ChatterTip of the Month January 2010

Before we get to this month’s tip, I just wanted to reassure you that I do test out the ChatterTips and ChatterRecipes. For instance, remember last month we talked about the brown paper bag vegetable storage solution? Well, I checked it out and it really works! I took a bag of potatoes out of the plastic bag they came in, then placed the potatoes in a brown paper carrier bag with an apple. I clipped the top of the bag together with a binder clip and put it in the coolest part of my “warm” New York apartment. And I’m telling you, it really works, the potatoes are staying nice and fresh and not spoiling at all!

Cleaning Jewelry


© Kan Nakai

I am thrilled to be using an image from photographer Kan Nakai, with whom I worked for a couple of years when I was at Watson & Spierman. So thanks to both Kan and to George for letting us use this fabulous image.

The Astrological sign of Capricorn, which falls in the month of January, is associated with minerals and gemstones, so this month’s ChatterTip is all about cleaning jewelry:

First of all – make sure if you are working at the sink that you put the plug in! And don’t forget to check the stone settings of the pieces in case any of them are loose! Much of your jewelry, especially the pieces that include the “harder” gemstones, can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution that preferably does not contain harsh detergents. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub the pieces clean, rinse with warm water (I use a wire sieve so I can rinse several pieces at a time) and always use lint-free cloths.

Do NOT soak “soft” porous gemstones such as opalspearls orturquoise and never put them in a sonic cleaning machine! Instead, these “softer” stones should be treated very gently and simply wiped clean with a damp cloth, or dipped briefly into a mild soapy solution before drying with a lint-free cloth. And did you know that you can also clean pearls with a tiny dab of olive oil before wiping off with a soft cloth?

An interesting tip, especially for dull GOLD JEWELRY is to use toothpaste – the white chalky variety, not the gel. This can either be applied with a little water and scrubbed gently with a toothbrush or applied dry from the tube, like a polish, and then buffed with a soft, dry cloth. And while we’re on the dental theme, some people recommend soaking your jewelry in a glass of warm water with either a couple of denture tablets, or even Alka Seltzer. Who knew? And others suggest dipping the toothbrush in ammonia but that is too potent for my money and can potentially tarnish the metal, so how about our good old faithful friend instead? Apparently most “costume jewelry” can be cleaned by dipping it into a glass of vinegar.

And here’s a great tip for getting rid of the tarnish on sterling SILVER JEWELRY. Take an aluminum pie pan, or line a shallow dish with aluminum foil and then lay the silver pieces you want to clean in the dish. Do NOT do this with pieces that include gemstones – this is for silver only! Cover each piece with baking soda until all of the silver is covered. Carefully pour boiling water over the baking soda and leave until the “bubbles” subside. If the silver is badly tarnished you may have to repeat this process a few times. And a suggestion to avoid the silver tarnishing in the first place is to store it in talcum powder – Who knew?

2 thoughts on “ChatterTip of the Month January 2010

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