Jewelry highlights beauty, emphasizes grace and lends uniqueness, but without attention and care, the varnish peels and the beauty fades – in conversation with Torsten Humbert, precious metals expert from Berlin.
The care of gemstones for appearance and shine, wearable jewelry and jewelry made of gold and silver, what harms the precious stones? In short, jewelry and gemstones need attentive loving care, space and regular care sessions, says precious metals and jewelry expert Torsten Humbert from Berlin. Humbert looks back on a long family history in the goldsmith trade. His ancestors founded Humbert & Sohn in Berlin, and from 1838 to 1850 they were royal court jewelers to the House of Prussia. Today, numerous pieces still bear witness to the skill of Humbert’s goldsmiths. In Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, in the Hohenzollern Castle Treasury, the crown of King Wilhelm I is on display, but the scepter and other insignia also come from the Berlin gold workshops of Humbert & Sohn. „The Humbert goldsmiths experienced their heyday in the days of the emperor, but perhaps my passion and fascination for the precious metals and stones derives from the family history,“ enthuses Berlin-based Torsten Humbert, who has been a dealer and merchant in this field since 1990 with the company Deutsche Schatzkasse GmbH.
Care of jewelry with precious stones
Beauty and charisma need care, this also applies to jewelry, gold, silver and precious stones. „In order to enjoy jewelry as long as possible, appropriate care is of high importance. Even if a gemstone has a high Mohs hardness, this does not mean that it is resistant to any environmental influences. Silver tarnishes and gold loses luster,“ says Humbert. A prime example of this phenomenon is once again the diamond, which is so hard that it can even be used to cut glass cleanly, but even slight mechanical action causes some diamonds to crack or chip.
Tips and tricks for supposedly taking good care of gemstones with home remedies abound, but what does the expert say? „Caution is advised from wearing to storage. Contact with modern cosmetics, perfumes, hair care products or heat can cause color changes or similar damage to some gemstones,“ Humbert says. Gemstones with particular sensitivities, for example, include gem opal, malachite, coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli and several more. Detergents or other household chemicals can permanently damage gemstones, so reaching for a drop of pH-neutral soap or certified gemstone cleaning products is a better alternative. Banal household situations such as simple hand washing can lead to internal cracks and channels in some stones, for example in rings, and should therefore always be removed beforehand, advises the expert. Jewelry with soft gemstones should be rubbed with a soft damp cloth after wearing and then rubbed dry with cloth towels.
Jewelry with gemstones properly care
Never should gemstones be exposed to chemicals; a drop of pH-neutral soap or dishwashing liquid, lukewarm water bath in a small bowl, and a child’s toothbrush will do the trick for most gemstones. Humbert cautions that with set stones, the dirt on the lower facets should be cleaned. First rinse with warm water is often enough, that applies to hard gemstones such as diamond, sapphire, ruby, topaz or quartz. Children’s toothbrushes have softer bristles and are ideal for removing dirt and leaving as few traces as possible in the form of scratches on the gemstone. At the end of the procedure, the jewelry or gemstone should be rinsed under running water. It is advisable to choose the same temperature as for the water bath, as a so-called thermal shock at different water temperatures can cause (micro) cracks and thus damage the stone.
Humbert explains that in order to minimize risks during care, the jewelry should not be washed in the sink, as the stones could get into the drain, among other things. The workers in the sewage treatment plant are happy about this, grins Torsten Humbert. In addition, it is expressly advised against the use of a hair dryer to dry the stones, since cracks in the gemstones are also caused here by too different temperatures. „Metal tools such as needles or tweezers should generally be avoided when cleaning jewelry or stones. Difficult to reach contamination can possibly be done with the help of a wooden toothpick to avoid scratches. But professional cleaning by a specialist not only brings back the shine and radiance, but also the certainty that the valuable pieces of jewelry will not suffer any permanent damage,“ says Humbert. Basically, the wearer should take off their jewelry when doing housework, gardening or other work. Going to bed and showering without jewelry protects the precious stones, putting on jewelry only after cosmetics and hairspray use.
Every treasure needs a treasure chest: jewelry case and box as companions
From an early age, treasures are collected, treasure chests are buried and childhood dreams are stored in the jewelry box with music box. As adults, there is no reason to stop doing this, because even in the main work „Faust“ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the pursuit of possessions and the pursuit of pleasure have been the two strongest driving forces of human activity since time immemorial. In adulthood, new treasures such as necklaces, rings, bangles, earrings, brooches, watches and more are added.
The perfect home for treasures, what is the optimal storage form for jewelry with and without gemstones? Torsten Humbert on this: „It is recommended to store the jewelry and also gemstones in closed caskets in separate compartments, which protects the preciousness from dust and foreign influence. In addition, gems should be cleaned briefly after each wear and then kept softly padded to counteract wear and tear.“ For this purpose, jewelry boxes and jewelry cases are suitable, which consist of several compartments, have devices for rings and ear studs, are lined with fabric or velvet and can be locked. It should not be forgotten that especially jewelry with precious stones need protection not only from the sun, dust and air, but especially should be gently bedded from scratches, says the expert. „Jewelry with precious stones should be stored flat in any case, so that the stones do not scratch the bezels made of precious metals. Another reason for the closed storage lies in the dust and the silica particles contained in it, which can damage especially soft minerals over a long period in the light. To prevent the color of the stones or the play of colors from fading, the jewelry must be kept away from daylight,“ explains Humbert.
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About the company:
Deutsche Schatzkasse GmbH and Kessef antique & modern silver, based in Berlin, is active in the trade for precious metals, the purchase and sale of precious stones and jewelry. Mr. Torsten Humbert is considered a proven precious metals expert and has spent his entire professional life since 1990 as a trader and merchant in the field of precious metals. After the apprenticeship in a technical field followed the self-employment in the purchase and sale of precious metals and valuable jewelry, based on the historical family branch of Humbert & Sohn. For more information, visit https://schatzkasse.de/
German treasury GmbH