Jewelry Tips

How to Care for Your Jewelry

a jeweler shows how to care for your jewelry by polishing it

For most people, jewelry has some kind of deeper meaning. A wedding ring symbolizes love and commitment. An heirloom represents history and heritage. Caring for your prized items is a matter of symbolism.

Here’s a quick overview of how to take care of your jewelry and maximize the life and enjoyment of your purchase.

Storing Jewelry Properly

a box filled with rings and earrings shows customers about storing jewelry properly

Keeping your treasures in the wrong place can lead to them getting scratched, tangled or worst of all, lost. Proper storage devices keep everything organized and protected.

Choosing the right storage option for your needs is key to proper jewelry care. If you own lots of different kinds of jewelry, an armoire may be the best option. But if you have a lot of one kind of accessory, something more specialized, like a watch or cufflink box, may be more appropriate.

Where you store your pieces is just as important as what you store them in. Choose a location that stays close to room temperature, doesn’t get direct sunlight and isn’t humid.

You also want to keep certifications and other important jewelry paperwork stored somewhere safe. Learn more about diamond certification here to understand why the paperwork is important for some of your bling.

Common Jewelry Wearing Mistakes

a woman is wearing rings and a crochet top

It’s strange to think that something as simple as wearing jewelry could be done wrong, but there are certain habits that may shorten the life of precious metals and stones. One of the biggest mistakes is letting your jewelry come into contact with chemicals that may deteriorate or cloud it. Applying lotions and perfumes should be done before you accessorize to minimize your jewelry’s contact with those chemicals.

You also want to be vigilant about taking your jewelry off if you’re going to do something that could be dangerous for it. Any kind of cleaning, work or activity that makes you sweat should prompt the removal of expensive or priceless adornments. It’s also important to bathe, shower and swim jewelry-free.

No matter how diligent you are, jewelry will naturally collect chemicals and oils throughout the day, so you should clean each piece at the end of the day or if you notice it getting a layer of film.

How to Clean Different Types of Jewelry

a person is cleaning jewelry in a cup of water

Cleaning and caring for your jewelry regularly and correctly keeps it shiny and beautiful while increasing its longevity. Jewelry must be cleaned with the materials it’s made of in mind because different metals and stones require different cleaning processes.

The Mohs Hardness Scale

a pile of gemstones

When talking about the “softness” of metals and gemstones, it can get a little confusing. Obviously none of your jewelry feels blanket-like.

Hard and soft in the context of jewelry refers to the Mohs scale of hardness, which rates minerals and materials based on their ability to be scratched. Understanding how your jewelry’s materials rank is an important part of care. For example, while pure gold could almost be scratched with just a fingernail, you could scrub diamond with steel wool and not leave a mark.

Platinum, Gold and Silver

cleaning-gold-on-towel.jpg

Metal jewelry’s daily care usually just requires a quick rub down with a polishing cloth. You want to avoid rubbing your fine metals with any coarse fabrics or cleaning utensils because expensive metals are actually very soft (Mohs scale-wise) and easily scratched.

It’s important to use a polishing cloth designed for use on your jewelry’s material. You also always want to use cleaning solutions designed for your jewelry and never soaps that may have harsh chemicals.

It’s also a good idea to have metal jewelry taken to a professional jeweler for re-plating, polishing and inspection at least once a year.

Diamonds, Sapphires and Rubies

a person polishes a diamond ring with a brush

The main draw of precious stones is their effervescent glimmer. But without the proper care, stones become less reflective and start to appear dull and lifeless. Luckily, stones can be kept fresh and lively with a little routine cleaning.

You can soak diamonds, sapphires and rubies in a warm bath of water, mild detergent and ammonia. Give them a little shake while submerged to break up the particles of dirt, and gently clean them with a small brush — something like a soft-bristled toothbrush may work well for you. Be careful to avoid brushing the metal part of your jewelry. Typically, stones are much harder than metal and will resist scratching while the metal surrounding would be damaged by the brushing.

Let your jewelry air dry after thoroughly rinsing off any excess cleaning solution. Don’t set wet jewelry on a towel that tends to shed lint or a paper towel that might stick to it.

Emeralds

a person is cleaning an emerald

Emeralds are the odd-man-out with precious stones. They’re more fragile and therefore require a slightly different care routine. Cleaning them takes a similar process as you would use with other stones, but it should be done far less often. Only clean emeralds about once a year, and the emeralds should only be submerged for a short period of time.

Unlike most gemstones, emeralds are also oiled. This is because most emeralds have small fissures that oil fills and hides. Overwashing can remove the oil and degrade the appearance of the stone. You should get your emerald jewelry oiled by a jeweler every two years or if the imperfections become visible.

Opaque Gemstones

tweezers hold an opaque gemstone

Opaque gems such as opal, turquoise and lapis and aren’t semi-transparent and glimmery. Even though these stones don’t sparkle, they should still have a shine and vibrance, so they need to be cleaned. The best way to clean them is with a wet, non-shedding cloth.

Opals require more specific care because they can become brittle in the wrong conditions. They shouldn’t be stored in dry or hot environments or they’ll start to look pale. Wearing your opals often will expose them to needed humidity, so counterintuitively, the more you use them, the longer they’ll last.

Pearls

a person is cleaning a pearl necklace with a brush

Never set or store pearls on a hard surface that could scratch them. Pearls should be wiped off gently with a soft cloth each time you take them off. They’re also another material that needs to be worn frequently so they can pick up your body’s oils. For deeper cleaning, use gentle, chemical-free soap that’s not harsh and dilute it with water.

Gorgeous jewelry is an investment. Whether you splurged on something from the Allurez catalog yourself or received a beautiful piece as a gift, you want to enjoy it for years. Learning to protect and care for your jewelry is the first step in safeguarding the sparkle for the foreseeable future.

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