What Does Hand Sanitizer Do to Our Jewelry?

I am, on the best days, a germaphobe. My obsession with keeping germs at bay went into overdrive when I became a mom, and then throw in a pandemic, and I’m considering fashioning myself a hand sanitizer holster. Oh yeah, I’d wear it.

Years ago when I worked in retail, even then I had a small bottle of hand sanitizer close at hand. I remember being told that too much could eat away at the rhodium plating on my ring (I had a white gold wedding set at that time). Still, a quick rub here and there kept my hands feeling clean, and, though my ring definitely bled yellow over time, it’s hard to know if that was the reason why—or if it was just general wear and tear.

Currently, constant hand-washing and sanitizing isn’t just for peace of mind; it’s highly recommended. I don’t even want to write the word COVID-19—I swear it echoes in my dreams. But it’s keeping us prudently cleaning our hands, and in turn, cleaning our jewelry, too—at least, the pieces we wear on our fingers.

Let me please preface this by saying that yes, you should absolutely positively wash wash wash, spray spray spray, scrub scrub scrub—whatever keeps your hands clean. Jewelry is precious, that is true, but your health is all the more so.

However, given that I’m sporting a newly redesigned wedding ring, I can’t help but wonder what I might be doing to it with my constant use of chemicals. Am I causing damage?

I always take my ring off to shower, lotion, make meatballs—you get it. Not trying to gunk up the jewels here! But I almost never take it off to wash my hands, and certainly not to sanitize. I’m betting most wearers are the same.

I spoke with Shan Aithal, a metallurgist at Stuller, to get the dirt (pardon the pun) on keeping hands—and rings—clean.

“To my knowledge, hand sanitizers are not capable of removing tough, albeit thin, rhodium that’s on a piece of jewelry,” says Aithal. “Hand sanitizers come in two varieties: alcohol-based and non–alcohol-based. The ones with alcohol are benign to jewelry items as alcohol is the main germ-killing ingredient. However, non–alcohol-based ones typically use chlorine-based compounds as germicides. These chlorine compounds could react with water and release free chlorine. Free chlorine radical is very reactive and could cause tarnishing of jewelry, especially if it is made of sterling silver. Also, halogens are known to cause stress corrosion cracking in low karat golds, in particular, nickel white golds.”

It is worth noting, in this case, that the CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content. As long as you’re doing that, your metal will probably stay in great shape.

Soaps, according to Aithal, are a different story. “Soaps can contain abrasives, like Lava or that orange goo dispensed near hand-washing stations, that could damage the surface of jewelry and cause rhodium to be worn away.”

What about my diamonds and sapphires? It won’t damage them, but can leave a filmy residue on the stones over time, dulling the sparkle. But it’s not permanent, and nothing a quick soak in an ultrasonic can’t fix.

“If anything, people should be cleaning their jewelry more,” says Susi Smither, founder of The Rock Hound. “Think of all that horrid buildup of crud under rings and behind the setting of claw-set earrings. Hand sanitizer kills the baddies then evaporates fast—this shouldn’t have any detrimental effects on your gemstones, even materials such as gemstones and pearls. If you’re worried, at the end of the day give them a rinse and dry when you get home.”

Peggy Grosz, senior vice president at Assael, suggests erring more on the side of caution when it comes to pearls. “Sanitized skin should not come into contact with your pearls until completely dry and evaporated—wait about five minutes before putting on your pearls,” says Grosz. “As with perfumes and hairspray, the alcohol in the hand sanitizer can change the surface of the pearl, the two noticeable differences being a loss of luster and a change in color—white pearls, for example, will become yellowed if repeatedly exposed to such chemicals. Pearl rings should be removed when applying hand sanitizer, but because they have a mounting which separates them from direct contact with the chemicals, it is safe to put rings back on after a few minutes.”

Bottom line? Most, if not all, jewelry will be just fine, and of course you don’t want to discourage your customers from prioritizing their health. But it is a good idea to arm them with this information, perhaps a little extra bottle of ring cleaner, and a welcome back to the store to have their jewels cleaned professionally, regularly.

Article Provided by: JCK The Industry Authority

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October Birth Stone

Opal is arguably the most unique, diverse, and beautiful birthstone. Unlike most gemstones, Opal is amorphous which means it does not have a defined crystalline structure. It takes on many shapes and colors and in that way, it is pretty unpredictable.

Opals are very interesting and there are some myths that you’ll want to know about as well. We even have some spectacular specimens for you to admire as you learn about this fascinating gemstone.

Opals have been the muse of artists, writers, and other creatives since what seems like the beginning of time. The exact origin of Opal‘s name is disputed, but historians are confident that in ancient Rome Opal was known as opalus which translates as the “precious stone.”

Was the Opal the ancient Romans admired the same as the one we admire today? No one is sure. However, evidence of Opal artifacts date as far back as 4000 B.C.

Not only has Opal been in the minds and hearts of mankind for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, Opals take a very long time to form.

