Top 10 Ways to Maintain Your Jewelry
Whether it’s your special-occasion sparkles or your signature everyday pieces, your jewelry only looks as good as the care you give it. Gold, pearls, gems and stones all require special attention. A little jewelry care know-how will keep your pieces looking dazzling for decades.
1. Store beaded strands flat: Displaying jewelry when it’s not being worn is a huge trend right now. Ideas are popping up all over Pinterest for hanging necklaces from knobs and hooks. However, hanging beaded necklaces and bracelets can weaken them and eventually, as the weight of the beads pulls downwards, break the strings. Instead, strands of pearls and beads should be stored flat on a soft, cloth surface.
2. Keep gems out of the Sun: Just like overexposure to the sun isn’t good for your skin, it isn’t good for gems either. Stones such as amethyst, aquamarine, smoky quartz and citrine can all become paler or change colors if they are exposed to too much sunlight.
3. Stay away from chemicals: Wearing your gems while cleaning might make grungy tasks seem more glamorous, but cleaning products and household chemicals, like ammonia, bleach, acetone and alcohol can dull metals and pit gemstones. Always remove jewelry before wiping up or, if your wedding rings are permanent fixtures on your hand, at least pull on rubber gloves.
4. Keep stones out of water: Porous stones, such as pearls, opals and turquoise, absorb water. This can change the color and texture of the stone. These stones should never be worn while swimming, washing dishes or showering.
5. Store sterling silver out of the air: Exposure to air and humidity can cause sterling silver to tarnish. To prevent tarnish from building up, wipe silver jewelry with a soft cloth when removing it. Then, store each piece in a soft bag with a zipper or drawstring. You can also place a small anti-tarnish strip in the bag to further protect the piece.
6. Put jewelry on last: Beauty products, such as makeup, lotion, hairspray, and perfume can all cause a difficult to remove film to build up on jewelry. Think of your jewelry as the decadent frosting on a cupcake and put it on as the finishing touch.
7. Store each piece separately: At the end of the day, it’s tempting to toss your jewelry on the counter or in a bowl on the dresser. However, gold, silver, pearls and even some gems can scratch easily when they rub together. Individual jewelry pieces are best stored separately in soft bags or sections of a jewelry box.
8. Give it a bath: Nothing is more relaxing or makes you feel cleaner than a warm bubble bath and your jewelry agrees. The best way to clean most gold, silver and diamond jewelry is with warm water, a touch of dishwashing liquid and a soft makeup brush. However, do not try this with porous stones.
9. Stay out of the pool: Those magazine photos of models lounging by the pool in high heels and beautiful jewelry are silly for many reasons, one of which is, jewelry never belongs in the pool. Chlorine can cause the color of metal and stones to change. It can also weaken metals and cause damage to structure of the piece. Besides, a chunky necklace will interfere with your backstroke anyways.
10. Get your jewelry a checkup: Just like you need an annual physical even if you eat right and exercise, so does your jewelry. Even when you take excellent care of it, jewelry can weaken and change over time. Take it to a professional jeweler each year for a checkup. They will look for bent prongs, loose stones, and weak strands. They can also give it a professional cleaning, which will have it sparkling like new.