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    Regular care and cleaning of your fine jewelry will enhance your satisfaction. Nurture this gift of nature and the jeweler's art, and fine jewelry will reward you with years of pleasurable wear.

    Diamond Care

    Diamond jewelry is very popular. Some pieces, such as diamond engagement and wedding rings, are often worn 24 hours a day. Even though you may wear your diamond jewelry around the clock, you should give thought to its care. Diamonds are durable, but they still require proper maintenance. Diamonds can get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds and cut down their brilliance. Clean diamonds "glow" because the maximum amount of light can enter the stone and return in a fiery brilliance. It takes just a little care to keep them that way.

    Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing rough work. Even though a diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, it can still be chipped by a sharp, sudden blow.

    • Chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting on your diamond jewelry. Keep your diamond away from chlorine bleach or other household chemicals. You should also remove your diamond jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
    • Clean your diamonds regularly using a commercial jewelry cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under the setting.
    • Avoid touching your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.

    Colored Gemstone Care

    There are many different types of colored gemstones, some of which require specific care and cleaning procedures. It would be impossible to enumerate all of them in this brochure. However, there are some general care and cleaning rules which apply to all colored gemstone jewelry.

    • Many natural gemstones are treated or enhanced from the time they are extracted from the earth by one or more traditionally accepted jewelry industry practices. These treatments and enhancements can affect how you should clean and care for your colored gemstone jewelry. Consult your jeweler for more information on caring for treated or enhanced gemstones.
    • After wearing, wipe your precious gemstone jewelry thoroughly with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. This will enhance the gemstone's luster and ensure that your jewelry is clean before storage.
    • Store gemstone pieces individually in soft pouches. You should be able to obtain these from your jeweler.
    • Do not expose your precious gemstone pieces to salt water or harsh chemicals, such as chlorine or detergents. These chemicals may slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones.
    • Hair spray, perfume and perspiration may cause jewelry to become dull. Apply all cosmetics, perfumes and colognes before putting on colored gemstone jewelry. Make sure to wipe your gemstones after wear to remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration.
    • Do not subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes.
    • If you have an active lifestyle, take extra precautions with some types of gemstone jewelry. Emeralds, for example, are brittle and should not be worn when doing household chores or any other activity where the stone could be hit or damaged.
    • Be extra careful with ultrasonic cleaners. Some gemstones are fragile and can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaners. Consult your jeweler for the best cleaning procedure for your particular gemstone jewelry. Your jeweler is also a good source for any information on colored gemstones.

    Karat Gold Jewelry Care

    Karat gold jewelry pieces make up the majority of many fine jewelry collections. Gold comes in many different styles and colors, but the care and cleaning procedure remains the same.

    • Remove all gold jewelry before showering or cleaning. Soap can cause a film to form on karat gold jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy. By preventing the formation of this film, you immediately reduce the occasions your pieces will need to be cleaned.
    • To clean your jewelry at home, you'll find many commercial cleaners available. In addition, you will find a soft chamois cloth an effective and inexpensive way to keep your pieces lustrous and shining. Ask your jeweler to recommend both of these items for you.
    • For certain gold jewelry, especially pieces that do not contain colored gemstones, an ultrasonic cleaning machine may be appropriate. Once again, ask your jeweler to advise you.
    • Be careful of chlorine. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry. Do not wear gold jewelry while using chlorine bleach or while in a pool or hot tub.
    • You can remove tarnish with a jewelry cleaner, or by using soap and water mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Carefully brush with a soft bristle brush. An old toothbrush can also be used. After the brushing, simply rinse with lukewarm water and allow to dry. If there is a heavy tarnish on your jewelry, consult your jeweler for the best cleaning procedure. You should also talk to your jeweler before attempting to clean any karat gold jewelry set with colored gemstones because some stones require special cleaning procedures.
    • Grease can be removed from karat gold jewelry by dipping the jewelry into plain rubbing alcohol. Again, check with your jeweler about colored gemstone pieces.

    Platinum Care

    Platinum is one of the rarest and most durable precious metals. It is resistant to tarnishing and discoloration due to chlorine and other chemicals. These factors, along with its strength and white luster, have made platinum an increasingly popular choice for jewelry, either on its own or as the setting for diamonds and other precious gemstones. However, despite its durability, platinum jewelry needs proper care.

    • Platinum jewelry can be cleaned the same way you can other fine jewelry. Your jeweler can recommend a prepackaged jewelry cleaner that works with platinum, or ask your jeweler to professionally clean your platinum pieces. A professional cleaning every six months will keep your platinum jewelry in great shape.
    • Store your platinum jewelry separately and with care, not allowing pieces to touch each other because even platinum can be scratched.
    • Signs of wear such as scratches can eventually appear on platinum. However, due to the metal's durability there is usually little metal loss from the scratch. If visible scratches do appear, your jeweler should be able to re-polish the piece.
    • If your platinum is set with diamonds or other precious stones, be especially careful as these materials can be more susceptible to damage. Some fine jewelry pieces combine platinum with karat gold jewelry. Care for these pieces as you would your gold jewelry or consult your jeweler.

    Cultured Pearl Care

    Cultured pearls are precious jewels and should be treated as such. They're also the products of living creatures. Cultured pearls are formed when an irritant is introduced into a mollusk. The mollusk secretes a substance called nacre which covers the irritant and produces the pearl. Nacre gives pearls the rainbow of colors and luster that makes these gemstones so treasured, but its delicate nature also makes pearls particularly susceptible to damage. For this reason you should be extra careful with your cultured pearl jewelry.

