Jewellery is more than just an accessory – it holds sentimental value for most people. Whether you have a fine jewellery collection, a family heirloom, or just a few pieces, it is essential to take good care of them to ensure their beauty and value last for a long time.
It is challenging to care for your jewellery, especially when made using different materials. Whether caring for diamonds, pearls, or precious metals, you must be careful while cleaning, handling, and storing your jewels. With proper care, your jewellery won’t lose its charm and value.
Damages to your jewellery, like tarnish, dullness, and lose prongs, are common with daily wear. However, if you exercise caution while handling and cleaning your jewellery and follow some common-sense tips, you can prevent these issues.
This article will explore the best practices for jewellery care, including cleaning techniques, storage tips, and maintenance advice, so you can keep your favourite pieces looking their best.
Jewellery wearing guidelines
Different types of materials react differently to everyday wear. For example, sterling silver jewellery is more prone to scratching due to its softness. It also oxidizes faster than other metals like gold or platinum and is more prone to lose its lustre.
If you stick to a few simple rules while wearing your jewellery, you can prolong the life and shine of your pieces.
Put jewellery on last after applying skincare products and makeup
All cosmetic products, hairspray, perfumes, and lotion contain chemicals that can often react poorly with jewellery and affect its appearance.
Chemicals in lotions and perfume permanently damage the surfaces of porous gemstones like pearls.
Putting jewellery on after applying them all and letting them dry for a bit limits exposure and any potential damage.
Don’t wear jewellery when doing physical exercises or housework
Hard blows during sports, operating certain equipment, and sweating can damage jewellery by scratching or bending it.
All jewellery should be removed before exercising for comfort while performing these activities and for your personal safety. Your jewellery can get caught in equipment or clothing, leading to injury.
Additionally, sweat and moisture, especially in the steam rooms, can cause metals to tarnish or corrode over time.
Chlorinated water reacts with several precious metals like silver and platinum. Most of the water in your home has chlorine, so you should avoid household work wearing your precious jewels.
Don’t wear jewellery in swimming pools, shower, and spas
The level of chlorination in pools and spas is even more intense and leads to color changes and structural damage to your jewellery.
Make it a rule to always remove jewellery before entering chlorinated water.
Certain metals can react with water to cause dullness and surface damage:
- Shower water affects sterling silver jewellery, especially if it is not properly dried afterwards. The water can cause tarnishing and discolouration, which is difficult to remove.
- Gold-plated jewellery also reacts with shower water, especially if the plating is thin or worn. The water can cause the gold to fade or flake off, exposing the underlying metal.
The general advice here is to take your jewellery off. If this is not an option and your jewellery is made out of solid gold, you are good to go.
However, dry it properly after removing all humidity and debris from products with which it may have come in contact since they could gunk up and make your jewellery lose its lustre.
The biggest concern will be losing some stones if the setting is loose. Water can facilitate their fall and drag them down the drain.
In short, always remember to avoid wearing your precious jewellery if you are going to be exposed to the 3S’: swim, sweat, steam.
Jewellery cleaning rules
Having a cleaning kit (a brush and soft cloth) dedicated to your jewellery is essential. Doing so prevents unwanted damage by using materials that could be too harsh or contaminated with chemicals harmful to your jewellery.
- A soft, lint-free cloth is essential to clean your jewellery before storing it
- A soft toothbrush is ideal for intricate pieces with lots of detailing
Once you notice that your jewels are losing shine or have accumulated hard-to-remove dirt, soak them in clean, warm water (never hot or boiling) and brush them with a soft toothbrush.
How to clean gold jewellery?
Gold jewellery, especially a gold necklace, is prone to tarnishing due to exposure to air, moisture, and oils from your skin. You can clean your gold jewellery using a cleaning solution made from water containing a few drops of mild dish soap or baby shampoo.
Soak the jewels in your cleaning solution for 15-20 minutes and gently scrub with a soft cloth, a soft-bristled toothbrush or a clean small makeup brush.
Don’t forget to rinse the jewellery thoroughly under running water to remove any soap residue, and pat dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using paper towels or tissues, as these scratch the surface of the gold. Always use a lint-free cloth to clean, and pat dry your gold jewellery.
How to clean sterling silver jewellery?
You can use a mild soap solution in warm water to clean tarnishes off from silver jewellery. Contrary to popular belief, avoid toothpaste. The chemicals in it are too abrasive and could do more damage than good if used to clean your silver jewellery, especially with a brush.
How do you clean jewellery with gemstones or diamonds?
You should be extra careful when cleaning jewellery that has gemstones or diamonds. Scrubbing too hard can dislodge the stones, especially if they are small.
