Whether you only have a signet ring you wear every day, or an extensive collection with both precious finds and flea market buys, there’s nothing as important as taking good care of your jewellery to keep it sparkling for years and years.
So where do you start? And what should you do? Below, an extensive guide to giving your jewellery the best care for everlasting shine.
Cleaning: When buying gold jewellery, ask your jeweller for a good commercial cleaner. Or you can mix up your own cleaning solution using soap, water and a few drops of ammonia. Dip a soft brush into the solution; use it to remove grime (gently!) before rinsing your gold piece with lukewarm water and allowing it to dry.
However, if it’s set with any gemstones, check with your jeweller before cleaning.
Storage: Gold is quite malleable so it’s very susceptible to scratches. Therefore, you should always keep your gold jewellery in individual soft cloth or felt pouches.
Cleaning: Don’t ever try to clean silver with tissues or paper towels, as their fibres can cause scratches. There are plenty of cleaning cloths for silver jewellery on the market, but you could also clean them with a diluted soap and water solution and pat them dry with a soft cloth.
Storage: Silver tarnishes easily, so it’s important to keep it away from air or light when storing. Cover up your silver pieces within cloth or felt and store it in a cool dry place.
Cleaning: Costume jewellery may be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of them. You can use a soft polishing cloth (can be found at almost any jewellery store) to return its lustre, or soak the piece in a bowl of warm water, salt and baking soda to thoroughly clean them.
If you’re working with rhinestones or other glued on pieces, don’t soak it for too long as the adhesive might dissolve.
Storage: Keep your costume jewellery in zip lock bags to prevent tarnishing.
Cleaning: Vintage or antique jewellery or heirlooms can be quite fragile after decades of wear and tear. You need to know what material you’re working with because there are specific ways to clean each piece. There’s one rule of thumb, however: Always make sure your vintage piece is completely dry before putting them away, as moisture can cause disintegration.
Storage: You want to keep each piece of vintage jewellery separate from the other, but also want to allow the pieces to breathe. So instead of pouches, keep vintage jewellery in small drawers lined with felt.
Cleaning: After each wear, wipe down your gems gently with a soft, slightly damp cloth to remove all traces of dirt and grime (from your makeup, perfume etc) that can cause them to lose their lustre.
Also, always put on gemstone jewellery after applying your makeup, doing your hair and spraying perfume as chemicals and even salt water can erode the gem’s polish and shine.
Storage: Some gemstones are hardier than others, so never put them together to prevent one from scratching the other.
Cleaning: To clean pearls, dip a small brush (it can be a makeup or soft art brush) into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo and lightly wipe the surface.
After that, wipe it gently with a clean, moist cloth. You should also give your pearls a wipe down after each wear.
Storage: No matter how they’re cultivated, pearls are porous and thus can dry up and crack, so never store them in an excessively dry environment.
Cleaning: Diamonds may be the hardest material on earth, but they can still get smudged or soiled and thus lose its brilliance. To clean it thoroughly, soak your diamond piece in a 4:1 solution of water and ammonia for 20 minutes, rinse it in a bowl of warm water and a little dishwashing liquid before scrubbing the area between the diamond and its setting with a soft toothbrush. Leave it to dry, and now you’ve got a diamond that looks as good as new.
Storage: Diamonds are quite hardy, but to prevent your other jewellery pieces from getting damaged, you should always keep your diamond jewellery separate.
Pro tip: If you’ve got a really expensive piece, invest in a safe and get your jewellery insured. Hey, better safe than sorry.
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