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- Trade Secrets from the Queen of Clean: The Envelope Please
- Trade Secrets from the Queen of Clean: Clean Up the Awards Season 2
- Trade Secrets from the Queen of Clean: Cleaning Up the Awards Season
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Author Archives: Kristie Nicolosi
This year, the Oscars harkened back to yesteryear, with many vintage styles and modern pieces recalling the golden era of Hollywood.
Of course that meant diamonds, our first BFF. Jennifer Lawrence’s diamond drop earrings and stunning diamond necklace worn down her back were almost as big a topic as her somehow charming slip on the stairs.
And one couldn’t miss the stunning Fred Leighton diamond ring adorning Kerry Washington’s index finger; a new spot to sport some gorgeous bling.
Though earrings and bracelets still dominated, there were a few more statement necklaces in the mix this year. I especially loved Jennifer Garner’s gorgeous 200 carat Neil Lane necklace as she beamed at her Best Picture Oscar-winning hubby.
As for earnings, I loved Nicole Kidman’s ornate gilded drop earrings from Fred Leighton that so complimented her stunning dress and Catherine Zeta Jones’ dangling earrings comprised of natural colored diamonds in a mosaic-like design.
Cleaning How-To: While your diamonds may not come from a jeweler’s vault, you can keep them eye-popping with proper care and cleaning. Your rings and earrings are most likely to get gummed up through frequent wear, so exercise some caution. Remove your pieces before using lotion or hairspray, or when exercising, cooking, gardening and cleaning. When your diamond BFFs lose their sparkle, I recommend soaking them in a non-ammoniated fine jewelry cleaning formula, brushing with a soft, short brush designed for jewelry care, and drying and buffing with a professional polishing cloth.
The Hollywood awards season comes at just the right time. As we struggle through the cold, gray days of winter, the glitterati walk the red carpet in gorgeous dresses and stunning jewels, sparking us out of our winter gloom. I watched them all – The Golden Globes, The Grammy’s and The Oscars – tracking the trends that will morph from the runway to your reality. Here’s a rundown of my favorites, along with cleaning and care how-to’s for different pieces.
Today I start with the Golden Globes. Check back tomorrow and Friday for the low-down on The Grammy’s and The Oscars.
The Golden Globes
The Globes may be Golden, but they were also awash in diamonds, gemstones and more. There were delectable earrings, stunning necklaces and fabulous rings in a variety of metals and in diamonds and gemstones.
For classic diamond looks, I loved Lucy Liu’s Lorraine Schwartz diamond drop earrings and Anne Hathaway’s simple studs and diamond bracelets. Then Jessica Alba upped the ante with a to-die-for Chopard diamond necklace, the shape of which so perfectly accentuated the neckline of her dress.
Not everyone wore diamonds though. Emily Blunt’s gemstone earrings by Lorraine Schwartz offered a gorgeous pop of color, as did Michelle Dockery’s Bulgari emerald and gold stunners. And Debra Messing’s stack of bracelets by Amprapai offered oodles of impact.
Funny ladies Tina Fey and Amy Pohler proved that hilarious can be beautiful. Fey’s elegant Fred Leighton pieces were understated and lovely, while Pohler’s diamond lariat by Chopard will inspire looks this year.
Cleaning How-To: Caring for your own gold and platinum jewelry can be done with a non-abrasive fine jewelry cleaning formula followed by buffing with a professional polishing cloth. Fine metals are easily scratched or bent, so it’s important to remove pieces when engaging in certain activities such as exercise (imagine the pressure your tennis racquet exerts on your rings!), gardening, cleaning and heavy lifting. When you aren’t wearing your favorite piece, store it in a protective case or pouch.
In recent years, the popularity of enhanced stones, particularly diamonds, has grown rapidly. There are a variety of reasons for this, but generally the purchase of an enhanced stone allows the customer to acquire a larger or fancier stone at a lower cost. Enhanced stones, while less valuable due to being less scarce, are no less valuable to those who wear them. As with every piece of jewelry, the value comes from its emotional meaning to the wearer. As long as the purchaser or recipient is aware the stone has been enhanced, these stones provide a viable option to men and women purchasing diamond or other gemstone jewelry.
