Jewelry is meant for wearing. Your precious earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings are of no use if you can’t adorn yourself with and show them off to the world. But wearing your pieces repeatedly can cause them to fall off, wear down, or break.
The more we wear and love our jewelry, the more it deteriorates. This is why knowing how to care for your jewelry is of utmost importance. By doing so you are protecting your jewelry’s captivating luster and preserving its classic beauty hopefully for the next generations.
From pearls to platinum jewelry to precious metals to bedazzling gems – proper storage and cleaning are essential to increase your jewelry’s lifespan and keep them always shining.
Without further ado, take a look at our recommendations for jewelry maintenance, cleaning, and care…
Ten Tips on How to Take Care of Jewelry
Avoid Household Chemicals
Without a doubt, the number one enemy of your jewelry is household chemicals. Simply make sure to remove your precious jewelry prior to cleaning your house, making the dishes, or working on the garden. Household chemicals starting from window cleaners, dish lotions, detergents, solvents, soaps, etc. all contain various chemicals, acids, and abrasives that can damage your jewelry in the long run.
Common jewelry issues caused by household chemicals are: weakening the bonds of metal jewelry, slowly eroding the finish and polish of precious gems, or film residue formed making jewelry dingy or dull. To avoid these from happening and make your jewelry last a lifetime, solely follow these simple items:
- Don’t wear jewelry while cleaning. When tackling cleaning chores remember: jewelry must be the first thing off and last thing on.
- Using latex gloves or rubber won’t do the trick. The pressure created from the tightness of gloves can loosen prongs or even worse, cause stones to fall out.
Put your Pieces on Rotation
Give your precious jewelry a break every once in a while. Your pieces aren’t meant to be worn 24/7, no matter how much you love wearing them. Put your jewelry on rotation, and show some kindliness to your other jewelry.
Don’t Wear Lotion with Jewelry
Most fine jewelry won’t get damaged from occasional exposure to hand or body lotion, however, costume pieces can lose their finish. Long exposure to different lotion products will eventually lead to abrasives building-up on your valuable items. Other beauty products like hairspray, perfume, and make-up; can also harm your pieces. Porous gems like pearls and turquoise are more exposed to danger due to their fragile construct. What to do? We recommend putting your lotion after you’ve taken jewelry off at night.
Store your Jewelries Separately
Many of you might already be doing it, as storing your jewelry separately is common sense and should not be overlooked. Understandably, storing your pieces separately will help in sustaining damage during storage. Gold and silver jewelry should not be stored together to avoid scratches, The damage is usually caused when pieces knock together or get tangled.
Pearls, plastic, wood, precious metals, and some gemstones are particularly vulnerable materials that necessitate being stored separately, where they can’t touch each other. These creative jewelry storage ideas will do the trick:
- Jewelry tree for earrings, necklaces and pendants.
- Individual jewelry cases for your valuable pieces.
- For silver jewelry consider utilizing tarnish-resistant bags.
- Have your precious timepieces stored in watch boxes or watch winders.
Check the String or Setting
Benjamin Franklin — “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ With that said, it is best to continuously check your jewelry’s string or setting. While admiring their shine and beautiful luster, have a look for any damaged or loose string. Maybe the stones are not solidly set in the piece. Or the clasp is not secure. Either way, we highly recommend taking precautions. In this case, consulting with your local or preferred jeweler would be the smarter thing to do. When to pay a visit to your local jeweler?”
- Loose gems, stones wiggle, deep scratches, or lost parts.
- Broken chain links or clasps.
- Dirt or dust accumulated and not reachable.
- Finish jewelry issues like tarnish, deface, or rust built-up.
Put your Jewelry on Last
When preparing for a night out or getting dressed to start your day in the morning, keep in mind to put your jewelry on last. It is tempting to not follow this guideline but it is recommended to wait until you are completely ready to eventually don your precious gems. This will avoid any unwanted contact between your outfit and your jewelry’s setting or string.
