Did you know that jewelry, particularly silver jewelry, tends to tarnish over time? This is true even if it’s stored away. Your body chemistry, the environment and some kinds of chemicals can alter the color of your favorite pieces, which can be pretty devastating. Proper jewelry care can ensure that each of your items always looks its best so you can be proud to wear it.
Caring for your jewelry goes beyond a simple buff or rinse every so often. Regularly inspecting your jewelry is also important to identify when there might be damage or wear to your pieces. The key to jewelry maintenance is knowing how to store, wear, and clean your items.
Keep reading for an easy jewelry guide for getting it right.
This is perhaps the easiest way to prevent your prized pieces from coming into contact with substances that can lead to tarnishing. This includes hair spray, body lotion, deodorant, and perfume. Use whichever of these items you usually do but give them some time to soak in or dissipate in the air before you put your jewelry on.
This means you don’t have to give any of them up but can still protect your earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. If you plan to reapply any of these substances during the day, be sure to remove all your jewelry and place it out of contact reach before doing so.
You know that the sun can damage your skin and change its color with enough exposure. The same is true for many metals and gemstones used to make jewelry. Prolonged sun or light exposure can damage these materials and cause them to wear out as well as look old and uncared for.
This is especially true of amethyst, topaz, and cameo pieces. Pearls and ivory tend to bleach out when they get a lot of sun or light and amber can take on a darker hue in the same situation. Excessive heat can cause gems to crack and remove the natural moisture they need to stay in good shape.
Tarnished jewelry doesn’t only not look nice, but it can also stain your skin. When you aren’t wearing your jewelry, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry, dark place.
You love your jewelry and probably really enjoy wearing it, but there are times when it’s better to take it off so it stays looking pretty. Cleaning and gardening are two of those times. The chemicals in many cleaning products, especially bleach, can damage or ruin metals and gems.
Gold, sterling silver, and platinum can all become discolored with exposure to certain chemicals and some gemstones can also. If you don’t want to take jewelry off, wear rubber gloves.
Wearing your jewelry to do gardening can lead to bumps and dings that can scratch or chip metal and gems. Anytime you plan to do chores around the house, it’s best to remove your jewelry first.
Some people tend to wear their jewelry all the time, never removing it for anything. While this is convenient because you know you’ll never forget it, it can cause damage to the metals and gems used to make it.
In the swimming pool or hot tub, chlorine can tarnish metals and weaken gems. The addition of prolonged soaking in water can further weaken both materials. Showering or bathing with jewelry on can cause similar damage due to water exposure as well as contact with the soap, shampoo, and conditioner you use.
Keeping a tray or dish in the bathroom (away from drains and toilets so you don’t lose them) gives you an easy reminder to take it off before getting into the water. That way after you’ve applied your lotion, you can put it all back on if you want to. (Unless you’re going to bed - more on that below).
Knowing how to clean jewelry is one of the best things you can do for your favorite pieces. Learning to clean gold and clean silver means you’ll always be equipped to care for your jewelry so it always looks its best.
It’s best to use cleaning cloths and solutions specifically designed for your pieces. The wrong one can damage etchings and engravings as well as leave your metals and gems discolored.
Ultrasonic cleaning tools aren’t always a good option as they cannot be used on certain items, including pearls. The vibration of the machine can also loosen gemstones or cause them to fall out altogether. Buffing should be done with an appropriate polishing cloth or piece of flannel.
This includes rings and small earrings. Of course, larger pieces can be uncomfortable to sleep in and should be taken off, even the pieces you don’t notice while you’re sleeping should be removed prior to bedtime.
Wearing jewelry to bed can lead to damage, including bent prongs, broken chains, and loose stones. You could also lose an earring back in your sheets. In addition, the jewelry can cause skin irritation so it’s much safer for your body and your favorite pieces to take them off before you go to bed at night.
You’re tired and ready for bed so you just toss your jewelry onto your nightstand and go to sleep. That might not seem like a big deal, but it can be. Not only is jewelry best cared for when it’s in a cool, dark place when you aren’t wearing it, but improper storage can lead to damaged or broken pieces.
Experts recommend always storing your items separately in a case designed for jewelry. This limits the risk of items getting tangled up together or scratching one another. When you keep everything separate, you always know that it will be ready to wear and looking its best each time you take it out.
The key points of jewelry care are to clean it regularly, avoid contact with substances that can damage the metal or stones, take it off when doing chores, and store it carefully.
Learn more about how to buy, wear, and care for your jewelry with our essential guides.