Enhanced stones are not “fake.” They are natural stones that have already been cut and polished into gems but which are treated to improve certain gemological characteristics. Laser drilling can be performed to remove inclusions and improve clarity. Sealants can be applied to fill in cracks. Irradiation followed by a high heat treatment can turn brown and yellow diamonds into fancy colored diamonds in vivid colors. Color treatments can be applied to improve a white diamond’s color grade or to give fancy color to a white or off-white diamond. All of these treatments make a stone that might be difficult to sell into one that can be used in commercial jewelry. However, it is important that the buyer be made aware of any treatment that has been applied to a stone.
Some (less-than-reputable) jewelers will apply a coating to change a diamond’s color to make it appear colorless in the store. These coatings are not permanent and are not considered enhancements to a stone. In fact, they will rub off with normal wear and cleaning and are intended to deceive. Buyers should be very cautious and work with reputable jewelers who would not consider using such tactics.
Just like any gemstone, enhanced stones require routine cleaning to maintain their sparkle. Treated diamonds, however, require a different cleaning procedure than untreated diamonds. While untreated diamonds are best cleaned in a fine jewelry cleaning formula, treated diamonds should be cleaned in a gentle cleaning formula. The stone can be soaked briefly in the solution and buffed and polished with a high-quality polishing cloth. The gentle formula will ensure that sealants and color treatments will not be damaged. Ultrasonic cleaners are also unsafe for use on enhanced stones (and are not recommended for any set stones for at-home use).
As with any piece of jewelry, knowing the characteristics of the stone or stones in the piece allows the owner to properly care for it. It is essential to always clean in a method safe for the softest or most vulnerable stone in the piece. In the case of enhanced stones, the treatments conducted to the stone to improve it require treating the stone in a more gentle fashion. And with proper care, enhanced stones can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
We were delighted to be featured today in The Bride’s Guide blog at marthastewartweddings.com! We hope you will visit their beautiful site and take a look.
Here is the article as posted:
Expert Advice: How to Keep your Sparkler Sparkling
You will never forget the moment he asked you to marry him, slipping a beautiful, sparkling diamond ring on your finger. Since your diamond will be a symbol of your commitment to one another, you’ve no doubt wondered how you’ll keep it looking beautiful for a lifetime.
We asked Kristie Nicolosi, President & CEO of The Kingswood Company, the world’s leading producer of fine-quality jewelry care products, for her top five tips to keeping your engagement ring looking dazzling.
1. When you and your fiancé choose a ring, it’s best to find a setting that is in keeping with your lifestyle. Wear and tear on your ring will make it look dull quickly. For example, if you have a very active lifestyle, be aware of how high your ring is set. “When I became engaged in my 20’s, my ring was beautiful, fabulous and set very high. It was my first major piece of jewelry, and I just didn’t know what sort of setting I needed for my lifestyle,” explained Nicolosi. “After three months and some serious damage, I had it reset lower.”
2. To prevent damage and a build-up of dirt and grime, Nicolosi recommends removing your ring when doing a variety of activities, including exercising, gardening, cleaning (due to cleaning chemicals), swimming (exposure to chlorine) and even when applying hair products, lotions, and sunscreen.
3. Though you may well have seen your mother or grandmother do it, you really should not use a toothbrush to clean your ring. The pressure you exert with the long handle of a toothbrush is too strong for the metal settings and the bristles can scratch the metal. You will do far more damage than good. “The brushes that come with a jar of jewelry cleaner aren’t little so they’ll look cute and fit in the jar,” explained Nicolosi. “They are sized so that you cannot put undue pressure on your ring.”
4. Also be wary of at-home Ultrasonic machines that use sound vibrations to clean your ring—they can shake loose a diamond if the setting has been damaged. It’s best to have your diamond deep cleaned only by a professional jeweler. You should have your ring professionally cleaned at least once a year, at the same time your jeweler will examine your ring with a gem scope, checking the prongs, verifying that the stones are secure, looking for any weakness in the metal and studying the stone for chipping or damage. Also, many insurance policies require these inspections to keep your insurance current; you should check your policy to be sure.
