If you’ve worn a wedding ring or family piece for many years, you may not spend much time thinking about the day-to-day wear and tear your jewelry is likely experiencing. Sure, it’s already lasted for years (and possibly generations), but there are things you can do – and more importantly, avoid – to preserve its beauty and condition for years to come.
- Avoid wearing your jewelry every day, within reason
With the exception of your engagement or wedding ring, avoid wearing the same jewelry every day. Not only can repeated wear cause the metal to fade, it can also increase the risk of damage. It’s a good idea to create a habit of removing precious jewelry when working with your hands, taking a shower, washing dishes or painting. Consider keeping little dishes in your bathrooms and kitchen so you have a place to safely keep them until you’re done with your current task.
- Store your jewelry properly, in a specific place
Did you know storing jewelry out in the open could cause it to tarnish? Consider storing your jewelry in a box lined with acid-free sheets to protect them (Except in the case of pearls! For more refer to bullet number two below). Also, develop a habit of storing your jewelry in the same place. Like many people do with their keys, having a designated spot where you always keep your jewelry can significantly reduce your risk of loss.
- Remove with care
Did you know putting unnecessary pressure on your diamond or gemstone weakens the prongs, making it more susceptible to falling out? Remove your rings instead by pulling only from the sides of the shank.
- Use proper cleaning care
Ultrasonic cleaning machines are wonderful for solid metal rings, bracelets or necklaces, but did you know they’re not suitable for all jewelry? Avoid putting pearls, cameos, gemstones, coral and other soft stones in an ultrasonic machine as it can cause them to crack or become loose. When cleaning jewelry at home, be watchful not to submerge your jewelry in the solution for too long as it can cause jewelry to tarnish or discolor over time.
Here are a few more thoughts on daily care of your treasured fine jewelry:
- Remove jewelry while exercising, doing yard work and sleeping, as blankets can grab, bend or break the prongs holding your gemstone or diamond.
- Did you know pearls should always be hung? Laying them in a box can cause the nylon cord to constrict and ultimately not hang correctly from around your neck.
- Transport jewelry and rings separately as metals and gems can scratch, scuff or damage each other, especially diamonds.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- Avoid touching your diamonds, as they easily attract dust, dirt and oils from your hands.
- Do not swim in your jewelry. Water is naturally abrasive, but chlorine and salt water can take an even larger toll on precious metals and gems, weakening the materials and causing surface damage.