Working with Precious Metals: Four Things to Keep In Mind

Whether you have precious metals in your jewelry, fixtures in your home, or elsewhere inside of your house, it's important that you take care of these items. Protecting the precious metals from harm will help to ensure that they remain beautiful and valuable for many years to come. When you're working with your precious metals, it's important to keep a few things in mind, so that you are best able to capitalize on their natural beauty and to preserve them for the future.

1. Polishing Frequently is the Best Way to Maintain Shine

Different metals require different types of polish, and different polishing schedules. However, polishing an item made out of a precious metal is the single best way to keep that item shiny and clear. By polishing your precious metal, you'll eliminate any scuffs and surface level damage that may have occurred, while simultaneously bringing out the natural beauty of the metal.

Consult with the manufacturer of an object containing precious metals for instructions on how to polish the item. Be sure to also purchase the appropriate type of polish to use, as incorrect types can stain or damage the surface of the metal.

2. Be Careful of Dents

Some types of precious metals are softer than others. Silver, for instance, tends to be a bit softer than other metals and can easily dent or "bruise." Therefore, it's a good idea to sit at a table or at a low level when working with these precious metals. That way, if you end up dropping the metal by accident, the likelihood of it becoming dented or damaged is reduced. You may even wish to work over a foam pad or another soft surface that can lessen the impact if the item should fall.

3. Avoid Cleaning Stones

If you have precious metal items that also contain precious stones, such as jewelry, it's important to be aware that the cleaning procedures for these items may be different than they would be for basic metals. Some stones will absorb water, and may become tarnished or damaged if you wash them off with regular water or cleaning solution. Be sure to check on any warnings of this type for the stones in your precious metal objects, before you begin to clean them.

4. Avoid Extreme Hot and Cold

Some types of metals are much more susceptible to damage from hot and cold temperatures than others. If your item made with precious metal is left outside when the temperature drops, it may become damaged or tarnished. The same can be said for items that are left in areas that get very hot. Be careful to work in an area that is the appropriate temperature for the item, and the type of metal itself.

Antiques specialists and others who work closely with precious metals can be a great source of information regarding more specific questions about working with precious metals.