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Proper Jewelry Care: How to Keep Your Jewelry Clean and Sparkly

January 26th, 2011 by

The key to prolonging the life of your jewelry, making sure it retains its luster, is ensuring that you take proper care of it.  Whether your jewelry is a gift or something you bought for yourself with your hard-earned money, you will want to make sure it lasts for as long as you want it!  Here are a few tips to help you keep your jewelry clean and sparkly.

  • Don’t wear your jewelry into the shower. Too often, people get into the habit of wearing their jewelry all the time, even into the shower.  It’s easier, and then you don’t have to worry about losing or dropping your jewelry.  However, the soap and even the hot water can be very bad for your jewelry.  Gold, for instance, tends to accumulate a soap film very quickly, and many colored stones can actually be damaged by hot water.
  • Take your jewelry off to clean or do the dishes. The chemicals in the cleaners we typically use can also cause damage to your jewelry.  For instance, gold weakens when exposed to chlorine, and many color stones cannot be exposed to anything harsher than mild soap.  Cultured pearls in particular are extremely vulnerable to chemicals.  If you don’t like the idea of taking your rings off every time you wipe down the counter or do the dishes, just be sure to put rubber gloves on to protect them.
  • Clean your jewelry regularly. Build-up on your jewelry will mar its sparkle and shine — all the more reason to clean it regularly.  Most jewelry can be safely cleaned by soaking it in a solution of mild soap and warm water, brushing it gently with a soft-bristled brush, and then rinsing it clean in warm water.  Most jewelry should not be exposed to harsh cleaners, and color stones should not come into contact with hot water or steam.  Opals should be cleaned with a few drops of baby oil to keep them moisturized.
  • Be especially careful with cultured pearls. Pearls are the most delicate jewels in your jewelry box.  Even the residue from your make-up and perfume can damage your pearls, so you should always be extra careful when wearing them.  Put them on after you apply your make-up and perfume, in order to limit their exposure.  At the end of the night, be sure to wipe them down gently with a damp cloth, and allow them to dry completely before putting them away.
  • Keep your jewelry in a safe place. A good jewelry box, the kind in which you will keep your jewelry safe for years to come, should have a soft interior and the ability to keep your necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets separate from one another.  Otherwise your jewelry may become scratched from getting jostled against one another, or even against the rough interior of a box not meant for storing jewelry.  Sterling silver can also be stored in special pouches of treated fabric, designed to prevent it from tarnishing.  Storing your jewelry properly not only keeps it safer, but also means that you will have to clean and polish it less often.
  • Have a jeweler inspect your jewelry periodically. Jewelers often recommend that you have your jewelry inspected every 6 months, and actually most warranties require this or else the warranty will be void.  Settings tend to loosen over time, which makes it more likely that you will lose the stone if you don’t have it checked occasionally.  The jeweler can also buff out any scratches on your jewelry, in order to keep the metal bright and shiny.

If you follow these tips for taking good care of your jewelry, it ought to easily last you for years! Interested in learning more about diamonds and jewelry? Check out our diamond education page!