Can You Clean Fire-Damaged Jewellery?

Tuesday 21st March 2023

Ellen Warren

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Gold and precious jewellery CONTENTS

 

When a fire devastates your home, the process of relocating or finding shelter can be stressful. However, it is just as upsetting when a fire damages items of sentimental value, like jewellery.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we can restore your home with our fire damage cleaning services. Our rapid response team will ensure full odour neutralisation to eradicate harmful toxins, and remove all traces of soot from the property.

Read on to know more about fire-damaged jewellery and what you should do when they become damaged.

How does fire damage jewellery?

When any possessions are lost or damaged in a house fire, it can be devastating. This is especially true for expensive items, like jewellery. Luckily, if you own any gold jewellery, then the likelihood of any damage is rare.

Gold is not flammable, meaning it is almost heat resistant. It will not rust, corrode, or char under extreme heat and instead solidifies in a fire. The melting point of gold is 1064°C, and an average house fire can only reach a temperature of 815°C.

However, sterling silver or plated silver jewellery is most at risk of fire damage. These materials often contain copper therefore they may oxidise and tarnish quickly in a fire. When smoke and soot cover silver, it eats away at the metal and causes it to fall apart completely.

The melting point of silver is 961.8°C, which means it may remain solid during a house fire but could sustain some irreversible damage if there is extreme heat or combustion.

Precious stones react to heat depending on the type and its properties. For example, it is assumed that diamonds are indestructible, but they can ignite at around 900°C.

Some stones might also change colour or become cloudy when heated at a specific temperature long enough, leaving them vulnerable to tarnishing.

Should you keep fire-damaged objects?

During a house fire, the black smoke particles produced will contain toxins including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and chemical and thermal irritants. Inhaling these can cause you to suffer from:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritated skin and eyes
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory problems
  • Organ disease or failure

By keeping any fire-damaged objects or continuing to live in a property where a fire occurred, you are exposing yourself to these toxins and particles. There may also be structural damage to the home that could cause injury or death if disturbed.

If you have any fire-damaged clothes or jewellery, you should have these professionally washed by cleaners qualified in fire smoke odour removal.

 With professional solutions, the smoke particles will be removed along with the distinct odour. However, melted objects are often unrecoverable and should be disposed of.

What to do if a fire has damaged your jewellery

It is imperative that you have your fire-damaged jewellery cleaned as soon as possible. You should seek out local jewellery stores or a pawnshop which offers fire damage restoration services.

The smoke damage could eat into some metals, and gems that have become cloudy or changed colour will need specific solutions immediately. To keep your jewellery safe in the future, you can do the following:

  • Purchase a safe to be placed in a hidden area of the home
  • Have any sentimental jewellery or heirlooms placed in external storage like a rented safety deposit bo
  • Check if your jewellery is protected under your home insurance
  • Keep receipts and take photos of your jewellery

What to do if there is fire damage on your property

In the event a fire has affected your home and damaged it with smoke or structural damage, you must find temporary accommodation.

Do not try to clean up any fire or smoke damage yourself, as you will be exposing yourself to smoke particles and chemicals lingering in the building. Here is what you should do after a house fire:

  • Find safe, temporary housing
  • Take photos and keep receipts of damage
  • Ventilate the property
  • Ensure your gas, electricity, and water supply are switched off
  • Use a dehumidifier to prevent mould
  • Contact your insurance provider
  • Dispose of fire-damaged food, water, and medicine
  • Have fire-damaged objects cleaned professionally or disposed of properly
  • Contact fire restoration services

Once you have found temporary shelter and followed the steps above, you must ensure the property is ready for a professional cleaning.

Get in touch with fire cleaning services to clear your home of any lingering toxins, restore the integrity of your home, and remove traces of smoke and odours in the air.  

How to prevent a fire

There are a few steps you can take to prevent a fire from happening on your property again. First, you should assess your home to ensure you are not at risk. Here are some fire prevention tips to keep in mind during your assessment:

  • Have an evacuation plan in place and inform any children or vulnerable individuals of what to do in case of a fire
  • Install fire exit windows in your home
  • Purchase surge-protected extension cords
  • Unplug any electrical appliances you are not using
  • Keep combustible materials away from heat sources
  • Have a gas safe engineer assess your appliances
  • Test your fire alarm and change the batteries often
  • Dispose of electrical objects  
  • Have a PAT-qualified electrician test your electrics

Get in touch

We are a fire damage cleaning and smoke odour removal company that can restore your home to its original state. Our BICSc-accredited technicians will attempt to recover the contents and structure of your property, and prevent long-term damage during the cleaning.

We operate nationwide, 365 days a year. Call us at 0208 066 0360 or email us at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk for a free, no-obligation quote today.

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