Jewelry Care 101: Protecting Your Fine JewelryHands Jewelers
We all have that one piece of jewelry we’ll remember forever. From the time you saw it in the store to the first time you slipped it on and made it yours, this piece of jewelry holds a special place in your heart.
But over time, all fine jewelry begins to lose its shine. Silver and other metals will eventually tarnish. Deposits of debris and daily grime will cause gemstones to look dull and dirty. Following a daily jewelry cleaning regimen and jewelry care best practices can preserve the life of your jewelry and keep it looking great for many years.
Here are some jewelry care tips to help you maintain the stunning appeal of your fine jewelry.
1. Store your jewelry in a clean, dry space.
This seems like an obvious tip, but at the end of the day, we’ve all been guilty of tossing our jewelry in a drawer or on the nightstand. It’s best to keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined case that has compartments and dividers for your jewelry. If you don’t have a jewelry case, make sure to wrap each piece of jewelry in a soft tissue or paper before placing it in a drawer. This will prevent scratching and tangling. For sterling silver jewelry, get an anti-tarnish bag or cloth to limit exposure to air and moisture.
2. Avoid damaging chemicals.
Hairspray, lotion, and perfume can be damaging to certain types of metals and colored gems. Precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum are especially susceptible to discoloration from these everyday care products. When getting ready in the morning or preparing for a night out, set your jewelry aside, or better yet, leave your jewelry in its case until you’re ready to wear it.
3. Use mild cleaners for regular cleanings.
One of the best jewelry cleaning methods involves warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft brush. However, ultrasonic jewelry cleaning has become popular for jewelry lovers looking for a more thorough approach to cleaning their jewelry.
If you’re considering ultrasonic cleaning, it’s best to leave your jewelry in the care of trained jewelers who understand how to use this technology safely. Ultrasonic cleaning can sometimes shake gems loose or chip gemstones if used incorrectly. Plus, organic gemstones like pearls, coral, ivory, and amber should not be cleaned ultrasonically. The same applies to gems impacted by heat and temperature changes like tanzanite, moonstone, opal, turquoise, and topaz.
4. When in doubt, take it off.
The swimming pool isn’t an ideal place for your fine jewelry. Neither is the gym. Even when preparing a meal or doing household chores, it’s a good idea to store your jewelry in a safe place. Not only will this protect your treasured pieces from harsh chemicals and debris buildup, but it will also help you avoid losing your jewelry. Retrieving your ring from the bottom of a pool drain is a nightmare you should never have to experience.
5. Insure your jewelry.
Accidents happen. It’s impossible to predict when disaster will strike, whether a burglar cleans out your jewelry box or a fire rips through your home leaving nothing behind. That’s why it’s always a good idea to insure your jewelry. In the tragic event something happens to your precious pieces, you have peace of mind knowing your investment is protected.
A jewelry appraisal is typically one of the first steps to insuring your jewelry. You’ll need to visit a certified appraiser who can determine the value of your piece or collection. Hands Jewelers offers jewelry appraisals, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) can also help you find a certified appraiser in your area.
Other Useful Jewelry Care Links
How to Care for Your Diamond Guide (Forevermark)
How to Care for Your Jewelry (Freida Rothman)
Jewellery Care (Ania Haie)
Check out Hands Jewelers’ collection of how-to guides for more tips on caring for your jewelry. Have a piece of jewelry you need cleaned? Bring it by the store and we’ll make it shine again!