These common sense, but often overlooked or forgotten, steps can ensure you'll enjoy your valuable and meaningful jewelry pieces for years to come!
Handle with care.
We know, we know…this one’s pretty obvious. Still though, that doesn’t mean we don’t need to be reminded from time to time. All jewelry is delicate to some degree and requires varying degrees of caution and care. Keep your pieces from rubbing up against each other, other types of metal or any harsh surfaces as they will scratch and wear. Nor should they ever take too much weight or force.
Know your jewelry.
It’s important to the know the characteristics and hardness of the metals and gemstones in your collection. Familiarize yourself with where your pieces lie on the Mohs. This is especially important when it comes to storage and cleaning as different types of jewelry may require more gentle cleaning methods.
Maintain proper storage.
Proper jewelry storage is often overlooked. Jewelry should never be tossed into a drawer or on top of a dresser as that’s just asking for scratches and damaged gems.
Keep each piece in a separate compartment, soft pouch or cotton lined box. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires are among the hardest gemstones and will scratch or abrade every other thing they touch. Likewise, metal will scratch other metals. Store your things carefully, and don’t cram all the pouches into a drawer or box.
Clean it regularly.
This goes for all your jewelry, but rings are the most vulnerable. Lotion, residue from soap, dirt and grime build-up inside rings over time. These substances can accumulate through normal wear and then dry and harden almost like cement. As you go throughout the day, this buildup can encounter moisture and expand thereby creating pressure that works to loosen your gems.
So, please remember to clean them regularly to avoid these problems and keep them looking pretty, sparkly and well cared for.
Clean it properly.
There is a right way and a wrong way to clean your jewelry. Be careful as impromper cleaning may lead to irreparable damage, especially on softer stones like pearls and opals. Watch out for products or home remedies that involve abrasives and alcohols as they are not safe for all jewelry types. Fortunately, one of the safest methods is also the easiest. Our gentle, all-natural cleaner and polish, Touch of Purple, is safe for precious metals and gemstones of all types and hardness from diamonds to pearls and stainless steel to gold.
Put your jewelry in a small dish filled with Touch of Purple, then use a soft brush (like an old soft bristle toothbrush) to remove the film left by lotion, soap, dirt and oils (yes, we have seen dried food inside settings too – ugh!). Be sure to use the brush to go in & around and behind all the settings and gems, then rinse again with water and let air dry on a clean soft towel.
Inspect it often.
Gently shake the piece or tap it with your finger near your ear. Prongs may be checked by trying to insert a thin piece of paper between the gem and the metal prongs. When in doubt, have it professionally checked. Many jewelry stores offer free inspections. Have all loose gemstones tightened before wearing your jewelry. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Take it off.
Preventative care is significantly easier than dealing with jewelry that has been damaged! We know how much you love your bling, and we know it can be hard to take it on and off again, but, it's critical. Strong chemicals, sulfur, sweat and perspiration, chlorine, and harsh sunlight can tarnish and corrode the brilliant shine you’ve come to love. So remove jewelry when exercising, showering or bathing, swimming in chlorinated water, cooking or getting ready (i.e. putting on lotion, makeup, hair products, etc.).
Avoid harsh chemicals.
Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolor precious metals – gold, silver and platinum – and may harm some colored gems. Even everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or other cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems (like turquoise). Fine jewelry should be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or before using household cleaners. Many of these cleaners contain ammonia, which can be too harsh for delicate gems or vintage jewelry. Chlorine bleach, another common household solvent, can pit or damage gold alloys.
Use ultrasonic cleaners with caution.
An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that uses ultrasound to remove the dirt from your jewelry. The items are placed in a tank filled with a cleaning solution, and after the cleaner is turned on, its motor produces ultrasonic vibrations through the liquid. These vibrations break down the dirt and grime that have accumulated on the surface of your jewelry. Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning the parts of your jewelry that are otherwise unreachable when using more conventional methods. BEWARE: Softer gemstones such as opals, lapis lazuli, emeralds and turquoise should not be cleaned ultrasonically, nor should organic jewelry (i.e. pearls, coral pieces, amber) or gemstones whose color has been enhanced through heat treatment.
For more info on this topic check out our post “the Do’s & Don’ts of Ultrasonic Cleaning.”
"Insurance is necessary to protect your financial investment in the event that something gets lost, stolen or damaged," explains jewelry designer Sylvie Levine. "It is also important to have your jewelry appraised every five years as the cost of diamonds and precious metals go up. If you were to lose something which was appraised 10 years ago, the insured value would be far less than the actual replacement cost."
No matter how hard you try to avoid them, situations will arise that are out of your control. It is for this reason that you buy insurance for yourself, your car, and your home. Insurance for your fine jewelry works the same way. An annual fee is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with insurance.