Care & Cleaning Education

Jewelry is a precious possession that is designed and crafted to last a lifetime. However, proper care is required to assure the lasting qualities of your jewelry. Herman Hiss & Company is pleased to offer simple guidelines for the care and cleaning of your fine jewelry. As a service to our customers, Herman Hiss offers free jewelry cleaning and inspections everyday.

Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place.

Keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers. If you prefer to use ordinary boxes, wrap each piece individually in soft tissue paper. Pieces stored together can scratch each other.
Be careful when removing your jewelry to wash your hands. Do not leave your jewelry on the rim of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.

Wearing Precautions for Colored Gemstone Jewelry

You should not wear gemstone jewelry while playing sports, working on heavy equipment or relaxing in a pool or spa (especially one treated with chlorine.) Gemstone can be chipped by a hard blow. Everyday activity can loosen jewelry setting.
You should avoid exposing your gemstones to chlorine bleach, hair spray, or other chemicals. Such chemicals can pit or discolor the mounting. Put on your gemstone jewelry after using makeup, perfume or cologne, and hair products.

Care of Gemstones

Gemstones are generally hard and durable. However, gems can be scratched, chipped or dulled if not handled and cleaned correctly. With proper care, though, a gem shine and sparkle through generations of use. Organic gems like pearls, amber, and coral require special care because they are porous. Herman Hiss & Company offers simple care and cleaning guidelines to preserve the life and beauty of your gemstones. As a service, we offer free jewelry cleaning to all our customers. We recommend your fine jewelry be professionally cleaned every 6 months.

Cleaning of Colored Gemstone Jewelry

Regular cleaning of gemstone jewelry is essential to maintain shine and brilliance of gems. Soaps, lotions and our skin’s natural oils can dull gems. If they aren’t worn, they collect dust. The following tips are general guidelines for gemstones. However, many natural gemstones are treated or enhanced from the time they are extracted from the earth. These treatments can affect how you should clean and care for your colored gemstone jewelry. If you’re not sure how to care for you gemstone, visit Herman Hiss & Company and speak with one of knowledgeable sales staff or a master jeweler.

To clean gemstone jewelry at home:

Wipe the piece with a soft cloth to remove any dirt after wearing it. You can use a small soft brush such as an eyebrow or lipstick brush.
Make a bowl of warm sudsy water with a mild detergent and gently place your jewelry pieces in the mixture. Never use boiling or hot water to clean gems. Do not use toothpaste or any other abrasive cleaner on stones or mountings.
While in the suds, use a brush with soft bristles on the gemstones. Make certain all suds are rinsed away.

Use a soft cloth or jewelry polish cloth to pat them dry. Clear of the suds after cleaning them.

Liquid jewelry cleaners are sold in many department stores. If you purchase one of these products, be certain you follow all the written precautions and cleaning instructions.
A home ultrasonic cleaner should be used with extreme caution. Ultrasonic machines can be used to clean ruby, sapphire, diamond, iolite, amethyst, citrine, garnets, iolite, chrysoberyl, and unadorned gold jewelry. However, these machines may damage emerald, pink tourmaline, peridot, pearls, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, and any gem that has many inclusions. Bring your jewelry to Herman Hiss for an expert opinion on whether an ultrasonic machine is right for your jewelry. Herman Hiss can recommend the appropriate model ultrasonic cleaner for you.

Care of Diamonds

Many diamond pieces, such as engagement and wedding rings, are worn 24 hours a day. Diamonds are durable, but they require proper maintenance to maintain their fiery brilliance.

Remove your diamond jewelry, especially rings, when applying lotions, powders, soaps or makeup.

Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing rough work. Even though 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.

Always thoroughly rinse and dry your jewelry after cleaning and before storage.
Avoid touching your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.

Care of Precious Metals

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 gold jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy.

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. Herman Hiss & Company has professional jewelry cleaning products and systems available for purchase. We’ll help you find the best one for your needs.
For certain gold jewelry, especially pieces that do not contain colored gemstones, an ultrasonic cleaning machine may be appropriate. Talk to our experts before using an ultrasonic machine, though. These machines can damage some types of jewelry.

Do not wear gold jewelry while using chlorine bleach or while in a pool or hot tub. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry.
Remove tarnish with 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, rinse with lukewarm water and allow to dry. If there is a heavy tarnish on your jewelry, bring your piece into Herman Hiss & Company for a professional (and free) cleaning.

Before attempting to clean any karat gold jewelry set with colored gemstones, speak with one of our knowledgeable sales staff or master jewelers as some stones require special cleaning procedures.

Grease can be removed from karat gold jewelry by dipping the jewelry into plain rubbing alcohol.

Platinum is one of the rarest and most durable precious metals. It is resistant to tarnishing and discoloration from chlorine and other chemicals. Platinum jewelry still needs to be properly cared for. We recommend you bring your platinum jewelry to Herman Hiss every six months for a professional cleaning.

Platinum jewelry can be cleaned in the same manner as other fine jewelry. Herman Hiss & Company can recommend a prepackaged jewelry cleaner that works with platinum.
Store your platinum jewelry separately from other pieces. 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, Herman Hiss & Company will 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
Sterling silver, like other precious metals, can oxidize with time. But properly maintained silver jewelry improves with age and develops a lush patina. Treat your silver well, care for it properly and it will reward you with a long life and a lustrous look.

Clean your silver jewelry with a mild soap and water solution, allowing the water to bead up, and then pat dry with a soft cloth. For more stubborn dirt, use a jewelry cleaner designed for silver use. Herman Hiss & Company has professional jewelry cleaning products and systems available for purchase. We’ll help you find the best one for your needs.

Store your silver in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tarnish-preventive bag or wrapped in a soft piece of felt or cloth. Store pieces individually, so that they don’t knock together and scratch.

Do not rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or a fine piece of felt. Tissue paper or paper towels can cause scratches.

Make sure your silver is not exposed to air and light during storage – this can cause silver to tarnish.

Don’t wear sterling silver in chlorinated water or when working with household chemicals.