The simple rule of thumb is to clean a piece of jewelry according to the limitations of its most fragile component. For example, it your earrings contain both pearls and sapphires, you should look for instructions on how to clean pearls. (In this case, use warm water and mild soap. Rinse and dry the piece thoroughly.)
It's a good idea to take your rings off when doing rough work. Even though diamonds are durable, they can be chipped by a hard blow. Perspiration and dirt can cause your jewelry to dull.
Bring your diamond jewelry to your jeweler a least twice a year to have them check your ring and other precious pieces for loose prongs and wear of mountings.
When you are not wearing your jewelry, put it in a fabric-lined jewelry case with dividers so they won't come on contact with each other (avoiding the possibility of scratching your jewelry).
Don't expose your jewelry to salt water or harsh chemicals, like chlorine bleach.
Don't wear your sterling silver jewelry in chlorine water.
The use of hair spray, make-up, hand lotions and perfumes can cause jewelry to dull. Put your jewelry on after you have used any of these to prolong their luster.
Store your silver in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tarnish preventative bag or wrapped in a soft piece of felt or cloth.
It is a good idea to bring your pearls in to your jewelry at least once a year to have them restrung. Normal wear tends to weaken and stretch the threads on which pearls are strung.
When you have your pearls restrung, make sure they are knotted between each pearl. This will prevent the loss of pearls if the string should break.
Don't wear your watch while swimming, bathing or doing, hot, strenuous work unless the degree of water-resistance was clearly specified when you purchased the watch.
Replace broken or scratched watch crystals promptly. Even the smallest crack can let in dust or moisture that can threaten its accuracy.
Pearls, coral and porous stones such as opal, turquoise and malachite should be kept away from oils, chemical and dirty water to avoid discoloration. Wipe them gently with a soft, damp cloth.
Ultrasonic cleaners should not be used with stones subject to internal stress -- tanzanite, opal, emerald, organic gems (pearl, coral and amber), turquoise, lapis, malachite and any stone containing major inclusions. Use warm water and mild soap, rinse and dry thoroughly.
Opal, pearls, coral, amber, turquoise are heat sensitive (both to extremes and sudden changes in temperatures). Do not leave them sitting in hot sunlight, near radiators, or in hot cars.
More Jewelry Tips ...
1. Avoid wearing your jewelry especially white gold in a chlorine pool or a hot tub. The chemicals may slowly erode the finish, weaken the prongs, and discolor the gold or sterling silver.
2. Use ? water and ? ammonia to clean diamonds and some colored stones. Dip the jewelry into this solution and use a soft brush to clean under the prongs. DO NOT clean the following stones in this solution: Turquoise, opal, emeralds, tanzanite, pearls, amber, coral and ivory, shell cameos, lapis, bone, horn, any assembled stone
3. Store your jewelry in separate soft boxes or plastic bags to avoid scratching the finishes.
4. Platinum is an extremely durable precious metal. It is resistant to tarnishing and discoloration due to chlorine and other chemicals but needs to be cleaned like gold jewelry.
5. Clean silver jewelry with a non-detergent soap and water, using a small, soft brush to clean under the stones. To remove tarnish, try a polishing cloth. They are charged with a cleaning compound just for silver.
6. Hair spray, perfume and perspiration can weaken the silk thread that pearls are strung on. The corrosive effects can damage pearl luster.
7. Should your pearl strand break, the knots in between each pearl will prevent the loss of any pearl. Knots separate pearls to prevent them from rubbing against each other.
8. Clean pearls only with a non-detergent soap, rinse and pat dry.
9. Place a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up, on the bottom of a glass bowl or glass pan. Fill the container with a solution of boiling water and three teaspoons of baking soda. To remove tarnish, soak any sterling silver and good quality silver plate (the finish on cheap silver plate will bubble if it's soaked).
Do it yourself: how to build a back yard in ground barbecue fire pit
Building your own in ground barbeque pit is not difficult. Before you begin though, you should first check with your local officials to find if you are allowed to have one in your yard. Many municipalities do not allow home fire pits. If allowed, there may be regulations on what type of materials can be used and size requirements. Before you begin to dig your pit, your next decision will be what type of liner you want to use. The type of liner will help decide the 'look' of your pit. Rough stones will give a rustic look, while firebrick (required in many areas) gives a more contemporary feel.
Once that decision has been made, you need to choose your location. Make sure that the spot you choose is well away from your house, any outbuildings and away from trees. You should also check with your local telephone and power companies to discover if there are buried lines where you plan to dig.
The items you will need to construct your pit are simple to gather. You will need:
A tape measure,
A bag of gravel or river rock,
A cement trowel,
Large, thick rocks or firebrick for the liner,
- If you wish to grill over your pit, a grill rack can be purchased at your local hardware store or you can find an inexpensive one at a garage sale or flea market. - Decide if you wish to dig a round, rectangular or square pit. A round pit should be at least fifty inches in diameter, while a square pit should be minimally four by four feet. You need to dig your pit at least two feet below ground level. - Line the bottom of your pit with at least a two-inch bed of gravel or river rock. Mix your mortar. Begin lining the sides of your pit, either rock or firebrick, making sure to butter the exposed sides freely with mortar using your trowel. To 'butter' simply means to spread on a thick layer of mortar. Work from the ground up, doing one layer at a time until you reach ground level. As you complete each layer, wipe excess mortar away using the side edge of your trowel. - At ground level, you are almost done. First, finish off your pit itself by backfilling any spaces between the rock or brick and the walls of the hole with dirt and leftover gravel. Now you have two choices: laying a ring of rock around the outside perimeter or continuing to build above ground level. The choice is entirely up to you, although having a wall above ground will help to prevent accidents. Ground level pits can be dangerous. Children and adults alike can fall into a pit if not aware of their presence. Higher sides can also help contain any sparks or embers, reducing your chance of an unwanted fire.
Allow the mortar to dry, at least overnight, but preferably a few days before first use. Then you are ready to use your pit for whatever you desire, from roasting marshmallows to a full blown pig roast, your fire pit is ready for the challenge.
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