We tend to take care of our prized electronic devices such as phones, laptops and headphones (well, try to anyway!) as we inherently understand that they can be a little fragile. Fine jewellery should be looked after with the same, if not more, care – to prolong its life, look and to help it last for generations.
As we wear our jewellery, sometimes on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget that we need to protect it from everyday ‘threats’ such as chemicals, bumps and knocks and from coming into contact with other jewellery!
Here is our handy guide to looking after your jewellery and helping it last for decades to come.
Storing your Jewellery
When you receive your jewellery, whether it’s from a special person in your life, or the result of a bit of self-gifting (wink!), be sure to keep the original box or packaging it came in, including any soft pouches and boxes.
This packaging has been specifically designed to protect your particular jewellery piece, so you should always store your jewellery in it, whether you’re storing it at home if you know you may not be wearing it for a time, and especially when you travel.
This will avoid necklaces getting tangled, and parts of the jewellery touching other parts. Metal wears away metal and scratches can soon become apparent if you’re not careful with storage.
Care while you Wear
We come into contact with many things every day that we don’t pay much mind to normally. But when you’re sporting a $20,000 rock on your ring finger, you’ll want to be prolonging the life of your jewellery, at all costs!
- Keep your jewellery away from household chemicals
The chemicals in household cleaners, and even body creams and perfumes are not friends of your jewellery. They can cause damage and discolouration to surfaces. And whatever anyone tells you, NEVER clean your jewellery with vinegar, gin or cola, as these are very acidic liquids.
Heading for a swim at the pool? Be sure to remove your jewellery before taking a dip. Even wearing your jewellery whilst taking a bath can expose it to the chemicals in soaps. Cleaning the dishes? Make sure you glove up, or take off your jewellery first.
- Avoid accidental knocks
Try not to wear your jewellery whilst at the gym or gardening to avoid knocks and scratches. Stones do not come loose unless they are knocked, which many people may not realise when carrying out normal, everyday activities. Carrying a heavy bag on the regular? Unfortunately even that can damage and misshape delicate jewellery.
- Use a safe hand sanitiser
Hand sanitiser has become much more of a feature in our lives over the past 18 months. Be aware that the same chemicals that work to rid your hands of viruses can also do some damage to the metal in your rings. When using hand sanitiser, the best option is to take any rings off before you use it, then replace them when your hands are dry. If you can’t remove your rings, be sure to use sanitiser without chlorine in it, as it can erode the finish and polish of gemstones and metals like gold and platinum.
- Carry a small soft pouch with you
A handy tip is to always keep a soft pouch in your handbag – so if you’re out and about and end up taking part in something that unexpectedly puts you in contact with chemicals or dirt, you have a fallback that will at least protect your jewellery temporarily!
Check your jewellery regularly for the following wear and tear, and contact us if you require any fixes.
- Check necklace clasps are still secure (it would be an awful feeling to lose a necklace simply because the clasp has become less secure over time!)
- Any stones which are set in rings, pendants or earrings (we strongly recommend you bring your jewellery into the studio for assessment and refurbishment every 12-18 months).
- The shine (or conversely, the matte) finish of the metals in your jewellery – if this has dulled (or become shiny, if originally matte), we can fix this up for you at the studio.
The rule of thumb should be ‘when in doubt, take it off’. Don’t risk it!
Cleaning your Jewellery at Home
In between getting your jewellery professionally cleaned, it’s a good idea to give it a regular, loving and careful clean to keep it at its best.
Silver can tarnish (turn dull or grey) over time if unworn or stored against other items of jewellery. Tarnish can be removed with a non-abrasive silver polishing cloth or liquid silver dip. Both are available from supermarkets and/or some shoe repair shops. We recommend that silver dip is only used occasionally as overuse can be detrimental to your jewellery. Full instructions for use will be given in the packaging your jewellery comes in.
To get your gemstone jewellery sparkling again (with the exception of opals, pearls and emeralds, as these are porous) leave to soak for a short time in a bowl of warm water with a mild liquid detergent and a spoonful of cloudy ammonia. Then, using a soft bristle toothbrush, gently clean over the surface and in and behind any stone settings. Avoid harder bristled brushes or new toothbrushes as these can leave scratches on the surface of the metal. Rinse the piece under running water and use a soft cloth to dry the piece. Be careful if the diamonds are in claw-settings as these may catch on certain cloths.
The golden rule with all pearl jewellery is to put it on as the final touch – after you have dressed, styled your hair and applied your make-up. Avoid wearing your jewellery when bathing, allow all creams to soak in and perfumes to dry before putting-on any pearl jewellery – this will also keep any chains, ring shanks or earring settings which feature pearls clean. When you remove your pearl jewellery, wipe it over with a lint-free cloth. This will not only lift any surface dirt, but will also gently polish the pearls.
Pearls can be cleaned using a mild detergent and water solution, and a soft cloth. Avoid chemicals or strong soapy cleaners and abrasive cloths. Allow your pearls to air dry.
Store them in a soft bag made from leather, velvet, or an equivalent. If you wear a string of pearls regularly, make sure you have them re-strung once a year; a regular 40cm single strand can cost from $70 (more for longer strands) to be re-strung. Likewise, a pearl necklace which may not have been worn for some time should be checked for any wear before being worn.
Getting a Professional Clean / Plating
You can get various professional cleans and refinishing types for many types of jewellery:
When a piece of jewellery has a matt finish you may find over a long period of time the surface starts to become polished. If this happens it’s not a problem as we are able to refinish the item for you.
A member of the platinum group, rhodium is a rare silvery-white hard metal and is one of the most expensive metals worldwide. Found in the use of jewellery, it is used as a coating on white gold (seeing there is a yellow gold content, a slight tinge of yellow shows through) Rhodium is used to make the metal look whiter and diamonds sparkle brighter. It is occasionally used on sterling silver to strengthen the metal from tarnish caused by the copper contained in silver and if a customer requests it. If you have purchased a 9ct, 14ct or 18ct white gold ring, you may wish to have it polished and re-rhodium plated annually (approximately $85 per piece). It will walk out looking like new again!
Gold plating (also called gold vermeil) is a process achieved by microns of gold being fused to the surface of the silver. Gold plating is a surface finish so it can be susceptible to wear, but if looked after correctly, signs of wear should only occur over a long period of time. Avoid wearing gold plated jewellery when swimming or bathing, and remove rings before applying hand cream as the acids in moisturisers can affect the longevity of the plating. Perfumes can also affect gold plated necklaces, so allow your perfume to dry before putting on gold plated jewellery.
(Note: gold plating is not available at Adina Jozsef.)
Matt and polished finishes
When a piece of jewellery has a matt finish – a smooth, non-shiny surface – you may find over time the surface starts to become polished. Similarly, polished rings will take on subtle surface marks with wear, and their appearance will dull slightly. If this happens, both finishes are easily achieved, we are able to refinish items for you at Adina Jozsef.
When you purchase an Adina Jozsef piece you acquire a lifetime guarantee to have your jewellery cleaned in our industrial ultrasonic (a warm liquid solution bath which ‘shakes’ trapped dirt and removes grease from the surface of jewellery). (Please note, jewellery with porous or high fractured gems, such as emeralds, pearls and opals will de done by hand)
Book an appointment – we’d love to chat about what you have in mind!