5. Whether your ring is brand new or just back from a professional cleaning, you really can keep it in sparkling condition with proper routine cleaning. “You probably didn’t get a jar of jewelry cleaner with your proposal,” laughed Nicolosi. “So when you stop by your local jeweler to have your ring sized or to choose your wedding bands, it’s a great time to pick some up.” Your jeweler should carry high-quality cleaning formulas and polishing cloths which can be used often, even daily, to keep your ring looking beautiful. If you have a diamond engagement ring, a fine jewelry cleaning formula will work wonderfully. If your ring has other softer stones, be sure to seek guidance from your jeweler for more gentle cleaners. Nicolosi also encourages you not to use “home remedies” such as toothpaste, bleach, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda or ammonia.
I work hard. I really do! So my trip to Switzerland for the Baselworld show was full of hard work. OK, it was also full-on fabulous, but I did meet with customers new and old and was able to admire the trends that will be taking stage in the coming year. Here are some of the trends I noticed (and, of course, how to clean them!).
Links remain a big trend in both necklaces and bracelets. These are not chains that bind but chains that beautify. As the trend evolves, I saw a number of pieces done in mixed materials, such as silver, gold, ceramic and wood. There were many different textures and materials, making the trend feel fresh.
When cleaning mixed metals or mixed materials, consumers need to be very conscious of what materials are used in the piece. Always clean with the most sensitive material in mind. The safest route is to buff the piece with a polishing cloth; you really can’t do damage that way. If the mixed materials make it too difficult for you to clean beyond buffing, don’t hesitate to send your piece back to the jeweler for refurbishing. Proper storage of your piece and careful choices while wearing it are also key to keeping it looking beautiful.
Another trend that is continuing and evolving is the statement piece of jewelry. By that I mean a ring or necklace pendant featuring a large, statement stone. Because it is difficult for jewelry designers to find very large stones of consistent quality, they have begun to use a cluster of smaller stones to achieve the same effect. To be sure, some pieces are still made with very large gemstones, but they are extraordinarily expensive. So for the more mainstream customer, jewelry designers have begun using clusters or mosaics of smaller stones or a larger stone surrounded by smaller stones to make the statement. The effect can be compared to that of stacking a large number of bangles on your wrist to give the illusion of a cuff-style bracelet.
Cleaning pieces of this kind requires a bit of extra care. Gentle jewelry cleaning formularies that do not contain ammonia are safe for most gemstones, including pearls. However, a word of caution; any gemstones that are strung on silk or set with glue require should not be submerged in jewelry cleaner (really, any liquid) for more than a couple of minutes. It’s not the gemstones that can be damaged, but the silk string or glue holding the stone in place. It is best to ask your jeweler what cleaning method is safest and most effective for pieces of this kind, as some stones are set and some are glued. Best to be safe and seek guidance.
I also noted a trend of retro glamour. There are lines evoking the feel of the turn of the 20th century; think Boardwalk Empire. There were also lines reflecting the era of The Great Gatsby and the flapper, particularly pearl pieces. And some that reflected the mid-century feel of Mad Men. Jewelers are definitely reinterpreting a variety of eras gone by.
Pearls remain popular, but are being used in different ways. I saw layered pearls, tassels and baroque pearls, which are pearls of different sizes and shapes used in one piece. They are very beautiful.
But not everything I saw was a reinterpretation of an older trend. The most unusual and arresting piece I saw was an enormous yellow diamond in a wood setting. Wood! I must say that this Queen of Clean was almost stumped by that one. Perhaps I should consider adding Pledge to my line!
On Saturday, December 17, I was a guest on the NBC4 Today show in Columbus, Ohio. It was fabulous spending some time with Mindy Drayer walking through the do’s and don’ts of jewelry cleaning, dispelling some “old wives’ tales” and sharing how to get your jewelry sparkling for the holidays. She even tried to get me to give up our trade-secret formularies!
Check out the clip of the segment and let us know what you think. Do you have another question you’d like to see answered? Maybe Mindy will have us back for a follow-up!