One thing that most women find irresistible and have a hard time saying no to is beautiful jewelry. And anything that pleases the eye and flatters your looks always comes at a price. No wonder jewelry is expensive!
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that they like to keep their precious ornaments as sparkling and stunning as they looked when they were brand new. However, a lot of jewelry owners are under the misconception that maintaining jewelry is an expensive affair. The truth is far from this, so you can relax!
What if we told you that you can keep your jewelry shiny and nifty without much effort? In fact, some of your kitchen ingredients can come handy in several cases when it comes to helping your baubles retain their charm.
Before you can work out the nitty-gritty of keeping your trinkets in great shape, you first need to know what kind of jewelry you’re dealing with. Not all jewelry can be cleaned in the same way; and incorrect maintenance can, in fact, ruin good jewelry. So consider the following first:
• The metal that your jewelry is made of.
• If the piece of jewelry includes gems and precious stones.
1. General Cleaning of Your Jewelry
If you want to keep your ornaments natty, you will have to take steps to keep them clean. If your jewelry is adorned with items with porous surfaces like coral, pearls, opals, and shells, you need to be extra careful when cleaning them because they absorb all detergents and chemicals. This can destroy them due to their delicate nature. It is, therefore, best to clean them with warm water and a soft cloth.
Hard gems, on the other hand, like diamonds, sapphires and rubies can be cleaned with a mild solution made by mixing equal parts of water, dish soap and ammonia. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and clean by applying gentle strokes so as to avoid damaging the jewelry.
Whether it is a simple ring or a name necklace, rinse it with care. Rinsing your jewelry with water may give rise to spots on its surface once it dries, which is why using denatured alcohol works better. It contains no oils and does not leave spots or marks when it evaporates.
2. Getting Jewelry Professionally Cleaned
You also have the option of getting your jewelry professionally cleaned. The cleaners typically use ultrasonic machines that use sound waves to create an action that cleans difficult areas of your jewelry. This is followed with high-pressure steam cleaning, which removes residue.
However, this procedure has adverse effects on gems such as emeralds, which are oiled at the time of being sold to lend them a radiant green color. However, when emeralds are subjected to the above treatments, the oil is removed and they take on a cloudy unattractive appearance.
Further, the forceful vibrations from the ultrasonic treatment can break porous surfaces, which is why no metals except copper and some silvers are safe to be subjected to it.
3. Using a Cloth
While using a soft cloth and/or a soft-bristled toothbrush can work well in cleaning jewelry, some metals demand the use of professional polishing cloths. You can use a rouge cloth, which is commonly used to polish gold. Simply put, it is a slightly coarse cloth that contains a cleaning agent that is effective in cleaning gold ornaments.
When polishing the metal with the rouge cloth, you will notice it has reacted to it (the cloth may look “dirty”). Post that, use a soft cloth to clean any remnants of the rouge cloth on the metal’s surface. Rinse with alcohol and clean with a soft cloth again, and voila, your gold is shiny again!
4. Importance of Proper Storage
Anything that is left in the open to gather dust will do so. This applies to jewelry as well, especially if it is made of sterling silver. When exposed to air, your shiny silver pieces will react with it and you will be left with tarnished ornaments. A lot of people make the mistake of leaving their silver baubles on the dressing table, in an open jewelry box or a drawer. However, this is not the correct way to store them.
The best way to store silver jewelry is to pack them individually in air-tight bags or boxes as these will keep air exposure away. This, in turn, will keep your silver looking new.
Here’s what you can do to store all kinds of jewelry safely:
a. Unfasten the jewelry pieces to prevent them from rubbing against each other, thereby avoiding friction and scratching.
b. Put individual pieces in different bags to avoid entangling, grazing and tarnishing.
c. For best results, add small pouches of silica gel in each bag for protection against tarnishing.
If traveling with jewelry, make sure to store the pieces in special sturdy cases for risk-free protection. You don’t want to come back home with your precious well-maintained jewelry ruined.
5. Caring for Jewelry on a Daily Basis
One of the best ways to keep your jewelry in great shape always is to take care of it on a daily basis.
• While you may like to keep your favorite ornaments on all the time, it is recommended that you take them off at the time of exercising, working in the garden, and even before going to bed. Your blanket can play truant and break your delicate jewelry or make the precious gems on it fall out.
• Pearls are beautiful and we don’t blame you for wanting to wear them at all times. However, in order to maintain them, it is better to take them off and hang them, rather than laying them down in your jewelry box.
• Always place your pieces of ornaments separately on a jewelry tray instead of grouping them together so that they do not touch each other in order to avoid damage to the gems and stones. This is especially applicable to diamond jewelry.
• Avoid bringing chemicals in close contact with metals and precious gems. Exposure to chemicals used in hair treatments can deteriorate the quality or entirely damage your jewelry in the long term.
• Prolonged sun exposure can sound the death knell for your precious gems, especially aquamarine. Gems tend to lose color and sheen when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.
• We know you find your diamonds irresistible and want to keep touching them, but it is best to avoid doing so as the oil from your skin can get on the diamonds and leave a print on them. The oil will further attract dirt and dust, making your diamonds lose their sparkle.
• You may love swimming, but your gold jewelry does not. It is particularly allergic to the chlorine used in pools and spas. Not only will it damage the surface of your gold jewelry, it will also make the metal brittle.
6. Look after Your Gold and Silver
Most jewelry is delicate and will not last long without proper care, which is why it is best to take preventative care of your baubles. One way of looking after your expensive gold and silver jewelry is by cleaning it at the end of the day with a soft cloth. This will help remove the accumulated oil and dust from its surface.
It also makes sense to clean your gold and silver ornaments more intensively every once in a while. It’s easy: all you need to do is make a solution of ½ cup warm water and a little liquid (mild) soap. Allow your jewelry pieces to soak in it for a couple of minutes and then rinse with clean cold water. Dry them with a soft cloth.
Sterling silver jewelry demands special attention and care. It is suggested to buy silver polish, which is easily available at most jewelry stores and supermarkets, and use it to clean your ornaments to give them the perfect shine.
7. When Not to Wear Jewelry
While it may be difficult for you to stay away from your beautiful jewelry, it is imperative that you don’t wear it at all times and take it off when necessary. As already mentioned, certain strong chemicals, sweat, oil, chlorine, and sunlight can damage your jewelry in irreparable ways. This is why it is necessary to take precautionary measures by removing it at the time of:
- Performing household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry
- Swimming, during a spa session, bathing in the hot tub
- Exercising, gymming, playing outdoor sports
- Going out in the sun, for example to the beach
- Getting hair/skin chemically treated
- Using lotion and makeup
- Performing outdoor tasks like gardening
Just like all beautiful things in the world need to be maintained to increase their longevity, your jewelry needs special care to last long too. Whether it is predominantly made of metals or gemstones, your jewelry always holds you in good stead and you need to do the same for it. Following the above mentioned care tips will help you keep your ornaments beautiful and dazzling for a long time to come.