Top 10 Jewellery Cleaning Tips

1. Firstly before undertaking any cleaning of your jewellery always remember to check it over. This means checking for loose stones or beads if it has them as cleaning is a great time to make sure you are not at risk of losing precious stones in your jewellery. Also check the metal to make sure it is not cracked, dimpled or broken you do not wish to cause further damage by cleaning the jewellery.

2. The next step is to clean your jewellery using a cotton cloth. If you are cleaning several pieces at a time make sure that you use a new piece of cloth each time, this is because previous jewellery may leave sediment on the cloth with could scratch and damage the jewellery and you do not want this to happen.

3. Sometimes you may wish to use shop bought products made specifically for cleaning jewellery such as silver-dip or gold dip. When using these it is always important to read the label carefully and ensure that you are using the right dip for the type of jewellery you wish to clean. Never put plated metal jewellery in a dip formulated for the solid metal as this has a risk of stripping it. Many commercial cleaners can also leave a film on the jewellery’s surface which you may not want on certain jewellery finishes such as oxidised metals. If you wish to clean your jewellery at home it is best to use simply what you can find in your bathroom such as a bowl, soap and water, a soft toothbrush and towels.

4. There are certain products which you should not clean your jewellery in and should try to keep your jewellery away from if you want to keep it looking nice. Firstly, never clean using bleach, this is because it is highly oxidant and reacts with the metal making it fragile and increases the likelihood of breakages. Also keep jewellery away from chlorine, alcohol, acetone, turpentine and ammonia.

5. Gold and silver jewellery should be put into a bowl containing warm soapy water and left for a few minutes to let stubborn dirt begging to dissolve. It should then be lightly scrubbed with a soft toothbrush, be sure to get into corners but be careful around clasps so that you don’t pull them loose. After washing take the jewellery out and rinse it under cold water then dry it with a towel and polish it using a cotton cloth.

6. Some jewellery particularly if it is handmade can be crafted from copper or brass. Copper and brass jewellery, although more prone to tarnish is not difficult to care for. It can be cleaned using commercial copper or brass cleaners or with ordinary household products such as Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar and lemon water and then dried and polished in the same way as silver and gold.

7. Cleaning gemstones in jewellery is important to keep it looking nice and should be undertaken extra to cleaning the metal and given special care. Most stones including semiprecious stones can be cleaned in a similar way with soapy water, be careful if you use a toothbrush not to scratch fragile stones. Diamonds can be cleaned with toothpaste and actually this works very well to bring out their shine. Remember when cleaning gems to clean underneath if you can reach as dirt here can stop light reflecting through them and ruin the look of the stone.

8. When cleaning pearls only use very mild soapy water as not to damage them. Dry them with a soft cotton cloth and ensure they are completely dry before storing them away.

9. An important part of keeping jewellery clean is looking after it whilst its being worn. It is important to keep jewellery safe from knocks, drops and to keep strung beads and chains from being pulled excessively. Always keep jewellery away for direct sunlight so do not wear it sunbathing and keep it away from chlorine by removing it before swimming. Household chemicals can tarnish jewellery so be careful to remove it before doing cleaning or gardening.

10. Once your jewellery is lovely and clean it is important to store it correctly to keep it that way, the best way to do this is to store it in a cool dry place in sealed plastic bags or in a sealed jewellery box with silica gel sachets to prevent tarnish. Try store jewellery separately so that it does not get aught up with other pieces or they do not scratch each other.

Follow these tips and you will have perfectly gleaming and beautiful jewellery which you will be able to treasure for a lifetime.

Shopping in Italy

Among the things you can buy in Italy there are: leather footwear, jackets and bags, designer clothes, knitted wear, millinery, china, crystal, jewellery and knick-knacks, souvenirs and old-fashioned frames

Advice on how to shop:
-Shops selling manufactured goods are usually opened Monday – Saturday from 8 am till 8 pm, with a break from 1 pm to 3.30 pm. Each season is ended with sales periods.
-The best place to buy elite clothes and footwear is Rome, with its famous Via del Corso shopping street, Gucci and Armani boutiques by the Spanish Steps and Valentino boutique on Via Condotti. Best leather jackets and coats are sold in Florence (not far from Santa Croce church). In addition to designer boutiques there are lots of fine stores found on Italian coast. Better not shop at flea markets since the quality of goods is much worse and you might be swindled. Italians do not usually cheat, but a foreigner should always be beware of shortchanging etc.

