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Bling Central

On the Bench: The Difference a Full Refinishing Makes

May 21, 2020

Read the latest article in our series On the Bench With Master Jeweler Eric Sanchez. 

There are those out there who ask me “how often should I get my rings cleaned and polished”, and those that don’t even know that polishing jewelry back to perfection is even a thing. Hopefully, I can shed some light for those that wonder and those that have not heard that your jewelry can look as beautiful as the day you saw it the first time you laid eyes on it. 

At Samuelson’s, all jewelry bought with us (as many of our customers already know) comes with free cleanings and stone checking for as long as you own the piece. It is recommended that you bring in your jewelry for cleaning every 4-6 months to ensure a deep clean and to catch any possible loose stones before they get lost. This is a level of basic care that all should practice for those pieces you wear often, especially for wedding/engagement rings. 

Not everyone knows that there is a deeper  process for which jewelry can be checked, cleaned, and polished back to its full glory inside and out. You wouldn’t believe how many people are simply amazed when they receive their jewelry back from a full refinishing. It’s almost a daily experience, and it is definitely a perk of my job here to see the looks on people’s faces remembering what it used to look like (never gets old). 

Recommendations for full refinishings are a bit different from a standard clean and stone check. It may be different for many out there, depending on how important it is for your jewelry to look “day one” fabulous, but I would range it for every 1-2 years depending on how much wear the jewelry gets. Wedding sets tend to get the most wear as they are typically worn everyday and rarely taken off. A lot can happen to an engagement ring throughout the day that—with each passing day—may seem minor, but over time light scratches on the shank from holding silverware and opening door handles will dull the shine, and daily hand lotions will cake underneath and form layers of hardened material under the stones. Also, not many know that 99% of modern white gold jewelry is rhodium plated to make it as brilliant as possible, but that plating eventually wears away and needs to be re-plated.

Hence, more work goes into a full refinish. To take out all those dents, the process begins with a proper sanding of the metal to remove any and all deep scratches and marks. For white gold, I ensure to evenly affect the entire piece as I want to remove any areas where the old rhodium plating may be to give the new coat an even consistency. The jewelry is then taken to a polishing motor to go through about 2 stages of polishing buffs (platinum takes the longest and requires 3) until it shines like new. In between these stages, stone checks are constantly taking place to ensure no stones get loose in the process. After a deep clean in an ultrasonic cleaner and steam blast, a final stone check is done and rhodium plating can commence for white gold. And abracadabra, it’s like new again.

Almost anything can be polished. From pendants to bracelets, rings and earrings. The only pieces that would need special hand polished care are jewelry with soft stones (emerald, coral, opal) and pearls, or anything with a glued/epoxied setting. So if your wedding rings are looking dull, or those beautiful dangle earrings need a refresh, bring your jewelry to Samuelson’s and we will take great care of your jewelry and make them look better than you remember!

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