Jewellery Care 101
It goes without saying that even though your jewels are seemingly made out of hard-wearing metal and stone, you should show them the respect and care of the finest silk to ensure their long life and beauty.
How to Wear Your Jewellery with Extra Care
Always remove rings and Pearls, which are especially delicate, before taking on any sort of maintenance activity around the house. Many household cleaning products, including your nail polish remover, contain chemicals which can damage your most precious gems. Love to swim? Be sure to leave your bijoux poolside, since prolonged exposure to chlorine can discolour and erode Gold and Sterling Silver.
If the post-pandemic jet-set life is for you, the safest place for your jewels is undoubtedly at home in their cozy storage bags and boxes. However, we know that’s not always the most fun or practical solution! While Antique pieces should still likely be left a la casa, a small compartmentalized travel jewellery box or bags are ideal for keeping all other pieces safe and organized while on the move. However, keep in mind that some gems such as Garnets, Emeralds, Iolites, Opals, Peridots, Tanzanites and Tourmalines can be vulnerable to extreme temperature changes when heading to locales that are scorching hot or freezing cold. Amethyst, Citrine, Kunzites, Conch Pearls and Topaz can even fade if left in extreme heat and sunlight for too long. Turns out, not all that sparkles pairs well with your SPF.
Remember that Pearls are soft, organic gems and require particularly special care. Makeup and body care products, including lotion and perfume, can damage their delicate nacre and should be avoided in any area you plan to wear your jewellery. Instead, it’s wise to spritz on your fragrance and give it a few minutes to dissipate before putting on your favourite Pearl pieces. Pearls actually benefit from being worn on a regular basis, so if you only take yours out for special occasions, try to still handle and inspect (and admire!) them on the regular.
All of your jewellery should be brought to a local, trusted jeweller for regular inspection and cleaning, especially if it’s a piece that you wear on a daily basis such as Diamond studs or your engagement and wedding rings. Over time, prongs can loosen, which could lead to your favourite gems going MIA. Keep in mind that while all precious metals, including Gold and Platinum, are alloyed to make them stronger, they are still much lower on the Mohs Hardness Scale than most of the gems they hold, meaning it’s only natural for them to wear through eventually.
How to Clean Your Jewels Properly
When you visit a jeweller, they may offer to clean your ring for you with their ultra-sonic cleaner, which uses high-frequency sound waves with a liquid cleaning solution for very thorough results. While effective, it can be too harsh for some softer gems, including Emeralds, Opals and Tanzanites and organic gems such as Pearls and Coral.
The most failsafe way to clean your jewels regularly is with a baby toothbrush (their soft, tiny bristles are perfect for gently cleaning hard-to-reach spots) and a solution of soap and warm water. Dip the brush in the solution and use soft, circular motions to clean gems, metals and settings. Don’t forget to target the backs of your settings and gems where possible, where dust loves to collect. For items you wear everyday, aim to clean them once a week. For more special occasion items try to clean them each time to return them to their storage bag or compartment. It’s also a great time to examine your pieces up close to check for any loose settings or clasps.
Avoid paper towels (which can be too scratchy) and instead, use a soft, dry cloth to gently buff your Pearls and precious metals. Never submerge your Pearls in water. If you wear them regularly, have them re-strung every year. If not, aim for every 2-3 years. Professional buffing by your jeweller can also help keep Gold and Platinum looking its best. For Sterling Silver pieces that are always ready to go, consider keeping them in anti-tarnish cloths, bags or boxes to cut down on polishing time.
While examining up close, you may notice some wear on Platinum, White Gold or plated pieces. Platinum and White Gold are often coated with Rhodium and may need re-coating every few years to maintain their bright, white appearance.
How to Store Your Jewellery Like a Pro
The hardest gemstones, such as Diamonds, Rubies, and Sapphires can not only scratch softer gems, but also the precious metals they're set into. Your metals can also scratch each other, so it’s important to not just toss your beloved pieces into a box or on a tray without thinking twice.
Drawers or trays with soft, individual compartments are ideal for keeping each piece from touching any other (not to mention makes it far easier to see what you have and choose items for regular wear.) They’re also a lifesaver when it comes to keeping chain-style necklaces and bracelets from getting tangled—not only a guaranteed headache, but also a recipe for damage.
Softer gems that contain moisture, such as Opals, Pearls and Emeralds (which are often treated with cedarwood oil), are best stored in individual cotton or silk pouches. Not only do the pouches prevent them from being scratched by other pieces or during frequent handling, but also helps them from losing moisture which can lead to “crazing” (small cracks) in Opals and Pearls. Silk pouches are the absolute best for storage, as cotton can sometimes draw water or oil away from the stone over long periods of time. Pearls should be buffed with a dry cloth before storing to cleanse away and dust or perspiration. Never hang them, which can cause their silk cord to stretch nor store them in plastic or other air-tight containers, such as a safe.
Keeping your pieces clean and well-stored not only ensures their long life and beauty, it ensures they’re always looking their best and ready for wear at a moment’s notice. Your jewels love the spotlight and wearing them regularly is the best way to enjoy them and bring their value to your daily life!