Around the House: How to Make Jewelry Sparkle for Yom Tov
By Yehudit Garmaise
Something small and sparkly is always the perfect gift for Yom Tov, but one should also enjoy the jewelry stored away by taking small steps to make older pieces look as good as new.
One can easily make gold jewelry cleaning kits for pennies by using only a drop or two of dish soap in water and collecting a toothbrush, a small sink strainer, and a bowl.
Prepare a small soft cloth, like those used to clean glasses, to place the jewelry to dry after cleaning. Do not clean jewelry or rinse near the sink with an open drain in case anything drops or rolls away when wet and slippery.
For jewelry with precious and semi-precious gems, such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, use seltzer water instead of sink water. Seltzer water’s carbonation helps loosen and remove any dirt and debris trapped in the jewelry’s settings and facets.
To get gold jewelry glowing, add a drop or two of dish soap into a bowl with one cup. of warm water.
Carefully place your small pieces of jewelry onto a sink strainer before lowering the strainer into the bowl and gently swishing the strainer around to dislodge dirt.
After letting the jewelry soak for five minutes, use a soft toothbrush to gently brush off any grime. Remove the strainer with the jewelry inside and dunk the strainer into a bowl of clean water. Repeat the rinsing process with fresh water before removing the jewelry and laying it out on a soft cloth to dry.
While gold jewelry with stones can be cleaned in water, special pearl care cleaning kits that include tissue sachets of cleaner and a polishing cloth are recommended. Real or not, pearls should never be soaked because the water is not good for the pearls or the strings, which can weaken and break from water. In addition to pearls, other stones that should be cleaned without soaking are turquoise and opals, which are porous stones.
To make a cleaning kit for pearls, turquoise, and opals, take a small makeup brush, mild shampoo, and a clean microfiber cloth. Lay the pearls out on a soft cloth. Place a few drops of mild shampoo into a cup of warm water. Lightly dip the makeup brush into the mixture, shake off the extra liquid, and very gently, with minimal pressure, brush every side of each pearl to remove dullness and dirt and to get it clean and shining.
Do not rinse the pearls directly in water, but instead, use a well-wrung-out damp washcloth to remove the shampoo residue. Air-dry pearls flat without allowing them to hang so the dampened strings don’t stretch.
For silver jewelry, use the same silver polish, liquid, wipes, or mitts used to clean lichters. Alternatively, a tiny dab of toothpaste or a paste made of one part baking soda and three parts water can also be used to polish silver jewelry.
To keep jewelry safe and clean, always return it to a jewelry box kept out of sunlight, away from water, and safely placed out of view.