The Best Ways to Maintain Fine Jewelry
Whether you’ve just scored your dream piece of jewelry or have already amassed quite the collection, chances are you’re wondering how you can best care for your jewels and baubles to keep them in tip top shape at all times. But how you care for your diamonds is different from how you care for your gold, certain stones have specific rules, silver can tarnish — it can be dizzying keeping up, and yet fine jewelry deserves the utmost care and attention.
If you’re lucky enough to own fine jewelry, chances are your pieces are very important and special to you. Maybe they are heirlooms, or mark significant life events. Maybe their sparkle just makes you smile, or they were gifts from someone you cherish. Regardless, you want to make sure they’re in it for the long haul.
So, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to caring for and maintaining fine jewelry — everything from daily cleaning and maintenance to the dos and don’ts, and when you might want to seek help from a professional jeweler, too. So get ready to get your diamonds sparkling, tackle tarnishing silver, restore luster to your gold and make sure everything in your jewelry box is in tip-top shape.
What You Need To Care For Fine Jewelry At Home
When it comes to caring for fine jewelry at home, first things first — make sure you have the right tools for the job. More often than not this includes a trusted jewelry cleaner and soft polishing cloth, but similar to clothing, each jewelry piece generally comes with its own unique care instructions. So before trying anything, and we mean anything, make sure you’ve gotten guidance from the pros on exactly how to clean and polish your individual pieces.
Solution or Cleanser
Some people swear by cleaning their diamond rings with toothpaste and a toothbrush, while others say Dawn dish soap or even Windex is the way to go. Eek — we advise ignoring their helpful recommendations and going straight to the source, your jeweler or retailer — for what they recommend.
Generally speaking, you can;t go wrong with a mild cleaning solution at home that is free from harsh chemicals that can cause damage and more harm than good. Look for a cleanser that is phosphate-free and deemed safe for all metals and stones.
Gently wiping down your jewelry after wear is a great way to keep your jewelry in great shape, especially if you’ve sweat, used lotions, or had other exposures that could cause build up). Almost all jewelry can benefit from a rub down with a soft, gentle cloth. Find one that is lint-free and super soft, and try to make gentle wipes a nightly habit to maintain brilliance, cleanliness and shine.
Do You Need a High-Tech Device?
Ultrasonic devices are equal parts awesome and intimidating but they aren’t always the right tool for the job. Beware of marketing that oversimplifies electronic jewelry cleaners and keep in mind that certain precious gemstones like opals and emeralds can be damaged by the intense, ultrasonic vibrations. Basically what we’re saying is when in doubt —ask first, or don’t do it at all.
Understanding Your Jewelry
Knowing the intricacies of your pieces is really important when it comes to maintaining them at home which is why you should always ask the retailer or jeweler if there is anything unique you need to know about the stones, metals, or settings.
For example, does gold scratch more easily than platinum? Do certain settings require extra care to ensure they stay secure? Can your silver tarnish if it’s stored the wrong way and if so, how can you remedy that? Learning a bit about your pieces can help you to ensure your pieces stay in tip-top shape.
Store Your Fine Jewelry The Right Way
Keep Them Separate
To avoid tangles and knots, store your jewelry in their respective pouches, boxes, or in a jewelry box with designated compartments. The jewelry box should have a soft base and secure closures.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Keeping your jewelry out of direct sunlight (when storing it) can help to maintain its luster, keep it from tarnishing and prevent it from getting too hot, too. You’d be surprised how some metals can have a negative reaction to prolonged sun exposure.
Keep them Safe and Secure
Perhaps the most important step in caring for and maintaining your fine jewelry is keeping it safe and secure. When they aren’t being worn, your most precious pieces should have a designated spot that they “rest” until their next use. For your most cherished pieces, this might be a safe or even a safety deposit box at a local bank for extra security. Wherever you decide, you want to feel good about where your pieces are kept.
Check In On Them
Sometimes we are all guilty of “out of sight, out of mind” so try to make it a point to check in on your pieces from time to time. This will give you peace of mind and hey — who doesn’t love an excuse to take inventory of all their favorite jewels?
Stay On Top of Professional Maintenance
Set a schedule for professional maintenance, including inspections and cleanings. This proactive approach ensures that your jewelry receives the care it deserves, preventing avoidable issues.
Some jewelers recommend getting prongs and clasps or closures checked annually, or even every six months. White gold might need to be redipped each year, or maybe a bit longer depending on how often it is worn. Staying on top of polishing and cleaning is important, too. Some insurance policies even require maintenance records depending on the piece — so make sure you check all the boxes. (Plus, there’s nothing quite like a professionally polished and cleaned piece shining in all its glory, is there?)
Always, Always Get Insurance
As soon as you add a new piece to your fine jewelry collection, get it insured as soon as possible. You can add it to your existing homeowners or renters policy or take out its own policy depending on the value and appraisal. You’ll need a receipt and paperwork from the jeweler or seller but whatever steps you have to take to get it insured, it’s important to do it. This will financially protect you in the case it is ever lost, damaged or stolen.
While not a direct care tip, having proper insurance for your fine jewelry is a proactive measure. In the unfortunate event of loss, theft, or damage, insurance provides financial protection, allowing you to repair or replace your cherished pieces.
Now, you can shop for fine jewelry knowing you’re equipped to care for and maintain your pieces for years to come.