Think of all the things you with your hands on a daily basis. Now think of all the effects of those actions on your jewelry. Rings, bracelets, & watches tend to get the brunt of our activity, yet most wearers fail to realize the damage until it’s too late. It is true that well-made fine jewelry will last generations, but only if maintained regularly. In this article, I’ll go over some of the Dos and Don’ts of jewelry care and storage. Let’s start with some facts:
1. Precious metals are relatively soft. This means that jewelry will show scratches when coming into contact with other hard surfaces.
2. Precious metals are malleable. This means they will bend and/or break if put under pressure.
3. Most jewelry is a mixture of metals, referred to as an alloy. Only 24 karat gold is pure, and it is very soft. To harden the gold for use in most jewelry, it is mixed with copper, silver, zinc, nickel, and palladium.
4. Some gemstones are porous, meaning they absorb any liquids that come in contact with their surface.
5. Gemstones have a range of hardness. Not all are recommended for daily wear.
“What does this mean to me?” you may be asking. It means that special consideration should be taken in the types of activities and environments your jewelry is worn.
Most rings should NOT be worn to the gym. This is due to many reasons, but I’ll focus on two. First off, metal scratches metal; this means lifting weights will result in scratched rings. The high polish finish will not last long if your rings are constantly rubbing against steel. Second, the actual weight of gym equipment is capable of bending or even breaking rings. Even if you are not lifting weights, the pressure of your body leaning on the handlebars of a bike in spin class, or in downward dog in yoga can alter the overall shape of a ring. If the curvature of a ring containing stones changes, the stones will eventually loosen in the settings and may fall out. This is why it is so imperative to have your settings checked every 6 months. This service is provided free of charge at Jae’s Jewelers. Click here to learn more about our services.
Most rings should not be worn to the beach or pool. I know everyone loves to show off their diamond sparkling in the sun! Trust me; this recommendation is in your best interest. Remember those alloys we discussed earlier? Those metals all react to the chemicals in your pool and in sunscreens in different ways. The result can be tarnishing of the metals, which may require professional polishing to remove the discoloration. In worse case scenarios, chemicals can even create pitting in the metal, resulting in weakened or brittle jewelry that cannot be repaired! Remember, any type of lotion on the surface of a gemstone, will not allow proper light refraction. Therefore, remove jewelry before applying lotions.
Your jewelry should always be stored in individual clear bags. This will prevent the scratching of metals, and chipping of gemstones. It also allows you to see what is contained in each bag. Too many times have I heard clients say that they stored a valuable item in a tissue or opaque bag, which was then tossed in the garbage. Don’t let this happen to you! When storing your necklaces and bracelets, the clasps should always be closed and locked to prevent knotting. The last thing you want when putting the final touches on an outfit is to spend 30 minutes untangling a chain.
Due to the organic nature of pearls, this particular gemstone requires additional care. Pearls (and corals) are porous, meaning they will absorb any chemical on their surface. Lotions and perfumes should never come in contact with pearls, as the chemicals can eat away at a pearl’s delicate nacre. For this same reason, pearls should not be kept in safety deposit boxes. Banks remove humidity in the vault’s air to ensure important documents do not get damaged. This process can dry out pearls, causing a loss of shine, discoloration, and disintegration. After wearing, pearls should be wiped down with a clean, soft cloth.
For at-home use, there are a variety of jewelry cleaners on the market. When using any cleaner, rinse the jewelry in warm water immediately after, and pat dry with a soft cloth. Jae’s Jewelers sells cleaners for pearl jewelry, silver jewelry, and gold or platinum jewelry for only $9. We also provide professional jewelry cleaning service, which includes the use of ultrasonic & steam machines. If you have any additional questions about jewelry care & storage, feel free to contact one of our fine jewelry consultants at 305-443-7724, or stop by 237 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.