Jewelry Care Instructions
Removing your jewelry before showering or bathing is an excellent habit to establish. (This is a good time to carry out its daily cleaning.) Soap can deposit a film that diminishes the liveliness and beauty of your jewelry, making it necessary to clean it more frequently. Also remove your jewelry before putting on makeup, powder or hair spray, and wash your hands to remove dulling residues after applying makeup, before you handling your jewelry.
Try to not touch the stones in your rings when putting them on or off. Instead, hold the ring by the shank (the metal portion that encircles the finger). Touching the stones can cause a greasy buildup on their surfaces, greatly reducing the brilliance and sparkle.
Don't take off rings and lay them on the side of the sink unless you are sure the drain is closed. Also, never remove your rings to wash your hands when you are away from home (unless you hold them in your teeth!); many have been forgotten and lost. Never wrap your jewelry in facial tissue, which might later be tossed into the trash!
Avoid wearing fine jewelry while doing any type of rough work, such as house cleaning or gardening. Abrasives will scratch your jewelry - both the stones and the metal. Chemicals such as chlorine can cause discoloration of metals used in settings and dull the polish on many stones, making it necessary to have the stone re-polished to restore its natural beauty. Chlorine can also cause pitting and discoloration to settings. Ammonia will remove the polish on soft, porous stones such as Malachite, Turquoise and Coral. It can also affect many treatments given to enhance Emeralds
Avoid exposing fine jewelry to intense heat, for example, while cooking. Exposure to extreme heat can cause damage to many gems. Enameled Gold work also may be ruined by contact with heat.
Every 12 to 18 months it is recommended that your jeweler check each piece to make sure the setting is secure, and the prongs or shanks are secure or repaired as necessary. If you ever feel or hear the stone moving in the setting, it is a warning that the prongs or bezel need tightening (a simple adjustment made by a jeweler). Also, check catches and clasps to make sure they are secure and working properly. Failure to take care of this could result in loss or damage.
Storing Your Fine Jewelry
Avoid exposing fine jewelry to extreme temperature changes, such as might be encountered by putting jewelry in a refrigerator or in-the-ground safe during the winter, where temperatures may be quite cold, then removing it and wearing it in a heated room. This is especially true with opals.
Store your jewelry in a dry place. Avoid extremes of temperature and humidity. Keep gemstone-studded jewelry, pearls, and gold jewelry separated from each other to prevent scratching. Store silver separately from gold jewelry, to avoid tarnishing the gold. Do not store pearls or opals for long periods of time in a safe deposit box. The dry, close air and dark environment seems to discolor pearls and dry out both pearls and opals. Keep fine jewelry in soft pouches or wrapped in soft cloth to help protect it. Don't overcrowd your jewelry box. This can result in misplacing or losing pieces that might fall unnoticed from the case, or damage, such as bending a fragile piece or chipping a fragile stone.
Diamonds can scratch other gemstones very easily, and can also scratch each other. Ideally, to prevent scratching, diamond jewelry should be placed in a case that has separated compartments, or each piece should be individually wrapped soft cloth (but not in facial tissue).
Pearls of all kinds (Natural, Cultured, South Sea, Tahitian, or Freshwater) are very soft, only 2 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale. Because normal dust can contain much harder quartz particles (Sand), Pearls can be easily scratched if left uncovered. Store Pearls in a separate pouch, preferably one lined with a soft fabric such as satin. Wrap them to prevent scratching the Pearl's surface on sharp metal edges or prongs, or against harder stones. Never, carelessly toss jewelry into a purse or travel case. Always protect the Pearls from contact with ammonia, inks, hair spray, perfumes, cosmetics, and especially vinegar, which will immediately begin corroding the pearl's surface. All these substances will damage the Pearls, and some of the substances may weaken the string, making it susceptible to breakage.
Restring your Pearls periodically. If they are worn daily, get them restrung once a year is recommended. Fine Pearls should always be strung with individual knots tied in between each Pearl to prevent them from rubbing against each other, (causes damage to the nacre) or from scattering and getting lost if the string should break. Treat any organic gem, such as amber, coral or jet as you would pearls.
How To Clean Your Fine Jewelry
To restore the sparkle to rings, necklaces and bracelets with Diamond, Ruby, or Sapphire gemstones, clean it using a soft (old) toothbrush and an absorbent cloth or paper towel. The procedure:
- Wet the jewelry in Hot Water - Rule - If the water is too hot for you to touch it is too hot for the jewelry.
- Apply a small amount of Liquid Dish Soap and work into a foam with the toothbrush. - Get into as many small areas as possible.
- Rinse the jewelry in Warm Water.
- Next apply a few sprays of Window Glass Cleaner with Ammonia and again use the toothbrush to get into the small areas of the jewelry.
- Rinse in Warm Water.
- To finish Dip the Jewelry in Rubbing Alcohol and blot dry with your paper towel or cloth. Alternative - Use Canned Air to blow the water off your jewelry.
This can be done as often as you like.
For Karat Gold jewelry without gemstones, rubbing with a soft chamois cloth will restore much of the luster. Gold tarnish can be removed with a solution of soap and water to which a few teaspoons of ammonia has been added. Using a soft toothbrush, brush the jewelry with this solution, rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Grease can be removed by dipping in plain rubbing alcohol before washing.
Never allow the cleaning of Opals or Emeralds in an ultrasonic cleaner. They can crack Opals, and remove oil treatments from Emeralds, making inclusions more visible and weaken the apparent color.
For more detailed jewelry cleaning information, go see our Gem Chart.
Precautions While Traveling
Never pack jewelry in your checked luggage, when traveling. If you use an Overnight or Makeup Case, never give it to the bell captain at a hotel, ship's porters, etc. Never leave it lying in your room. Wherever possible, obtain a safety deposit box in which to store your jewelry when not wearing it, even for part of a day. Also store the jewelry you leave behind at home in a bank safety deposit box.
Never remove your jewelry and wrap it in a facial tissue - many pieces have been thrown away accidentally this way. Keep a small pouch handy in your purse.
Purchase a “Body Pouch” or “Money Belt”, that can be concealed under clothing, when you must carry a valuable piece.
Never go sightseeing with valuables in a purse or pocket.
For customs purposes, it can be useful to take a photocopy of your jewelry appraisal with you. Or, have a photo of the jewelry that is dated and notarized prior to departure and keep it in your passport.
Enjoy Your Fine Jewelry!
Your jewelry is an intimate expression of your personality and a sentimental reminder of important occasions. It will last a lifetime if properly cared for. Keep your favorite pieces in mind when you make additions to your wardrobe!
Wear your jewelry.
But, give it the care such a precious item deserves.