Caring for Fine Jewelry
Help your jewelry last a lifetime and beyond with these simple steps.
All jewelry will benefit from these basic steps:
- Store your jewelry securely in a fabric lined box. It's important to make sure the pieces are not touching each other and will not rub against each other if the box is disturbed. Since some metals are stronger than others and some stones are harder than others, they are able to scratch each other.
- Remove all jewelry when bathing or swimming. Shampoos and other body products can build up on jewelry, clouding stones and damaging the luster of metals. Additionally, hot water can cause discoloration and damage to some metals, particularly sterling silver.
- Fine jewelry should not be worn when performing strenuous tasks. Perspiration and cleaning products can cause damage to your jewelry. Chances of knocking rings and bracelets against surfaces are increased during such tasks, so they should always be removed.
- Periodically inspect your jewelry for scratches and other damage and promptly bring it in for repair. Refrain from cleaning damaged jewelry, as this can further the damage in some cases.
Gold is lasting and durable but will get scratched or dented when treated roughly. Follow these steps to maintain the luster of your gold jewelry:
- Gold's worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure can weaken gold's structure, eventually leading to breakage. Keep your gold jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products (such as bleach) and out of swimming pools and jacuzzis.
- Clean your gold jewelry with a solution of sudsy lukewarm water, or let our jeweler steam-clean it.
- Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after washing.
Pearls are durable, yet soft and chemically vulnerable. Follow these steps to protect your pearls:
- Pearls should never be taken into the shower or swimming pool. Water is rough on the nylon/silk string the pearls are strung on and chemicals in the pool water may damage the pearls.
- Pearls should be removed before doing any hard work. Perspiration and household cleansers are not good for pearls.
- Make-up, hairspray, and perfume should be put on before putting on pearls. Potentially destructive acids are present in cosmetics.
- Steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are not recommended for pearls.
- Use a commercial pearl-cleaning solution, if possible. Do not use regular jewelry cleaning solution. It generally contains ammonia, which is not good for pearls.
- Pearls should be wiped regularly with a soft damp cloth. If thorough cleaning is necessary, use mild soap in warm water. Scrub gently with a soft bristled brush. A nylon toothbrush is too hard and may scratch the pearls. After cleaning, do not wear until the string is completely dry.
- Pearls should be restrung every 6 to 12 months if worn frequently. It is very important that knots be tied in between each pearl when stringing. The knots prevent the pearls from rubbing against each other and damaging the luster. If your string ever breaks, the knots can help keep all the pearls from falling off as well.
There are special products available to help you keep your sterling silver looking as good as new.
- Sterling silver should be regularly polished with a silver cloth or silver polishing compounds in order to remove oxidation from the jewelry, which can cause it to discolor. You can purchase these products for use at home or simply bring your jewelry in for professional cleaning on a regular basis.
- Storing sterling silver in an air-tight container is one of the best ways to prevent oxidation from tarnishing your jewelry.
Most watches are made from stainless steel, which is very resistant to rusting and other water damage. However, the inside pieces of the watch are generally not so resistant and must be properly protected.
- Unless your watch is specifically rated as "waterproof," you should always remove it before swimming or showering. Watches rated as "water-resistant" can only withstand splashes of water (i.e., from washing your hands, rain, etc). Even "waterproof" watches have their limits; be sure to check the depth measurement provided by the manufacturer. In order to maintain the water resistance of your watch, have the caseback, gaskets and crown checked annually.
- The crown is the most crucial part of a watch's water-resistance. If your watch is rated "waterproof," never pull out or operate the crown while it is submerged. Before submerging, check to make sure the crown is pushed in all the way or screwed down tightly.
- Depending on metal type and plating, watches can be polished and/or replated as needed. For basic cleaning, it is always best to remove the band from the watch first, even if your watch is water-resistant. Since this often requires specific tools, cleanings are best performed by professional jewelers. However, a soft toothbrush and soapy water can be used to loosen dirt on a metal or rubber watch and wiped clean with a soft cloth. *Be sure the crown is pushed in/screwed down all the way before cleaning with water.* For leather bands, clean with a soft cloth only, as water can damage the material.
- If your watch runs on a battery, it is recommended to change it every year to prevent any leakage. If a battery begins to deteriorate, it can permanently damage the movement.
- If your watch is an automatic, it is recommended to have the movement serviced every 5 years. If you do not wear it often, be sure to periodically wind the mechanism to ensure the gears are oiled.