What’s more, putting your jewelry on last, especially when wearing rhinestones or diamonds, prevents the chemicals from hair products, perfume, and make-up from damaging your pieces. In short, think of jewelry as the finishing touch for your look, and you should be okay.
Know When to Remove your Jewelry
Even if your jewelry is made of durable materials like platinum or titanium, it is important to know that these items are still delicate and vulnerable to scratches or damage. Keep in mind to always remove your pieces when engaging in activities or working with your hands. Especially if these particular activities involve chemicals or abrasives. Remember to take off your precious pieces of jewelry before any of the following:
- Any water-based activities that include water with chlorine or salt.
- When cleaning your home, washing dishes, or working in the garden.
- When playing sports, especially contact sports, football, volleyball, etc…
Keep Jewelry Away from Excessive Light and Heat
Same as long exposure to the sun’s rays can damage our skin, light and heat can contribute to deterioration of jewelry. Colored gemstones are more exposed to danger as heat can affect their durability and color. Topaz, shell cameos, and amethyst can also fade or get damaged when exposed to heat and light for prolonged hours. Under these circumstances, pearls and ivory, some of the most delicate jewelry, can bleach or darken over time.
Sudden temperature fluctuations and excessive heat can even fracture some gems. That natural moisture so needed to keep the gem’s beauty can easily be removed under heat. Opals for instance, can turn brown or white, or lose their play-of-color. Pearls can develop tiny cracks, dry out, or discolor.
For as long as you keep our precious jewelry away from extreme temperatures and excessive exposure to sun or other light sources, you should be okay.
Use Ultrasonic Cleaner with Caution
The safest jewelry cleaning ways are also the easiest. Prior to leveraging the help of ultrasonic cleaners, keep in mind that a soft brush, warm water and mild dish soap can perform just as good.
Although ultrasonic cleaners are effective and come at a low cost, they can’t be used to clean organic gem materials like pearls, shell cameos, tortoiseshell, jet, amber, ivory, and coral. In addition, wax-coated gemstone cannot go in an ultrasonic cleaner. And as if it wasn’t enough, gemstones being dislodged by ultrasonic cleaner vibrations is not an unusual occurrence. If your jewelry collection doesn’t include any of the mentioned gems and you feel well using an ultrasonic cleaner, go for it. An ultrasonic cleaner costs as little as $50 and they can clean parts of jewelry that other household items can’t reach.
A Word about Gold and Silver
Being the two most common precious metals on every jewelry box, gold and silver deserve a special place on this jewelry care guideline. Follow these simple tips and your gold and silver jewelry will stay always shiny and beautiful:
- Store gold separately from silver. If they come in contact, gold (which is a softer metal) can be easily scratched.
- Prevent silver from tarnishing by keeping it away from air contact over a long period. An airtight container will significantly slow the chemical reaction.
- Before storing, gently clean your gold or silver jewelry with a soft cloth. (Don’t use paper towels).
Jewelry Care Kit with Household Items
Ease the jewelry cleaning process by placing your care kit in one place. This way, you can avoid having to hunt down the necessary materials and tools everytime you have to take care of your jewelry. Take a small plastic storage container and place the following items inside:
- Small Tweezers – For lint removal or costume jewelry stones resetting.
- Glue – For reattaching gems, (recommended for any inexpensive costume jewelry)
- Q-Tips – For polishing hard-to-read spots
- Soft Chamois Cloth – For polishing and drying
- Jewelry-Safe Silver Polish – For silver-plated items or sterling silver
- Commercial Jewelry Cleaners – For precious metals, gems, and diamonds.
- Soft Brush – For getting into crevices.
Make your Jewelry Last a Lifetime
Follow the aforementioned tips, the majority of which you might already be doing, and your precious jewelry will always maintain its value and beauty. From fashion jewelry to diamond engagement rings, your pieces look better and last longer if you take good care of them.
Whether it be a simple piece you saw online and bought for yourself, or a gift from your family, relatives, or your significant other – your jewelry not only has its monetary value but also symbolizes the memories, feelings, and love that unite you with your precious ones.