Wines:

Tuscan wines are among the best in the world. The most popular is Chianti. Veneto is famous for its Cabernet. But the main Italian wine-making region is Lazio, renowned for its Frascati wine. If the label is marked with a DOCG sign, this means highest quality is guaranteed.

If you buy things in Europe Tax-free Shopping stores, you may be able to get some of your money back in the form of a VAT (value-added tax) refund (if the goods are new, of course). The procedure is rather simple. When making a purchase ask shop assistant for a Tax-free Shopping Cheque. When leaving Italy you will have to go to Customs office in the airport, show the goods you buy, Tax-free cheque and a receipt from the shop. After that go to Tax-free Cash Refund office (usually situated in the airport Duty Free shops) and get your money in cash.

Sales.

Sales season is called “Saldi” and lasts in Rome from the middle of July till the middle of September plus during the period from Christmas till the first week of March. This is the time when leader designers cut prices for their goods. Most cheap clothes are sold in shops under the less known brands; footwear and accessories are also on sale. Mind that each cut-price article should have a price label with its original price mentioned on it. Total sale, Liquidazioni, usually means the lowest prices. Other signboards like Vendite promozionali (promotional prices) and Sconti (discounts) are usually placed in a storefront just to attract buyers. Entrata libera signboard means “Just drop in”.

As for local people, they prefer shopping in the markets and stores far from the city centre, where the quality of goods is also high, but the prices are lower. There are also shops selling last season’s “pret-a-porte” goods, sometimes even designer ones. Those are also cheap and nice.

Shops.

Milan suburbs. One of the most famous Italian shopping centers is found in Serravalle Scrivia, 108 from Milan. Designer McArthurGlen is a huge outlet 32 thousand sq. meters big. The outlet is filled with about 150 shops selling last season’s designer clothes and accessories for cheap.

Rome. McArthurGlen outlet in Castel Romano is the second Italian largest outlet in Italy, and the thirteenth in Europe. They sell trendy clothes, underwear, accessories and what not.

A Great Way To Increase Footfall In A Retail Shop or Store

I’ve been puzzling over this conundrum for a number of years: “How do I get more people to actually come into my shop instead of just glancing in the window and walking by?” A neighbour of mine owns a shop selling perfumes and jewellery, and he came up with an interesting idea which started producing results pretty much immediately (within half an hour!).

My neighbour is called Dave. This morning he took delivery of a lot of new products, including a new range of ladies designer handbags. Dave sells everything at very low prices, but there are some items that he sells at just 50p or £1. His shop is in a small indoor shopping arcade/mall, so he has the advantage of being able to put a table outside displaying some of his goods for sale.

He hung up a lot of the new bags in the window – Some of these bags are very unusual and catch the eye. So already he’s attracting attention not only because there are new products in the window, but also because the bags stand out over the normal run-of-the-mill products like make-up and perfume he sells. Secondly, Dave placed a sign on his table outside the shop saying “All items £1,”. This referred to the items on the table only, of course.

The sign created a lot of attention, mainly because everyone loves a bargain. The items were good quality products, so people were crowding round to get a look at what they perceived to be a fantastic special offer. Next thing you know, people are coming into the shop with £1 purchases, and then looking at all the other goodies inside the shop, and usually leaving with more than they originally came in for!

It’s often so difficult to get people in through the door of your shop, even if you leave the doors wide open, with huge signs flashing everywhere! I think it’s because many shoppers are paranoid about entering a small shop. They feel like they are being watched, and it can be uncomfortable to shop under this imagined pressure.

Dave sold some of his new handbags today, and a lot of £1 items. I know for a fact he went home smiling this evening. It also set me off thinking about how I might apply the same techniques to entice more customers into my t-shirt printing shops. I have thought about stocking smaller items that complement t-shirts, such as pin badges (buttons), belts, wallets, sunglasses etc. I’ve already ordered some badges, and I’m trying to source some cheap wholesale sunglasses. I’ll put them on a display stand outside the shop, with the items priced as low as possible. This should work as “bait” to make get people into the shop and hopefully taking an interest in the t-shirts that I have for sale. I’ll post the results after a few weeks of testing.