Accessorizing with fine jewelry is a great way to express who we are and makes us feel fabulous. It’s important to remember, however, that ownership does carry a few simple responsibilities: proper storage, regular cleaning and periodic maintenance. If you follow some of our easy guidelines, it will ensure the beauty of your jewelry for generations to come.
Avoid scratches to precious metals and soft gemstones by storing jewelry separately, or in a lined container with dividers. Another option is to wrap each piece with tissue paper.
To keep jewelry clean, wipe it with a soft, damp cloth after each time it is worn. This will help to remove dust, remnants of makeup and perfume, perspiration and surface grime that accumulates with normal wear. Regular, deeper cleanings are advised for most jewelry.
There are commercial jewelry cleaners that can be purchased for home use, but be certain to follow the directions. An ultrasonic cleaner is very effective on gold and diamond jewelry, but can fracture other gemstones. If you have any doubts or questions about the proper cleaning method to use, contact your jeweler.
In addition to regular cleanings at home, visit your jeweler at least once a year to have your jewelry professionally cleaned. At that time, your jeweler can also examine your jewelry to determine if any repairs or special maintenance procedures are needed.
The following list of cleaning tips and suggestions for proper care will help keep your jewelry looking sparkly and new.
This category covers a wide range of precious gemstones and includes rubies, sapphires, emeralds and semi-precious gemstones. In general, colored gemstones should be stored away from excessive light and heat. Certain stones like turquoise, coral, lapis, amber and onyx are naturally soft and porous. Do not allow these to soak for longer than advised and be aware that they can be scratched easily.
- Wipe jewelry with a soft, damp cloth after wearing.
- For deeper cleaning, soak jewelry 2-3 minutes in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of mild liquid soap.
- Do not use detergents or ultrasonic cleaners.
- Gently scrub jewelry with a soft facial or cosmetic brush.
- Rinse in a bowl of clean water and air-dry thoroughly on a soft, absorbent cloth.
- Do not expose colored gemstones to sudden changes in temperature or extreme heat. This may fracture the stone.
- Avoid household cleaners and harsh chemicals like ammonia, chlorine and bleach.
- Avoid shocks and knocks. Some gemstones like emeralds and tanzanites are brittle and can fracture easily.
- Do not expose colored gemstone jewelry to chlorinated or salt water.
Pearls are natural, soft gems created within mollusks in the sea or freshwater. These special gems require proper care to retain their beautiful luster and color over the years. Like softer gemstones, pearls can scratch easily, so use care to store them separate from other jewelry.
- Wipe with a soft, damp cotton cloth each time pearl jewelry is worn to remove traces of perfume, perspiration or makeup.
- For occasional cleaning, soak 2-3 minutes in a bowl of lukewarm (never hot) water with a few drops of mild liquid soap.
- Rinse and dry on a soft absorbent cloth.
- Pearl strands must dry thoroughly prior to wearing as the damp silk thread attracts dirt and can easily stretch out.
- Do not spray on perfume or hairspray while wearing pearls as the chemical agents contained in these products may damage the delicate nacre of the pearl and cause pitting, dulling or yellowing.
- Avoid household cleaners, detergents and harsh chemicals like ammonia, chlorine and bleach.
- Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
- Remove pearl jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool.
- Have pearl strands restrung every 1-3 years depending upon the amount of wear.
- Store pearls separately, wrapped in silk, soft cotton or a chamois. Keep away from excessive heat or direct sunlight. Avoid airtight plastic bags or containers, as this can dry out the natural moisture of the nacre and cause pearls to crack or discolor over time.
The hardest of stones, diamonds derive their beauty from the way they refract, reflect and disperse light. The slightest bit of film from skin oil, soap or hand lotion will change a diamond’s refractive index and dull the diamond’s brilliance. Diamond rings worn every day should be cleaned often to keep them sparkling and bright.
- Soak in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of ammonia.
- Using a soft toothbrush, gently scrub the entire piece, especially underneath the setting of your stone to dislodge any dirt.
- Rinse in a bowl of clean water and dry.
- Do not touch the surface of clean diamonds with your fingertips. Instead, handle jewelry by the edges to avoid leaving fingerprints.
- Do not perform heavy work while wearing diamond jewelry. Diamonds are the hardest of stones, but can still be chipped if hit the wrong way.