Remember that wonderful day when you received your ring? It was shiny, and could put out the sun with those sparkles. What happened to that sparkle bomb we once knew? Has she gone away?
Well, we’re about to serve some hard truth about Jewelry Care. It won’t be easy. But I promise, if you follow these simple jewelry care hacks, your wallet (and heart) will thank me later.
After all, I love seeing my clients (always), but I really don’t want to charge your for repairs after you decided to go rock climbing in your ring.
Lesson 1: You’re gonna have to take it off.
Take off your jewelry! You can do hard things, but just don’t do hard things in your sparklers.
Jewelry is delicate by nature. We’re talking about precious metals that have definite hardness and tolerances to bending & blows. It’s not indestructible; metals scratch, abrade, move, and break. Precious metals used in jewelry also have sensitivities and reactions to abrasive liquids (like chlorine, household cleaners, and hand sanitizer.). Let’s just put it this way, you may love hot-tubbin’, but your gold definitely does not.
And prongs. Dear, dear prongs.
They’re tiny! Prongs, channels, bezels, and bars all cradle our diamonds and gemstones like champs, but there’s a limit to the abuse they can take. Just like hearing that aunt who would never stop screaming at you to “get your fingers out of the cookie dough” (too close to home?), prongs and their cousins erode over time from daily wear. And they need to be built back up again.
The way you wear your jewelry daily directly correlates to the expense of repairs.
Here are four times you need to take off your jewelry. Every single time.
Sleeping: The Sandman doesn’t care about your rocks.
Hint: Blanket fibers can pull back prongs.
Showering: your body wash does nothing for your diamonds.
Hint: Moisture can get trapped under your rings and earrings, causing irritation.
Sports: You may be able to bench press 100 lbs, but your ring cannot.
Hint: The impact from a barbell, hand weights, or even gripping your Peloton bars too tightly can loosen settings, crack stones, and bend your rings.
Swimming: C is for Chlorine. And it’s good for nobody.
Hint: Household cleaners, chlorine, hand sanitizer, and related abrasives (even toothpaste) can cause microscratches, pitting in your gold, wearing away of rhodium plating for white gold, and even break down gold to cause cracking.
STORY TIME, MES AMIS
Once upon a time, I worked for an awesome jewelry brand designer. We kept receiving a wide (21mm) platinum diamond band for repair, as the shank of the ring was out of round seemingly all the time. We’d repair it, reset the loose diamonds, and ship it back to the client.
A month later, and the ring was back. Same issue.
“The ring is defective!” she said. (No, it definitely was not.)
After speaking more with the client, we found out she was a bit high strung from her tough job as a district court judge. After countless days of gripping her steering wheel too hard and handing down judgements with her gavel, the shank of the ring just couldn’t take the constant barrage of pressure. We challenged her to put her ring on when she arrived at work, and to be extra careful with that gavel.
We never saw the ring in for repair again.
First and foremost, I suggest having your jewelry checked/inspected at your local jeweler at least ONCE per year (2x/year if you’re a star student.)
Jewelers will do this for free! Just make sure to avoid busy times of year (Valentine’s Day and the week before Christmas.)
We check all jewelry for prong tightness, metal porosity, and diamond/gemstone condition. Your jeweler, like myself, will then use appropriate cleaning methods according to your diamond or gemstone type. Then we finish it all off with a nice, hot steam (except for porous gems, some treated gems, and heat-sensitive gems.)
However, if you’re reading this from home, here are my top tips for cleaning your jewelry at your casa.
Get a shallow bowl or dish, fill with warm (not boiling hot) water.
Add 2-3 drops of liquid dish soap. You know it–that good blue kind that cleans the baby ducks.
Gently soak your jewelry, as long as you need. Yes, even overnight.
Use a NEW (not used/full of old toothpaste) soft-bristled toothbrush to loosen debris and general life ickiness.
Rinse your jewelry under warm water.
Pat completely dry* with a soft towel or microfiber cloth.
Wear & enjoy!
This method is good for the following gems: diamond, sapphire, ruby, moissanite, quartz, tourmaline, and most hard gems.
Skip the toothbrush on: emerald, tanzanite, moonstone, and softer gems.
Do NOT use on: opal, pearl, heavily treated gemstones like glass filled ruby. Let a jeweler handle those.
Look, we can’t be perfect here. You’re going to hit your jewelry hard at some point, and that may cause some damage. It’s okay! Just make sure to have a trusted, local jeweler inspect your item and quote out a repair.
Of course, we ALWAYS suggest having a jewelry insurance policy, like one from Jeweler’s Mutual. A policy like this will cover you in the event of severe damage, loss, or theft.
And if you’re planning to purchase from us, consider adding a JM Lifetime Care Plan to your next purchase.
But wait, my grandma used to use boiling water, vodka, and toothpaste. Why can’t I?
Because…just don’t. These methods could heat up the metal to scalding temperatures, impact some types of gem treatment (fracture filling, oiling), leave microabrasions in your metal, … or just waste some really good vodka that was meant to go in a martini.
What about silver?
Silver requires some tender loving care. I would suggest a Sunshine silver polishing cloth for minor to moderate tarnishing, while you may need silver paste for more serious tarnishing. When in doubt, ask your jeweler.
There’s nothing better than a sparkly piece of jewelry. Here’s a recap on keeping your jewelry happy and beautiful:
Take it Off: Sleep, Shower, Sports, Swim
Have it inspected at least once a year by a jeweler
Can clean at home in most cases.
Store diamonds away from other diamonds and gemstones, to avoid scratching and chipping.