must. Storage prevents damage of gold jewelry, preserving its luster for years to come. Gold jewelry should be stored in a jewelry box with separate compartments or wrapped in a soft, lint-free cloth when not being worn. Keeping pieces stored separately will prevent them from scratching one another or getting tangled.
Preserving Heirloom Gold Jewelry
Family pieces or antique jewelry must be handled with the utmost care. Use a soft chamois cloth to wipe jewelry clean, or have them cleaned by a reputable jeweler. Avoid storing heirloom pieces together in a container. And store genuine gold jewelry apart from costume jewelry. Jewelry of different karatages should also be stored separately to prevent scratching or damage.
With some consistent maintenance, the care of gold jewelry can reap benefits for many years. Favored gold jewelry pieces can be turned into family heirlooms and passed down to future generations. Your children's children will thank you for the thoughtful care of your gold jewelry.
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