- Trade Secrets from the Queen of Clean: Mosaic Madness
- Trade Secrets from the Queen of Clean: Do You Know Mohs?
- 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
- Lillian Weiss Schmid on Green with Love: From Recycling to Reusing
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Tag Archives: Kristie Nicolosi
As I prepare for the JCK show in a few weeks, I came across the May 2012 edition of JCK Magazine. My heart stopped as I saw a page I had marked: the one with the fabulously gorgeous and gorgeously fabulous Sharon Khazzam mosaic cuff bracelet. I am always telling my friends that jewelry is truly an art form, and this one-of-a-kind piece demonstrates that in spades.
The story by Melissa Rose Bernardo, Managing Editor of JCK Magazine, details how Khazzam crafted the piece. She had the idea years before she began executing it for a client. The lucky client received not only the bracelet but a book detailing the process of its creation.
The cuff is comprised of 434 stones in 54 different varieties. With stones from aquamarine to yellow tourmaline and dozens in between, one can imagine it would be tricky to keep clean. While you may not have a cuff quite this complex, you probably do have jewelry made from a variety of stones and metals. It is safe to clean these pieces; you just need to use a cleaning formula safe for the most delicate stone in the mix. Gentle cleaning formulas like we produce at The Kingswood Company are safe for even the most delicate stones. Because they are non-ammoniated, you can use such a formula for a quick soak followed by buffing with a polishing cloth. Cleaning your favorite pieces routinely will keep them looking gorgeous. Dirty jewelry usually gets left forlornly in your jewelry box. So keep it clean and wear it often!
The designer of this stunner explained that she searched through thousands of stones to create the piece. “I’m always looking for new stones, trying to find one that no one has ever seen. It’s almost an obsession.” Obsession? I get it. You might even say I am obsessed with clean, sparkling jewelry!
As the Queen of Clean, I frequently field questions from my friends and colleagues about how to clean different pieces of jewelry. Depending on what they want to clean, I may recommend our Fine Jewelry Cleaner, Gentle Jewelry Cleaner or Silver Cleaner. I will assume that you have deduced what you should clean with Silver Cleaner, but my friends will ask, “What’s the difference between Fine and Gentle Jewelry Cleaner? Does it really matter what I use?” Yes, it does; and the why all comes down to what variety of stone you are cleaning.
In order to properly clean your jewelry, it is important to understand how “hard” the gemstones in the piece are. Softer, more porous jewels cannot handle the same chemical treatment as harder gemstones. But how can you know how hard they are?
If you ask your jeweler that question, she will likely reference the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes how scratch resistant various minerals are. Minerals are compared by the ability of one mineral to scratch the surface of a softer mineral. The scale is named for German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs who created it in 1812.
You can probably guess what mineral tops the scale: diamonds. Ten minerals make up the scale and all other minerals fall on the scale based on the hardest mineral that mineral can scratch. The Mohs scale minerals range from softest (talc) to hardest (diamonds). The scale does not measure absolute hardness but rather the relative hardness of one mineral to another.
What does this mean for cleaning your jewelry? At The Kingswood Company our cleaning formularies are designed to safely clean all the jewelry in your wardrobe. Our Fine Jewelry Cleaner, which contains ammonia, is safe for diamonds, amethyst, rubies, sapphires and more (for a full list visit our Education page). And our non-ammoniated Gentle Jewelry Cleaner is safe for use on softer and more porous stones such as emeralds, opals, pearls, turquoise and more (for a full list visit our Education page). If your piece of jewelry is made of multiple stones, always use the cleaning formula that is safe for the softest or most delicate element in the piece.
So now you know Mohs! And while it is interesting, I don’t recommend you scratch your jewels to see how hard they are.
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 are happy to note that we had yet another article featured in Brilliance, A Publication of the American Gem Society. This is the second in a series of four articles that will be published over the course of a year.
Please take a look at the story, Shine On, by visiting the online version here. Our thanks again to the American Gem Society for allowing us to partner with them to share information on jewelry care and cleaning with consumers.