It is a very depressing sight to see our precious jewelry gather dust and stains. While gold and platinum can simply be washed with a brush and soap to get considerably clean, cleaning silver jewelry is tougher because of the tarnish that coats it every now and then. At the same time, if the jewelry is set with stones, then getting rid of the dirt and grime caught between the stones and the metal is even tougher. There are a number of ways in which you can clean your silver jewelry, ranging from using bottled cleaning liquids and chemicals to using steamers and ultrasonic jewelry cleaning equipment.
Using an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is one of the best methods of cleaning silver jewelry. These cleaners are based on the concept that when very high frequency sound travels through water, it creates its own path, which results in microscopic bubbles shooting out at a high pressure inside the water. When these bubbles burst due to the pressure put on them by the surrounding water, then very tiny and very powerful jet streams are formed. This process is known as cavitation. Since the bubbles formed during cavitation are extremely small in size, they travel inside all the crevices and corners of your silver jewelry. The pressure and temperature of the jet streams created during cavitation are extremely high and thus, provide for an extremely detailed and thorough cleaning of your jewelry.
Most ultrasonic jewelry cleaners use a range of 20-80kHz sound waves. A household ultrasonic cleaner, which can be purchased for somewhere around $60-$80 generally works with a 40kHz frequency while an 80kHz frequency is used for ultrasonics that are sold for commercial use. The quality of cleaning however does not change much with the frequency of sound used as long as enough bubbles are formed.
Using an ultrasonic cleaner is one of the easiest and fastest methods of getting your jaded jewelry to shine just like new. However, there are a number of precautions that you should keep in mind before dunking your precious silver jewelry in ultrasonic waters. Special care should be taken regarding jewelry that is embellished with gemstones. For one, ultrasonic cleaning is not recommended for soft stones like pearls, amber and opal. Then again, there are a number of gemstones which should not be put in an ultrasonic cleaner because of their internal structure, which can change on interaction with ultrasonic waves. Gems that fall under this bracket are peridots, emeralds, tourmaline and tanzanite.
Other instances where ultrasonic cleaning is not advised are when your jewelry is set with stones that are very highly polished with chemicals like wax, oils or resins since these might be cleaned out of their crevices, leaving visible faults behind. Wax treated stones may lose their luster. Similarly, any stone that has undergone enhancements is in danger of losing its artificial finish or filling in case it is put in an ultrasonic cleaner. In fact, it is advised that you consult your jeweler before you start using ultrasonic cleaning equipment on your precious gems and jewels in order to get the best, rather than the worst out of this technology.
Cleaning silver jewelry by using ultrasonic machines is one of the easiest and fastest ways of getting rid of all the dirt and grime that has settled onto your precious stones and metal. Ultrasonic cleaning takes just 5 minutes and your jewelry comes out of the machine looking like new. On top of this, ultrasonic machines are not very costly either and you can easily get a good machine after spending just sixty to eighty dollars. And this is just a one time investment, for all your machine will require for cleaning is just plain water, and you can go on cleaning your jewelry using your machine as and when required.
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How Does Ultrasonic Work?
Sound of a frequency higher than what human beings can hear is called ultrasonic. An ultra sonic machine works on the concept that when ultrasonic sound is passed through water, a physical phenomenon called cavitation takes place where millions of microscopic vacuum filled bubbles are formed. These bubbles then burst with a very high rate of pressure and temperature, creating powerful jets that can effectively clean all kinds of jewelry inside out.
How Do You Use It?
Household ultrasonic machines come equipped with a removable basket. All you need to do in order to clean your jewelry is to keep all the jewelry that needs cleaning into this basket. Then you put the basket into the tank of the machine, which can be filled either with water or cleaning solution and switch on the machine. You can take your jewelry out of the machine after five minutes, sparkling clean and looking as good as new. Many ultrasound cleaners have separate dipping tanks where you can remove stubborn stains and tarnish from your jewelry by dipping it in tarnish removing solution, if it has already not been cleaned by ultrasonic.
What Are The Precautions That One Needs to Take?
The force and pressure with which molecules in an ultrasonic machine make for thorough cleansing, but this can be damaging for some kinds of jewelry. For one, there are a number of stones that might get damaged when put in an ultrasonic machine. So if your jewelry is embedded with soft gemstones like opals, pearls or amber, then do not put it in an ultrasonic machine because they may get damaged in the process. Similarly, there are a number of precious stones whose crystalline structure might get disturbed with ultrasonic cleaning. Emeralds, peridots, tourmaline and tanzanite fall under this category. In fact, it is advised that you consult your jeweler before putting any kind of jewelry into an ultrasonic machine. Always follow the instructions that come with your machine to a T and never run it without water or with a cleaning solution that is not recommended by the manufacturers. Once you know what to clean and what not to clean, and how to use an ultrasonic machine you will be able to take a lot of use and derive many benefits from your ultrasonic cleaning machine.