5.09.2008

Make Your Jewelry Last

handmade glass bead wire ring wire wrapped glass beadWith the proper storage and care, your jewelry can last a lifetime. And shouldn't it? When you buy quality handmade jewelry, aren't you investing in an heirloom quality piece of jewelry that you can pass down to your children? So, how can you care for your jewelry so it's as beautiful as the first day you bought it?

Storage

Where are your storing your jewelry? Humidity is the main cause of tarnish, and while tarnish can cleaned, there's a point where it's extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove it. Always store your jewelry in your jewelry box in an air-tight pouch to keep the humidity out. Also, make sure each piece of jewelry has their own air-tight pouch, so your jewelry doesn't rub against each other, potentially causing scratches or tangles. A fabric-lined jewelry pouch will also help prevent tarnish and scratches, and you can keep some anti-tarnish strips in your jewelry box which will help to absorb any moisture as well. Replace them frequently.


Harmful chemicals

Don't expose your jewelry to salt water, chlorine, bleach, household or harsh chemicals. This includes makeup, fingernail polish and remover, dish detergent and hair spray, etc. Always put your jewelry on last, after you hair and makeup are finished. This will reduce the residue that collects on your jewelry. Make sure to wipe down your jewelry after you wear it, removing any traces of these products daily will prevent any damage to your jewelry.


Cleaning your Jewelry

When cleaning your jewelry, use a jewelry cloth or soft brush. Never use tissue, cotton balls or any other substitute to clean your jewelry. The fibers in these materials can easily scratch you jewelry, especially silver, which is a very soft metal.


There are a number of jewelry cleaning solutions, however, even these specially formulated solutions can damage certain metals or stones. If it is acceptable to use these solutions for your specific piece of jewelry, do not leave it in the solution for a long period of time. This can cause a residue that is difficult to remove.


This is the same with mild soap and water, while this is recommended for most jewelry, it should NOT be used with amber, coral, emerald, jade, kunzite, lapis lazuli, pearl, opal or turquoise. Ask your jeweler what the best way is to clean your specific type of jewelry or gemstones, as it can vary.
Do not use anything abrasive to clean your jewelry such as toothpaste or baking soda.

Loose Gemstones

Check your settings regularly for loose stones and settings. If you notice a stone is loose, remove your jewelry put it in a plastic bag so you don't lose any part of your jewelry. Then bring it to your jeweler so they can repair it properly. You should also have your settings checked by your jeweler every 6 months to maintain your warranty.


Fashion in the sun

Don't wear your jewelry to the beach or to the pool. Damage can be caused from salt water, sand, chlorine, and sometimes the intense sunlight (depending on the stone.) Salt water can start to slowly erode your precious metal and the the finish on your gemstones. Sand can scratch your jewelry, and chlorine and cause discoloration. What about sunlight? Well, it's rare, but some stones can fade when exposed to sunlight or in tanning beds.


Strenuous Activities

Don't wear your jewelry during strenuous activities. Gemstones can break if hit just right, precious metal can scratch easily, and you can even loose your jewelry in water activities such as water skiing. So be careful, and leave your jewelry at home on these active days.

Don't lose your jewelry down the drain

By now you should be removing your jewelry when you are washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom, so, where do you put your jewelry? I hope it's not near the edge of the sink where it can easily be knocked down the drain. Keep a small jewelry dish or ring dish near the kitchen and bathroom sink. This will protect your jewelry from disappearing down the drain, and remind you to take your jewelry off when using household cleaners.


During the day

If you're earrings are bothering you in the afternoon, don't toss them into the bottom of your purse or put them in your pocket. Keep a small pouch in your purse so you can properly store your jewelry while it's away the jewelry box. Remember to put your jewelry back in it's place when you get home, otherwise you wont have a spare pouch for next time. Remember not to store multiple pieces in the same pouch.


Summing up

Although this seems like a lot to take in, most of these are common sense with a few tips and tricks mixed in. If you can follow these rules, your jewelry will last a lifetime. Just remember to do your research, because different gemstones and precious metal requires different jewelry care. Ask your jeweler what the best method it, and stick to it!

Shop online for quality handmade jewelry and original glass ornaments.

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