Jewelry Care 101: Taking care of your most valuable pieces

 

Preserving your jewelry for generations to come requires proper care and precautions. Following some basic guidelines will help protect your jewelry from damage and wear. Regularly cleaning your new jewelry will keep it looking radiant, but over time, all fine jewelry begins to lose its shine. Silver and other metals will eventually tarnish. Deposits of debris and daily grime will cause your gemstones to look dull and dirty. Following a daily jewelry cleaning regimen and jewelry care best practices can preserve the life of your jewelry and keep it looking great for many years.

Here are some jewelry care tips to help you keep your jewelry looking new and beautiful for years to come.

Storing your jewelry.

After wearing, wipe your gemstone jewelry thoroughly with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth and polish with a soft, dry cloth. This will enhance the luster of the gemstones and ensure that your jewelry is clean before storage. Store gemstone pieces individually in soft pouches to prevent scratching. You may prefer to store pendants hanging on hooks in a jewelry box or lay them flat in a drawer or jewelry roll to prevent tangling.
It’s best to keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined case that has compartments and dividers for your jewelry. If you don’t have a jewelry case, make sure to wrap each piece of jewelry in a soft tissue or paper before placing it in a drawer. This will prevent scratching and tangling. For sterling silver jewelry, get an anti-tarnish bag or cloth to limit exposure to air and moisture.

Avoid chemicals.

Hairspray, lotion, and perfume can be damaging to certain types of metals and colored gems. Precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum are especially susceptible to discoloration from these everyday care products. When getting ready in the morning or preparing for a night out, set your jewelry aside, or better yet, leave your jewelry in its case until you’re ready to wear it.

Use mild cleaners for regular cleanings.

One of the best jewelry cleaning methods involves warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft brush. However, ultrasonic jewelry cleaning has become popular for jewelry lovers looking for a more thorough approach to cleaning their jewelry.

Be sure to visually inspect your gemstone jewelry before cleaning to be sure all stones are secure in their mountings. If in doubt, let us inspect the piece and perform any necessary maintenance.

If cleaning jewelry over a sink or lavatory, be sure to close the drain before beginning.

Almost all colored stone jewelry can be safely cleaned using a mild soap and water solution and a soft brush.

Commercial jewelry cleaners are safe for most stones, but be sure to read the label carefully before using any commercial cleaner, especially on delicate stones such as pearls or opals. Also remember that gold and silver are soft and can be scratched, so always polish with a clean, soft cotton cloth and never use abrasive cleansers.

Always thoroughly rinse and dry your jewelry, then polish with a soft cloth after cleaning and before storage.

If your all-metal piece becomes badly tarnished, it may also be cleaned with commercial silver jewelry cleaner or any traditional silver cleaner.

Do not use commercial silver cleaners on gemstone pieces, as they may damage the stones. Use a silver polishing cloth only. If your silver and gemstone jewelry becomes badly tarnished and will not clean up with a silver polishing cloth, it may require professional cleaning.

If you’re considering ultrasonic cleaning, it’s best to leave your jewelry in the care of trained jewelers who understand how to use this technology safely. Ultrasonic cleaning can sometimes shake gems loose or chip gemstones if used incorrectly. Plus, organic gemstones like pearls, coral, ivory, and amber should not be cleaned ultrasonically. The same applies to gems impacted by heat and temperature changes like tanzanite, moonstone, opal, turquoise, and topaz.

When you come to visit us at Bernard’s Jewelers, we will always clean your jewelry for free.

Know when to take it off.

The swimming pool isn’t an ideal place for your fine jewelry. Neither is the gym. Even when preparing a meal or doing household chores, it’s a good idea to store your jewelry in a safe place. Not only will this protect your treasured pieces from harsh chemicals and debris buildup, but it will also help you avoid losing your jewelry. Retrieving your ring from the bottom of a pool drain is a nightmare no one should have to experience.

Do not subject gemstone jewelry to sudden temperature changes. Consider your gemstone jewelry during your daily activities. Some stones are brittle and should not be worn when doing household chores or any other activity where the stone could be hit or damaged. Make sure to wipe your gemstones after wear to remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration.

Insure your jewelry.

Did you know that most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t properly cover fine jewelry? Insurance laws vary from state to state and country to country, so it is important that you speak to your insurer and find out exactly what type and how much coverage you have on your fine jewelry and gemstones before a loss occurs.

Proper coverage begins with a proper appraisal. You should seek out a gemologist appraiser who has the training to write an appraisal that accurately describes your item, because that description is what the insurance company will look at in the case of a loss, not just the appraised value.

A jewelry appraisal is typically one of the first steps to insuring your jewelry. You’ll need to visit a certified appraiser who can determine the value of your piece or collection. Bernard’s Jewelers offers jewelry appraisals. Please contact us for more information.

If you have questions about caring for your jewelry, or if you would like us to check your stones, please visit us at 23999 US Hwy. 80, Statesboro or call us at 912-764-5379.