Ask the Jeweler
It is important to have your jewelry inspected and cleaned regularly (Mitchum Jewelers recommends having your jewelry cleaned and checked every 3 months) by a jeweler you can trust. However, there are many things you can do on your own to care for and protect your jewelry.
Precious metals and gemstones possess varying levels of hardness. Additionally, some pieces possess sharper corners or design elements than others.
For these reasons, one must avoid the temptation to simply toss jewelry together in a drawer or box. Piling jewelry together will result in scratches and could even fracture gemstones.
The information offered below will help you protect your valuable investments by avoiding some very real problems that arise from improper storage, heat, light and exposure to harmful chemicals. Perhaps the easiest, and yet most often overlooked way to care for your jewelry is ensuring it is properly stored at the end of each day.
- Remove rings before performing household chores such as cleaning, gardening or working with hand tools
- Store jewelry separately to avoid scratches and damage from other jewelry. It is best to store your jewelry in a jewelry box or in individual cases/pouches. Make sure your jewelry box is equipped with padded slots, posts and compartments that offer the ability to store each piece securely.
- Store necklaces, chains and bracelets flat or on a post to avoid kinks and knots.
- Always store bead jewelry and pearls flat and in a soft pouch. Avoid storing pearls in plastic bags, as the lack of moisture will cause the pearls to dry out and decay.
- Never throw your jewelry in your handbag or parcel.
- Never leave jewelry on the edge of a sink – they can very easily slip down the drain.
- Do not sleep in your jewelry.
- When traveling, give care to packing your jewelry items. Protect your pieces from scratches and impact damage by using padding. Jewelry travel totes are recommended.
- Keeping silver away from sulfurous materials will prevent your silver from tarnishing. Store in an airtight zipper bag to prevent air from coming in contact with your silver.
When cleaning your own jewelry, it is important to remember that precious metals like gold and silver are susceptible to damage from exposure to chemicals found in many household cleaning agents. These and other common chemicals, such as chlorine found in most pools, can also damage or discolor gemstones. Clean your jewelry and colored gems with warm water, a soft brush, and use only a mild soap (no detergents) if at all. A water pick or toothpick may be used to clean the hard to reach places, while a soft, lint-free cloth works well for drying and polishing. And, of course, be sure to close the sink’s drain before cleaning. A list of cleaning tips follows:
- Clean ear wires in rubbing alcohol.
- Use a soft polishing cloth to clean your pearls and gemstone jewelry. Chemical paste, liquid and bath cleaners are too harsh.
- Avoid wearing jewelry when spraying hair spray, perfume, and when coloring your hair; different agents cause jewelry to dull.
- Purchase an appropriate cleaning solution to keep your pieces clean and untarnished.
- Don’t rub precious metal with anything other than a fine piece of felt or polishing cloth to prevent scratching from fibers.
- Never use an ultrasonic cleaner on organic materials (amber, bone, coral, horn, ivory and pearls). This is also true for opals and turquoise.
- Pearls require special care. After each wearing, gently wipe them with a soft cloth to remove body oils and perfume.