Jewellery is one of our most cherished accessories. It’s sentimental, eye-catching, and has the power to lift any outfit from blah to the stars. But even the most durable of jewellery needs tender loving care to keep its shine at the max and its semi-precious stones in place.
Here are 10 tips you need to better care for your jewellery and the gems that call it home.
1. Handle with care
When putting on earrings and other jewellery with semi-precious stones, never place pressure directly on the stones themselves. Pushing rings on or pulling bracelets by their stones can loosen the fastenings which can quickly lead to lost stones.
Instead, ensure you’re pushing earrings on by holding the hook and wire only. When fastening bracelets, make sure any stones are facing up and without pressure from your arm or other surfaces.
2. Wear responsibly
Jewellery can be the most long-lasting part of your wardrobe, provided you wear it responsibly. When in doubt, remember the golden rule: last to put on and first to take off.
Make sure you put on your earrings and other jewellery last, after your clothing, hair, and makeup. This will ensure it stays out of range of hairspray, makeup, and other chemicals that might affect the semi-precious stones and metals. Your clothes also won’t accidentally hook and pull on any clasps or fittings.
Always remember to remove your jewellery before doing strenuous activity or messy tasks. The gym isn’t the place for your amethyst bracelet!
Tasks like gardening, washing the dishes, and other types of household cleaning should also be done sans jewellery. This ensures accidental impacts are kept to a minimum and they stay chemical free.
3. Clean smart
Jewellery lasts the best when cleaned regularly. It stops the buildup of potentially harmful chemicals and keeps the stones clear of elements that may scratch or cloud them.
But before you go applying home remedies like toothpaste and ammonia it’s important to brush up on what will and won’t work for the different gems in your collection.
When in doubt, most commercially prepared jewellery cleaners are safe but extra care should be taken with particularly sensitive gems like pearl and amber.
Jewellery should never be scrubbed. Instead, use a soft brush to gently clean and buff. A toothpick is great for picking out accumulations of dirt or dust, but be gentle. Patience really is a virtue when it comes to jewellery cleaning.
4. Don’t forget to polish
Polishing jewellery can restore lustre and shine to the most well-loved of pieces. Just remember that gentleness is key.
Jewellery should only be polished with a soft, lint-free cloth or chamois. Even tissue is liable to leave hairline scratches on the metal and stones which will dull even the hardest of gems over time. I recommend these Talk Town cleaning cloths, soon to be available from BeeJewelled.
5. Store safely
Even the most oft-worn jewellery should be stored safely when not adorning an ear, neck, or wrist. The worst thing you can do for your semi-precious stones is to toss them into a drawer or into a dish on your dresser.
To ensure your jewellery remains scratch and impact free it should be stored just as you bought it. Sterling Silver does best in an anti-tarnish bag or box. Rings should be stored separately, in either the padded slots of a jewellery box or the box they came in.
Temperature, dryness, and sunlight also play a part in proper jewellery storage. Sunlight can discolour or damage certain gems. Peals and opals draw moisture from the air so storage in a dry or climate-controlled area should be avoided.
6. Be careful with light and heat
Strong sunlight can wreak havoc on certain gems, so don’t go popping your bracelet on the window sill while you’re doing the dishes. Sunlight can damage opals in particular as the heat and light dry out the water in the stone, causing haziness or colour change.
Radical temperature changes, particularly when cleaning, should be avoided at all costs. A swift change from cold to hot can make metals and some stones brittle and more liable to crack or break.
7. Regular checkups
Just as your car needs regular inspections and maintenance to continue running well, so too does your jewellery.
It’s a good rule of thumb to have your jewellery checked by a jeweller every three to six months. They can inspect your stones and metals for wear or breakage and tighten any fixtures that need it.
8. Know your metals
Many precious and semi-precious metals behave similarly, but not all of them do. Knowing the differences between gold, Sterling Silver, platinum, and titanium will go a long way to ensuring you’re caring for your jewellery properly.
The obvious example here is Silver. Silver is softer than most other precious metals and so is more prone to scratches and other damage. You wouldn’t choose a Silver wedding ring unless you were stringent with its every-day care.
Silver also tarnishes, which affects the way you store and clean it. You wouldn’t go storing a platinum or gold ring in an anti-tarnish bag. The exception to Silver being susceptible to tarnishing is if it has been finished with a rhodium plating or gold vermeil. The gold I use in my jewellery is known as Filled or Rolled Gold, you can learn more about it here.
9. Know your semi-precious stones and other gems
This point’s a fair bit more involved than familiarising yourself with the different metals in your collection. There are over 130 species of mineral that have been cut into an even larger array of gemstones and they all have their own behaviours.
You should at least familiarise yourself with the care and cleaning of any gems in your own collection. To do this, you should learn about what influence’s a gem’s durability. And no, we’re not just talking about its hardness!
Gem durability is measured in 3 ways:
- Hardness, or it’s resistance to scratches and abrasions.
- Toughness, or it’s resistance to chipping and breaking.
- Stability, or it’s resistance to chemicals, heat, light, and humidity.
Once you know where your own precious and semi-precious stones rank you’ll know how to best care for them.
Jewellery is bought to be worn and worn to be enjoyed! Don’t let overprotectiveness of your semi-precious stones keep them from their time in the limelight. With a little care and these tips, you’ll ensure your jewellery lives its best life for decades to come.