It is one thing to buy your favorite jewelry, but quite another to know when to wear and how to care for it. All jewelry is not alike. Costume jewelry must be handled much differently than fine metals and precious stones. This guide will give you the best care practices along with simple tips on keeping them shiny and dazzling. Jewelry is meant to enhance your personal features, style, and clothing so take the time to preserve their original state of gorgeousness.
Water Wear Care
One of the biggest mistakes in jewelry maintenance is showering, bathing or swimming without removing your bling. Although it looks stylish and sexy, wearing jewelry in the water will not contribute to the long-term maintenance, and, in fact, can spell disaster in many cases.
Quick rule of thumb:
- Diamonds: Exposing diamonds to soaps, lotions, chlorine, and bubble bath will likely leave a residual film over the dazzle.
- Sterling Silver: Induces tarnishing, particularly when worn in salt water and chemically-treated water.
- Gold: Solid gold jewelry can stand up to water although it will lose its sheen over time. Gold-plated jewelry will not last long at all. The gold-plating will eventually wear away and expose the brass or other metal beneath making the piece look cheap and not worth wearing. Gold-filled jewelry can be worn in water, but like solid gold, it will eventually become dull.
- Platinum: Platinum wears well in water but also loses its innate sheen over time, so it isn’t recommended.
- Pearls and other Soft Stones: No, no, no. Pearls, opals, amber, coral and other soft stones should not get wet, ever. Even though many of these stones are products of nature, they are delicate and the surface can be negatively affected.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Your jewelry gives you the perfect reason to avoid cleaning, right? We wish! But clean we must and taking off all jewelry, particularly rings, is mandatory if you want to keep it in great condition.
Chemicals create a harsh and irreversible effect on most jewelry. Again, the more solid the metal, the more durable it will be. However, why would anyone spend top dollar for fine jewelry only to treat it like inexpensive costume jewelry?
Too Much Light and Heat
Light and heat are rarely thought of as negative elements for jewelry. Yet, they wreak havoc on precious stones and gems. Award-winning jewelry designer, Lisa Krikawa reminds, “Light and heat have negative effects on jewels, such as fading and bleaching while others, like amber, completely change their color.”
Storing Your Jewelry
A few don’ts on storing jewelry so you can make it last a lifetime:
- No tangling as chains can be broken and sparkles accidentally removed and lost
- No leaving any pieces in a moist area
- Keep fine jewelry in a special place where it can be dry and safe
- Protect and organize costume jewelry by type and color
- Never leave fine jewelry out on a counter or anywhere it might get dinged.
Regular and Ultrasonic cleaning
If you keep your jewelry on a regular cleaning schedule, it will continue to perform like new. It will remain impressive and in top condition when maintained properly. Here are a few rules you can follow:
Colored gemstones and solid gold: Warm water, mild soap, and a soft-bristle brush will be all you need. You can also use an electric water-pick dental tool to get into hard-to-reach spots. Make sure to rinse off any residual soaps with clean water. An ultrasonic cleaner can be used for solid gold, titanium, palladium, and other solid metals, but the best cleaning will come from your jeweler!
Soft gems and gold-plated pieces: As mentioned earlier, soft stones can be easily damaged, so use a soft brush or cloth, warm water, and gentle motions. Gold plated should be cleaned with a dry cloth or brush; water should be avoided. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner on any of your costume jewelry, as it can’t withstand the machine’s vibration or the necessary chemicals.
By Sandra Faleris, Marketing Professional and Writer.
Photo credits: www.pixabay.com