    • Apply cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on any pearl jewelry. When you remove the jewelry, wipe it carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of these substances.
    • You can also wash your pearl jewelry with mild soap and water. Do not clean cultured pearls with any chemicals, abrasives or solvents. These substances can damage your pearls.
    • Do not toss your cultured pearl jewelry carelessly into a purse, bag or jewel box. A pearl's surface is soft and can be scratched by hard metal edges or by the harder gemstones of other jewelry pieces.
    • Place cultured pearl jewelry in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when putting them away.
       
    • Cosmetics, perspiration, oils and ordinary wear weaken and stretch the threads on which the pearls are strung. Bring your pearls back to your jeweler for restringing once a year. Make certain the pearls are strung with a knot between each pearl. This will prevent loss of pearls if the string should break.

    Watch Care

    Watches need the same amount of attention as fine jewelry. Fine watches are sophisticated and precise pieces of equipment; the price often reflects the skilled workmanship that goes into a fine timepiece. In order to get the most satisfaction out of your watch, you should follow some simple care and cleaning guidelines.

    • No matter how handy you are, don't attempt "do-it-yourself" watch repairs. Only an expert jeweler/watchmaker should be trusted to put your watch back into working condition.
    • Give your watch a quick check on a regular basis, making sure that the strap or bracelet is securely attached to the watch face.

    A mechanical watch should be checked regularly by your jeweler/watchmaker or an authorized dealer and serviced according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

    Storage

    Protect your jewelry when it is not being worn by separating it from other jewelry, using a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Gems and gem quality items, improperly stored, can damage each other. Diamonds, for example, may scratch rubies, sapphires, or emeralds, and in certain situations, each other. To be on the safe side, be sure that gemstones and jewelry do not touch.

    Because of their softness, cultured pearls need special care. Clean and dry them prior to storing your pearls in a special chamois pouch safe from potential harm.

    Wear

    Rings, regularly worn, need periodic cleaning to remove the film caused by, cosmetics, soap, and skin oil that may cloud the ring's beauty. Diamonds, for example, have an affinity for grease and literally collect oils in dish water. Remove rings before routine household chores and clean rings regularly. Activity which might subject a gemstone to sharp blows-such as gardening, working with hand tools, or playing sports-may also damage a gemstone.

    Diamonds are also susceptible to damage from an impact which might cause them to chip or crack.

    Put jewelry on after you apply hair spray or cosmetics. Chemicals present in either may cause damage, especially to cultured pearls. Wipe your pearls with a soft chamois or flannel cloth after each wearing to remove your skin's oils and salts.

    A very few colored gemstones, such as kunzite, may fade when worn in sunlight or in a tanning booth.

    Few watches are waterproof, though many are water resistant. If moisture or dust has penetrated the case of your watch, have it checked only by an authorized technician. Attempts by an untrained repair person may seriously damage the watch and invalidate factory warranties.

    Cleaning

    In most cases, routine home care of your fine jewelry supplemented with periodic care by your American Gem Society jeweler means a lifetime of pleasurable wear. Regular cleaning of your gemstones keeps them shining and beautiful.

    Soap and Water

    A mild soap and water solution used with a soft brush is effective for many home jewelry care needs. Even the mild chemicals of commercial jewelry cleaning products may damage certain gems. Although soap and water is the best choice for most gems and jewelry, do not use soap and water with amber, coral, emerald, jade, kunzite, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl, or turquoise. Never use anything abrasive such as toothpaste to clean your jewelry.

    Home Jewelry Care

    Check with your American Gem Society jeweler prior to using a commercial cleaning product for the first time. Dispose of any such cleaner after 3 months. A home solution of one part mild detergent, one part household ammonia, and three parts water is also effective for many jewelry cleaning needs. Dry the jewelry with a lint-free towel.

    This method of cleaning is especially desirable for alexandrite, amethyst, andalusite, aquamarine, citrine, diamond, garnet, iolite, moonstone, ruby, sapphire, spinel, tanzanite, topaz, tourmaline, and zircon.

    Home Ultrasonic Cleaner

    Home ultrasonic cleaners are best used for karat gold jewelry without gemstones. The ultrasonic may also be suitable for some diamond-set jewelry. Intense vibrations may loosen stones, so a professional annual cleaning and security check is important. DO NOT use the home ultrasonic for amber, coral, emerald, kunzite, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl, ruby, or turquoise.

    Be sure to check with your American Gem Society jeweler prior to using a home ultrasonic cleaner.

    Protection

    We recommend that your fine jewelry be examined and cleaned once every 6 months. We will check all the prongs for gemstone security. We also check clasps. If needed, we will recommend restringing pearls to protect against an inopportune string failure. When we clean your jewelry, we will also check the stone itself for any damage that may warrant re-cutting or re-polishing.

    Be sure you understand how your fine jewelry should be worn, how to store it, how to clean it, and what to look for to protect it from harm. We would also be glad to discuss with you the questions you might want to ask your insurance agent concerning coverage. The care you provide your fine jewelry will reward you with years of pleasurable wear.

    Since 1934, members of the American Gem Society have been protecting the jewelry consuming public. Membership is awarded only to selected jewelers who possess proven gemological knowledge and the highest ethical standards. American Gem Society members know what methods will most effectively clean and secure your fine jewelry. Membership is your assurance of the reliability and capability of the American Gem Society firm.

    Ben Bridge is proud to be a member of the American Gem Society and of Jewelers of America. As a fourth generation family operated jeweler we strive to provide quality jewelry at a fair value. We believe in customer service and know that by helping you to understand more about gemstones and your jewelry we create a personal relationship that is based on trust and knowledge.

    If you are located near one of our 80 Ben Bridge stores, we invite you to stop by and let us clean and inspect your jewelry, We provide this service at no charge, and always will have a cup of coffee waiting for you.

    (Information provided in cooperation with the American Gem Society (AGS) and Jewelers of America, Inc.)

       
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