As you get older, you may acquire more expensive pieces of jewellery. These may include engagement rings, wedding bands, or fancier necklaces or bracelets that are handed down from family members. If you’ve never owned fine jewellery, caring for it can be somewhat of a mystery.
It may be that you’ve never needed to care for your jewellery before, particularly if your collection was made up of costume pieces. Or maybe you have been caring for your jewellery, but you’ve never really known whether you’re doing things right. Whatever the case, we’re here to help. In this article, we explore what to avoid when taking care of your jewellery.
When it comes to caring for fine jewellery, the first thing to avoid is fancy solvents. While you may think expensive cleaners will work better on your jewellery, that’s often not the case. In fact, it’s often better to stick to the basics and clean your jewellery with warm soapy water. If some of the dirt still won’t budge, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush to help you out.
According to Katherine Van Dell, the director of jewellery at Rago Arts and Auction centre, the blue solvent provided by many jewellers can actually damage your jewellery. As it’s alcohol based, the solution is great for removing grease; however, it can unintentionally damage fragile stones such as Emeralds. It’s important to remember that coloured gems are often stabilised or enhanced in some way. Depending on how this has been done, an alcohol-based solution can make the stone unstable and prone to damage later down the line. While Diamonds are more durable, a strong solvent is still unnecessary. To remove natural oils from the stone, use liquid dish soap with a grease-cutter in it.
If you get your jewellery professional cleaned, many places use an ultrasonic cleaner. While this certainly gets the job done, the method can be vigorous and intrusive – particularly with older pieces. As the dirt is literally shaken off, antique jewellery may become damaged when cleaned this way. To be on the safe side, always clean your jewellery with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush.
You should also avoid sleeping in your jewellery. Even if you’ve slept in your jewellery before, wearing nicer pieces to bed is definitely something to avoid. According to fine jewellery designer Jill Maurer, sleeping in jewellery can harm both the jewellery and yourself. Not only could you damage your jewellery, but there’s also the possibility of earrings ending up inside your ear. To avoid this, always remove your jewellery before bed and store it in a safe place until morning.
To avoid damaging your jewellery, try not to store it together. If multiple pieces of jewellery are stored together, the harder pieces are likely to scratch the softer ones. To prevent the pieces from becoming scratched or damaged, always store your jewellery in a jewellery box and keep each piece in a separate compartment. Another great thing about having a designated space for each piece is that you’ll always know where to find it.
If you’re not sure what your jewellery is made out of, don’t take a wild guess. To care for your jewellery correctly, it’s important to know what you’re working with. Taking time to find out the materials will prevent you from accidentally damaging things. If you’re unsure what your jewellery is made from, take it to an experienced jeweller. They should have no problem determining the metals, stones, and finish of the piece.
To keep your jewellery in great condition, put it on last to complete your overall look. When undressing for the day, remove the piece before your clothes or makeup. According to Jill Maurer, your jewellery should always be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off!
Hair and beauty products including perfume and hairspray can potentially harm your pieces. Pulling off a tight jumper has the potential to break a chain in half or damage an earring. To avoid this, only put your jewellery on when you’re completely ready for the day. As well as your clothing damaging your jewellery, your jewellery has the potential to damage your clothing. It’s not unusual for a bracelet or ring to get caught and snag the thread of a knitted jumper.
To take good care of your jewellery, avoiding storing it in the sun. Unfortunately, sunlight can have a negative effect on some kinds of jewellery. If left in the sun, the colour of certain gems can be altered – in some cases, quite dramatically! To keep your piece in top condition, it’s also recommended to store it away from heating vents and radiators.
When it comes to pearls, there are a few things to keep in mind in terms of caring for them. One of the biggest things to avoid is hanging them. When you’ve finishing wearing your jewellery, it’s fairly common to hang it on a jewellery stand. However, this should be avoided with pearl jewellery. Instead, pearl jewellery should be laid flat to prevent the silk thread from stretching. Instead of hanging your jewellery on a stand, it’s best to store it in a jewellery box or trinket dish.
Hopefully, you’ll now know what to avoid when taking care of your jewellery. For best results, stick to warm soapy water to clean it, particularly if the piece contains precious gemstones. Your jewellery should be the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you take off before bed. To avoid damaging it, avoid keeping it in direct sunlight and always store pearls in a jewellery box or trinket dish.