Jewellery is designed and made to be worn. However, the wear and tear take its toll on jewellery over time as they eventually get dirty, discolour or pick-up scratches which can leave the metal looking dull and jaded.
Most rings bracelets or chains, if worn every day, need to be professionally cleaned and checked for significant eroding at least every two years. This is especially true for white gold engagement ring and white gold wedding bands which need to be rhodium plated every 12-24months to increase the strength, durability and brightness of the pieces. The process of polishing jewellery and the importance of this process often goes ignored by many but what’s also true is that the insights into what us jewellers do to your jewellery in our workshops are lacking too. So, in this blog, I’m going to bring you through the steps of the cleaning and polishing process to show you exactly what we do to your piece of jewellery once it is given in to our hands.
Before we make a start on cleaning your jewellery, we check the settings on your ring or links of your bracelet/chain under our microscope. We check for damage to settings or any signs of wear that might develop into longer-term damage. Once the check is complete, we will start by cleaning your items in an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner, or by applying heat and putting it in an acidic cleaning solution. This dislodges any dirt and particles hiding in the tiny crevices or stuck in your metal.
The first rule of polishing is to prepare your surface well and take your time when doing this as It will leave you with the best possible finished piece. After the dirt is removed, we begin to emery (or sand) the specific piece we are cleaning. Now, most people are familiar with sandpaper that you use to sand wood with but the type of sandpaper used in jewellery is slightly different as it is much finer. To get a high finish on your finished piece we have to use different types of sandpaper. To start with we use the coarse grade of sandpaper and work all around your piece until every surface is sanded and smooth and then repeat with even finer courses of sandpaper. This sandpaper works by putting microscopic scratches on the metal to get rid of any bigger scratches that might be visible to the eye. After this process, there’s almost a matte finish on your piece and it now transfers to the polishing machine
At the polishing machine small polishing mops, wheels spin at high speeds so the polish can be applied to the piece of jewellery. Firstly, we start with the pre-polish which we apply to the polishing mop. The machine is turned on and we can start to manoeuvre the piece along the spinning mop ensuring it touches each surface of the piece.
Secondly, once you have pre-polished all visible surfaces of the piece you can move on to the finishing high polish. This is done using a different softer mop that is rubbed with rouge. Now, jewellers rouge ‘is a jewellery polishing compound, used to achieve a high shine with precious metals. It buffs the metal to give the long-lasting shine and provides the finishing touch. After To remove the excess polish we dip it into the ultra-sonic where all the polish streams off your piece, one of the most satisfying videos we have put up on our social media pages in the past. The ultrasonic works by pulsing high-frequency sound waves through the water cleaning any metal or gemstones that are put in. With white gold pieces, there is also a rhodium plating step, which I will divulge in another blog post. But there you have it, perfectly clean pieces of jewellery looking like new again.
If you want to have your jewellery cleaned with us call in or contact us on our Instagram, Facebook, Website to chat more about the process or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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