Another great piece of advice is never to clean your jewellery in the sink, especially the tiny pieces. Since you are using water with a few drops of soap, the piece could slip out of your hand and be washed down the drain.
Although it seems like obvious advice or you think it would never happen to you, trust us, it can. Use a bowl instead to leave your jewellery soaking for a bit and avoid losing it.
Ultrasonic cleaners use high-frequency sound waves that travel through a cleaning liquid, creating heat and pressure that separates the dirt from the piece of jewellery. While it can be an excellent method to clean hard-to-reach dirt, this technology is better in the hands of professionals who know what they are doing.
Jewelry cleaning at home using an ultrasonic cleaner you purchased online is a bad idea. Just like most home remedies, it is not a “one-fit-all” method. For example, some stones have been treated to enhance their appearance, and sometimes ultrasonic cleaning can negatively affect the stone.
Ultrasonic sound waves are also destructive for organic gems like pearls, emeralds, lapis lazuli, and opals that are coated in wax or oil.
We strongly recommend asking your jeweller in advance how to clean your jewellery and trust their opinion.
How to store jewellery?
The first and crucial step before storing your jewellery is cleaning it. Doing so removes all oils and dirt that have build-up and could damage the metal or the stone over time if you let it sit. Think of it like washing your face and wearing clean clothes before bed.
Now, onto storing.
Jewellery boxes and pouches are the best and safest way to store your fine jewellery. As a general rule and regardless of the type of materials, the jewellery should be stored away from natural sunlight, heat, and humidity.
Remember, diamonds are the hardest material on the Mohs scale, so try to separate the pieces properly to avoid scratching or tangling each other, especially when dealing with gold necklaces.
Plastic zip-lock airtight bags made of Mylar or polyethene are also an acceptable alternative, especially if you are looking to store them away for long periods of time since they allow to remove air and humidity.
Polyvinyl plastic bags such as trash can liners are not a good choice, as they contain sulfur compounds that can accelerate silver tarnishing. Rubber containers are also a bad idea for the same reason.
Do not store your jewellery on a jewelry tree in the bathroom, as excessive humidity and heat will affect its appearance over time.
Also, avoid leaving it in the sunlight for an extended amount of time since it could affect the gems negatively. For example, pearls could bleach under extreme exposure, while amber can darken over time.
Extra tips to properly take care of your jewellery
Jewellery is more than just an accessory to enhance your outfit; it reflects your style and personality. Whether it is a cherished family heirloom or a trendy piece you bought on a whim, taking care of your jewellery is essential to keep it looking its best.
Proper care not only helps maintain its appearance but can also prolong its lifespan and prevent damage or loss.
Here are some useful tips to take care of your jewellery and keep it in top condition.
1. Keep your jewellery away from wood
Wood is a beautiful and natural material for many furniture and decor types, but it harms your jewellery. It is because wood, especially unfinished or untreated wood, releases acids and other chemicals that corrode or discolour certain metals and gemstones.
It is essential to keep your jewellery away from wood, whether in the form of jewellery boxes, dresser tops, or other wooden surfaces.
2. Insure your jewellery
Insuring your valuable jewellery to protect against loss or damage is always a good idea. It can provide peace of mind, especially if you own pieces with significant monetary or sentimental value.
3. Keep gold jewellery separate from silver jewellery
One important tip for caring for your jewellery is to keep gold jewellery separate from silver jewellery. This is because gold is a soft metal and is easily scratched by other harder metals, such as silver.
By storing your gold jewellery separately, you prevent any unwanted scratches or damage. Additionally, storing your jewellery separately by precious metal type also prevents tarnishing or discoloration, as certain metals can react with each other over time.
You may also like to read The Differences Between Gold and Platinum
4. Use mild cleaners for regular cleanings
Regular cleaning with lint-free cloth maintains the shine and beauty of your jewellery. However, it is important to use mild cleaners to avoid any damage to your precious possessions.
Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners scratch or damage delicate surfaces. We would strongly advise using a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water to clean your jewellery.
Proper care prolongs the life and shine of your precious jewels
Taking care of your jewellery keeps it beautiful and sparkly and ensures longevity. Remember to store your jewellery properly, keep it away from harsh chemicals and environments, and clean it regularly with mild solutions.
With a little bit of effort and attention, you can enjoy your jewellery for years to come and even pass it down to the next generation as a cherished family heirloom.
If you are planning to purchase high-quality, certified diamonds and other gemstones or have any questions regarding how to take care of your jewellery, book an appointment or schedule a video call with our Beldiamond expert today!