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Caring for Your Jewelry

Caring for your jewelry goes beyond a simple buff or rinse every so often.
The key to jewelry maintenance is knowing when to wear and when not to wear your items, how to store them, how to clean them, and remembering to regularly inspect your jewelry to identify when there might be damage or wear to your pieces.  

Put Your Jewelry on Last

Many beauty and personal care products can damage your jewelry. Buildup from soaps and lotions, makeup, hair spray, deodorant, perfume, and shampoo and conditioner can all negatively affect your jewelry's natural beauty. Use whichever of these items you usually do but give them some time to soak in or dissipate in the air before you put your jewelry on.

Don't Wear Your Jewelry While Doing Chores, at the Gym, Showering, Swimming, Sunbathing, or Gardening

Remove your jewelry before engaging in activities where it may come in contact with damaging substances. Many of your everyday activities can damage your jewelry: acid from citrus fruits and other foods, salt and oils from your sweat, and chemicals in everything from swimming pools to cleaning products can all negatively affect your jewelry's natural beauty. Gardening with your jewelry on can lead to bumps and dings and can scratch metal and gems. Remove your jewelry before engaging in any activity where it may come in contact with damaging substances.

Don't Sleep With Your Jewelry On

Wearing jewelry to bed, including earrings and rings, can lead to damage, including bent prongs, broken chains, and loose stones.  Take your jewelry pieces off before you go to bed at night. It is much safer for your favorite pieces of jewelry. 

Store Your Jewelry Properly

When you are not wearing your jewelry, lay it out in a lined drawer, dish, or jewelry box, this limits the risk of items getting tangled up together or scratching one another, being particularly careful to keep pieces with gemstones separate as they can scratch other gold and silver jewelry. To reduce tarnish-inducing moisture, place a piece of chalk or a silica gel packet near your jewelry. When you store your jewelry properly each night you will always know that it will be ready to wear and looking its best each time you take it out.

Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Sunlight and Heat

When you aren’t wearing your jewelry, be sure to keep it stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Many metals and gemstones used to make jewelry can be damaged by prolonged sun or light exposure and cause them to wear out as well as look old and uncared for. This is especially true of amethyst and topaz pieces. Pearls and ivory tend to bleach out when they get a lot of sun or light and amber can take on a darker hue in the same situation. Excessive heat can cause gems to crack and remove the natural moisture they need to stay in good shape.

Cleaning Your Jewelry

Use cleaning cloths and solutions specifically designed for your pieces. The wrong one can damage etchings and engravings as well as leave your metals and gems discolored.

The vibration of the machine can loosen gemstones or cause them to fall out. Ultrasonic cleaning tools cannot be used on certain organic gemstones like pearls, coral, ivory, and amber. Gems impacted by heat and temperature changes like tanzanite, moonstone, opal, turquoise, and topaz should not be cleaned ultrasonically.

For Daily Polishing or to Remove Light Buildup or Tarnish

For light buildup and tarnish, simply buff your jewelry with a soft cloth dipped in water or with a polishing cloth to restore its original shine. Buffing should be done with an appropriate polishing cloth such as lint free cloths like the ones used to clean eyeglasses or a piece of flannel. Resist the urge to use paper towels as they contain fibers that can scratch metals.

Cleaning Solid Gold Jewelry With No Gemstones

In one bowl, mix an extra mild dish soap with warm water. Fill another bowl with only warm water. Place your all-gold jewelry in the soap mixture and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. When it’s finished soaking, use a very soft bristle toothbrush to gently remove buildup and tarnish. Take care to clean any recesses and between links. Dip into the bowl containing clean warm water until the jewelry is completely free of soap. Buff and dry with a soft cloth, then lay the jewelry on a towel. Allow it to dry fully before putting away.

Cleaning Jewelry With Gemstones

Soaking is not recommended for jewelry with gemstones as it can compromise the settings over time and because some stones, such as turquoise and coral, are porous. In lieu of soaking, mix very mild dish soap into warm water, then clean the metal and gemstones using a soft cloth moistened with the solution. To reach deep recesses around bezels, filigree, etchings, or stamps, use a soft-bristled toothbrush dipped in the soapy water. Use a fresh cloth dipped in clean water to remove all traces of soap. Allow jewelry with gemstones to dry completely before putting it away.

Cleaning Gold Fill Jewelry

Cleaning your gold fill jewelry requires a gentle touch and mild products. Abrasives or a rough hand could result in damaging or removing the gold portion altogether. Start by gently wiping your piece with a soft, dry microfiber cloth, then briefly cleansing with a solution of water and gentle dishwashing detergent. Do not soak the piece in the solution. Allow the piece to air dry, and then very lightly buff any remaining spots with a clean microfiber cloth.

With proper care, your favorite jewelry will be radiant for years to come.

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