How to Properly Care for Your Jewelry
It’s tempting to think that your fine jewelry doesn’t need maintenance. You have to think about it like a car, eventually, jewelry will begin to look worn and will need an occasional inspection. There are a lot of small ways we can maintain the look of our jewelry and care for it. Here is a helpful guide to assist you in keeping your pieces looking good:
1) Avoid wearing your rings while washing your hands:
It’s enticing to run water over your diamonds to make them a bit more sparkly, but you really shouldn’t dip them in anything but a proper cleaning solution. In a pinch, a little dawn soap and warm water can help, but you don’t want to use this method every time. Your local jeweler or convenience store sells jewelry-safe cleaner.
Unable to make it to the store and have Windex lying around Give your ring a little spritz, and it will shine your ring right up. Windex is also great for removing any stuck-on jewelry.
2) Avoid lotion and hand soaps:
We love to be clean, but our rings don’t love the same things as us. Moisturizers will cause your rings to tarnish faster over time. Remove them each time you moisturize or wash your hands. This also helps to prevent a buildup of soaps between your finger and bands that can leave your skin feeling irritated.
What about hand sanitizer?
3) Use a polishing cloth:
The best way to care for silver is to use a polishing cloth. It is also best to not expose silver to the open air when it's not being worn. The best place to store them is inside a felt-lined jewelry box. Silver tarnishes fastest when exposed to the open air as gases can make it discolor. Regularly polishing with a nonabrasive silver polishing cloth is best to keep your silver pieces looking sparkly at all times.
4) Store your jewelry in a clean dry space:
Keep your jewelry in fabric-lined cases. If you don’t have a jewelry case, wrap each piece of jewelry in soft tissue paper before placing it in a drawer. For sterling silver jewelry, get anti-tarnish bags or cloth to limit exposure to air and moisture.
Note: Storing your opal, pearl, and camo shell jewelry in a dry space like a safety deposit box can do more harm than good. These stones draw moisture from the air.
5) Take them off!
It’s good to keep your jewelry in rotation. Like oils from moisture, our skin oils can also tarnish our jewelry over time.
It’s never a good idea to wear your jewelry while doing physical activity. This includes housework. No need to wear jewelry around the house while you clean.
6) Avoid Harsh Chemical:
Remove your jewelry when you can. Chemicals can be damaging to our skin and our jewelry. Exposure to chemicals can damage and discolor precious metals. Everyday substances we tend to forget about like hairspray, lotion, perfumes, and other cosmetics, contain chemicals that permanently damage porous gems and pearls.
Hanging by the pool? Chlorine is a big no-no when it comes to jewelry care as it can pit or damage alloys.
7) Don’t Store in Direct Light or Heat:
Just like exposure to the air, overexposure to extreme heat and light can cause your pieces to fade over time. You should be extra mindful of this if your collection consists of mostly gemstones. Pearls and ivory will become bleached and stones such as amethyst, kunzite, and topaz will fade when overexposed to light. Other gemstones like amber will darken over time if consistently exposed to light.
Excessive heat or extreme temperature change can fracture some gems. This is why having your jewelry insured is a good idea. If you have a house fire and your diamonds are inside, those too can become burned and damaged – they are strong, but not indestructible.
8) Use Ultrasonic Cleaner with Caution!
If you think your jewelry needs to be dipped in a sonic, you should bring it to the professionals. They will tell you how long and how often you should be soaking your jewelry.
If you have an ultrasonic at home, here are some things you SHOULD NOT be putting in your sonic:
- Gemstones with surface-reaching brakes that have been filled with a substance such as oil, resin, or a glass-like material
Organic gem materials such as pearls, coral, ivory, or amber
Gems that have been coated with a non-permanent substance like plastic or wax
Gems that are susceptible to heat and temperature changes whether they are treated or not
Pro-Tip: Ask a jeweler when purchasing if they feel it is safe for you to put your piece in a sonic or not.
9) Take for inspection at your jeweler:
We recommend having your fine jewelry inspected every six months. It’s a good idea to have your jewelry looked at by a professional jeweler. Waiting too long to have your jewelry inspected can often be costly if it needs a ton of maintenance. Treat a six-month or even yearly checkup like an oil change or car inspection, the better you care for something the longer it will last.
10) Get it insured!
Insurance can help pay for any unexpected repairs and of course, covers loss or theft. Your jeweler will recommend an insurance provider they feel will work best for you.
Here are Steven Singer Jewelers we recommend Jewelers Mutual. They only insure jewelry and will provide the best care for your jewelry needs.
Always Here to Help!
If you have any questions regarding your jewelry, reach out to one of our Expert Jewelers!
Marguerite obtained her degree in Writing from the University of the Arts in 2017. She has a passion for jewelry and is excited to meld her interests as the newest member of the Steven Singer Team.