Everyone has their favorite pieces of jewelry and, of course, these are the pieces you always remove before hopping in the shower and attempt to polish with your top when you’re sitting watching TV. But do you really know how to take care of your precious accessories? Our jewelry care guide aims to give you a few pointers on how to look after your jewelry and keep it clean.
Protecting Your Jewelry
To avoid buildup of dirt and grime on your jewelry, it's always recommended to remove all items when applying beauty products, including makeup, perfume and hairspray. Perfume and hairspray can start to build up on neck, wrist and ear jewelry, while makeup and other beauty products can quickly clog up the nooks and crannies of your rings.
It’s best to remove your jewelry before jumping in the shower in the morning, then apply your usual products and put your jewelry on last. If you’re more of a bath person, never leave your jewelry on if you’re going for a long soak. The mix of bath salts, bubble bath and whatever other luxury items you treat yourself to are all abrasive on your pieces and can cause discoloration and buildup.
Cooking and cleaning can also pose a problem to jewelry when it comes to the buildup of dirt. Acids in certain foods can tarnish metals on your fingers and oil splashes could cause dirt buildup on any item. Removing your jewelry before cooking a meal or cleaning the house will avoid any dull, discolored or dirty accessories.
Cleaning Your Jewelry
Most items of jewelry can easily be cleaned at home with a solution of warm water and washing up liquid. The following steps are suitable for your white, yellow and rose gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewelry:
- Add a small amount of washing up liquid to a bowl of lukewarm water, mixing to make it soapy. Extreme temperature changes can damage the metals, so make sure it’s not too hot.
- Leave your jewelry to soak for about ten minutes. This step will soften any dirt and loosen any areas that have clogged up with grime, making the next step easier.
- Taking a soft-bristled toothbrush, or similar, begin to gently remove any dirt from the item of jewelry - paying special attention to any detailed or delicate areas that may have hidden pockets. It’s important to use soft bristles to avoid scratching the item.
- Rinse the jewelry thoroughly to remove any soapy residue, which can cause buildup.
- Finally, taking a soft, lint-free cloth, dry and buff the piece to a nice shine. A lint-free cloth will ensure there are no threads or fluffy bits left on the surface of your jewelry.
Silver jewelry will most likely need to be cleaned a little more often than gold or platinum jewelry due to its reputation for tarnishing. Jewelry is made from a variety of different metals and metal alloys in silver jewelry can react with chemicals in the air, causing a black tarnish. This does not damage the piece, but can leave a dull finish if not cleaned regularly.
Most gemstones, including diamonds, can be cleaned following the process outlined above. However, some gemstones require special attention because of their delicate nature. Pearls, coral, opal, emerald, tanzanite, turquoise, amber and peridot are all examples of gemstones that simply need a warm, damp cloth to clean them and remove any dirt. Avoid submerging these gemstones in water for a long period of time as they tend to be more porous, which will eventually make them weaker.
Storing Your Jewelry
When you’re not wearing your favorite pieces, because let’s face it, they don’t all go with that perfect outfit, you need to ensure you that they are stored properly. Having separate compartments in a jewelry box or keeping precious items in individual boxes will make sure your jewelry pieces do not scratch against each other and cause damage.
Do not leave any chains unfastened as this is one of the main causes of tangled necklaces and bracelets. And finally, try to avoid direct sunlight or any damp environments for storing your jewelry to avoid discoloration.
If the manual cleaning method is not for you and you would like to invest in a jewelry cleaning solution or wipes, you can find a great range of jewelry cleaning products online. However, take extra care with precious gemstones and never use an ultrasonic cleaner on your most valued items.