Though the exact cause of Opal formation is still disputed, many believe that silica was carried down into rock crevices by heavy rains. Once the water evaporated, what was left was a silica gel that then hardened over the course of what some believe is millions of years. This didn’t happen overnight! It takes roughly 5 million years to solidify just one centimeter of Opal.

This theory makes sense considering Opal has water in it. The water content of an Opal can be upwards of 20 percent but is usually in the 5 percent range.

It is estimated that nearly 95% of the world’s opal comes from Australia. Other countries that commonly mine Opals include Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico.

There are two types of Opals: precious and common. Precious Opals either have vibrant color (fire Opal) or exhibit a play of color. Play of color is a term coined to describe the unique multi-dimensional color display that the more precious Opals have.

Precious Opals have two basic colors, their background color and their play of color. The background color is caused by impurities within the silica. Within the precious Opal family, there are many different varieties of Opal. Each has their own unique color combinations and character traits. Opals can be found orange, yellow, red, green, blue, or purple.  Black Opals are considered one of the rarest gemstones, though they too can be a variety of dark colors.

The other colors are caused by the way silica forms together. Silica is composed of a bunch of tiny spheres that adhere to one another. When they fuse, tiny gaps are created between them that allow the light to diffract. This diffraction causes a magnitude of different shapes and color combinations.

Opal became the official birthstone of the month of October in 1912. The National Association of Jewelers came together at that time to finalize the longtime debate as to which gemstones represented each month. Opal has been a clear winner for the month of October since the 15th century.

Many cultures throughout history have associated different gemstones with astrological signs. The stone that aligns with your sign largely depends on which list or culture you choose to follow. Opal has commonly been

ated with the signs Scorpio and Libra, which aligns with October.

Opal is also the official gemstone gift alternative for the 14th wedding anniversary.

 

 

Diamond, Jewelry, Necklace, Diamond Rings, Diamond Earrings, Jewelry Stores, Engagement Rings, Geiss and Sons Jewelers, Greenville, South Carolina

Good Time to Buy Natural Color Diamonds

It’s a good time to buy natural color diamonds. “The recent price declines in the white goods created an overall negative psychological effect on all diamonds. This is probably the reason we also witnessed a decline of 0.1% in the Fancy Color Index in Q2,” said Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF) advisory board member Eden Rachminov.

According to the FCRF, yellow diamonds displayed a decline of 0.8% vis-a-vis the 0.2% increase in the second quarter of 2018. The prices of yellow diamonds declined by 0.8% overall in this quarter, primarily influenced by the 1–3 cts. categories, with the sharpest downturn of 2.7% in the 1 ct. category.

Blue diamonds showed a 0.3% decrease in the second quarter of 2019 compared to a 1.5% increase in the same quarter in 2018. Blue diamond prices decreased overall by 0.3%, affected mainly by the decline of 0.9% in the weight category of 8–10 cts.

Only pink diamonds showed an upturn of 0.4% in the second quarter of 2019, compared to a 0.5% decrease in the same quarter in 2018. The pink category continued to outperform all other categories, showing an increase of 0.4%. All fancy vivid pinks rose by 1.3%, with fancy vivid pinks of 2 and 3 cts. showing a rise in the second quarter of 2019, increasing by 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively.

Despite the temporary psychological negative effect at the moment, the long-term price trend for natural color diamonds looks positive. According to research by Knight Frank, within the last 10 years, the price of colored diamonds went up by 85%, outperforming some “classical” luxury investment objects such as art and watches. “It’s definitely a good time to buy colored diamonds now,” says Rachminov.

One of the opportunities to buy is the upcoming True Colors auction by Alrosa, the worlds’ largest diamond miner. The diamonds will be available for viewing during the September Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair (Sept. 16–20). For the first time, the auction will be conducted via the Alrosa online platform, diamonds.alrosa.ru. The first True Colors auction was conducted in 2018. It finished with a total sale of 210 diamonds. The bidding was very active, and most of the lots were sold for well above their starting prices.

At this year’s auction, Alrosa is offering a comprehensive origin story for every stone for the first time. Thanks to Alrosa’s traceability programs, the consumers can witness the diamonds’ fascinating journey from mine and market. “With a closed production cycle, the company can guarantee the origin of every polished diamond, especially since it has its own unique ID,” revealed the miner.

This year, the collection includes about 200 polished diamonds of various shapes and colors, and all have GIA certificates. Each of them is a masterpiece of diamond production created by skillful professionals who put their hearts into their work, keep the traditions, and know what a real Russian cut is (Russian cut describes both the origin of the diamond and the location where it was cut).

Alrosa operates its own in-house cutting and polishing branch, Diamonds of Alrosa. Beginning in 2018, it concentrated on fancy color and unique diamonds. Alrosa’s goal is to become the leader in the natural color diamonds market. Being the largest miner, Alrosa aims to be the largest producer of natural color diamonds by volume.

Article Provided By: JKC