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How to Care For Your Gold Jewelry

by: Alice Stacy

As a precious metal, gold represents less work to maintain its appearance than other metals, such as silver. Gold does not tarnish, smudge, or discolor, but it can become dulled by contact with soaps, perspiration, hand creams and other substances from your daily life.

A good rule of thumb, is to wash your hands before putting on, or taking off, gold jewelry. This prevents contamination with natural body oils and other matter that your hands have touched. Also, if you're going to be wearing perfume, creams, lotions or other chemical substances, put them on before your jewelry. Gold items will be dulled and dirty from lying on skin that is still moist with make-up, or if they are in the line of fire from hairspray.

Always be sure to remove your rings before immersing your hands in the dishwater or laundry. Repeated exposure to harsh chemicals like chlorine, can permanently damage the gold's luster. That also means removing rings when using swimming pools.

Store gold jewelry that you aren't wearing, in their original boxes, or clean, cloth bags in a drawer away from other jewelry. Never leave pieces jumbled together in a box, as they can scratch each other, particularly if they happen to be set with hard gemstones. Even wrapping each piece in plain tissue paper, will preserve the surface and the shine.

The gold portions of jewelry can be cleaned with a mild soap solution and a soft cloth for polishing. A used, soft-bristled toothbrush may be helpful in reaching small crevices such as the links of a chain, or the underside of settings in a ring.

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