How should I care for my jewellery?
Jewellery is one of the most personal investments that can be made, both by you and for you. Whether it’s a heritage piece handed down through the family, a growing collection of bracelets, earrings and necklaces, or your engagement ring, taking care of it in the right way will ensure it always stays looking it’s best.
But what are the key dos and don’ts when it comes to jewellery care?
Why it needs cleaning
Any items in your collection that are made of sterling silver will tarnish over time due to oxidisation, minimising their shine and leaving them looking marked and dull. But it’s not just silver. All jewellery picks up some elements of grime when in use, be it from the natural oils in your skin and hands or general dust and dirt.
- Gently wipe off any excess make-up and skin oils after each use with a 100% cotton cloth and store in a soft cloth bag or lined jewellery box.
- If using a box, try to give each piece as much space as possible as metals and gemstones that contact each other can cause scratches and scuffs.
- If you keep all of your jewellery in one box, try to keep each individual piece in it’s own pouch or plastic bag.
- To remove light grease, dirt, oils, perfumes and fingerprints use a soft bristle brush with a small amount of hand soap or washing up liquid in warm water. Rinse thoroughly with clean warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Avoid using paper, polyester and coarse fabrics to clean your jewellery as fabrics can scratch the surface of your pieces.
- Avoid using chemical cleaners such as bleach, alcohol and acetone, as well as any petroleum-based products as these can cause damage to pearls and amber stones to ‘melt’.
- Some sites recommend using toothpaste as a cleaner – don’t – the abrasives in toothpaste can damage the surface of metal and soft stones.
Diamonds are forever
Like any other stone, diamonds get soiled and dusty, especially when they come into contact with lotions, powders and natural oils from your skin. But by following these simple cleaning methods on a regular basis you’ll be able to maximise their long-term brilliance.
- Create a detergent bath using a small bowl of warm water and soapsuds. Brush your jewellery gently with a soft brush to create a lather and rinse with clean, warm water. Pat dry with a soft cotton cloth.
- A cold-water soak is also a good alternative. Use 4 parts water to 1 part soap and soak the pieces for a few minutes before removing, lightly brushing, rinsing and drying.
- It’s perfectly fine to use a brand-name jewellery cleaner too. Read the label carefully and follow the instructions, taking care not to touch the diamonds with your fingers.
- If you’re looking for more of a professional clean you can now get hold of ultrasonic cleaners for the home at relatively inexpensive prices between £40-50. These small machines use high frequency turbulence to disperse the dirt from your jewellery when items are placed in a small cup of water. Again, it goes without saying that if you do use one of these you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
To wear or not to wear?
There might be some pieces in your jewellery collection that, due to their value or delicacy, call for extra care when you’re wearing them:
- Keep your jewellery just as beautiful as your garden by wearing gloves when weeding.
- Be careful when doing chores whilst wearing your finest. Exposure to different chemicals and materials can leave them discoloured and scratched.
- When storing jewellery, keep pieces away from direct sources of heat and natural sunlight, which can warp certain metals and lead to discolouration.
When it comes to high-value pieces in your jewellery collection, then making sure you get adequate cover in the event of damage or loss is a must. If you’re unsure of the value of your jewellery and therefore how much it should be covered for, NFU Mutual advisers can offer access to our expert panel of valuation companies who can help. With particularly expensive pieces we always recommend keeping a file of receipts and appraisals alongside photographs to help you should you ever need to make a claim. And it’s also worth investing in a solid safe or safety deposit box to store the most valuable items in or away from your home.
Although most of the tips for storing and cleaning your jewellery that we’ve shared here are simple, following them should ensure that the value and beauty of your collection is preserved for years to come.