Most of us wear jewelry every single day, but how many of us make an effort to take good care of our jewelry? It’s not hard or time-consuming, and doing so will ensure that your jewelry will last longer and will look good every time you put it on. Here are some tips to get you started:
Caring for your jewelry starts with knowing when to put your jewelry on, and when to take it off. Did you know it’s always best to remove your jewelry before any of the following activities?
- Cleaning the house, doing laundry or working in the yard. Exposure to chemicals or cleaning fluids can damage jewelry, so take off those rings and bracelets!
- Manual labor, including housework. A ring or bracelet can be easily broken or bent if it catches on a hook. Gems, even diamonds, can chip or crack if they’re knocked against a hard surface.
- Swimming or the spa. Chlorinated water can react with the metals found in jewelry causing color changes and even structural damage.
- Contact sports. Hard blows during sports can damage jewelry (not to mention the people involved). Heavy perspiration can dull the shine, if not cleaned properly afterwards.
- Applying makeup. Cosmetics, perfumes, hairspray and lotion often contain chemicals that can damage jewelry.
- Bathing. Soap can cause a film to form, making jewelry appear dull and dingy.
Keeping jewelry clean and looking good requires regular effort:
- Clean your jewelry regularly, but be careful. You can either purchase commercial cleaners from a jeweler or use mild soap and water, but avoid common household chemicals like bleach.
- Use jewelry polishing cloths for best results. A soft cotton cloth will also work, but avoid using tissue or paper towels, as they can cause scratches.
- Use warm water to clean your jewelry, as hot water can react with cleaning fluids and cause discoloration.
- Don’t clean jewelry that is cracked or broken, since the additional handling is likely to make the problem worse. Set it aside for repair as soon as possible.
- Inspect your jewelry regularly, and address signs of damage or loose gemstones as soon as possible.
Storing Your Jewelry
- Store jewelry pieces individually, in separate boxes or fabric bags.
- Gently wipe off excess make-up and skin oils after each wearing, using a soft 100% cotton cloth.
- Hang pendants and finished necklaces on jewelry displays to prevent pieces from rubbing against each other and causing scratches.
Next up, Jewelry Care Part 2 – special care for diamonds, pearls and sterling silver.