Vintage jewellery box featuring rings and earrings


Protecting your jewellery from damage or loss

Jewellery and watches can have huge sentimental, as well as financial value

Whether it’s your wedding ring, pearls inherited from your grandmother, or a prized timepiece, they’re worth taking care of.  Jewellery and watches are easily damaged because they are often intricate, hand-made, well-worn and expected to last for decades.

Everyone knows that the best way to protect valuables is to leave them locked away. But, for most people, the real joy of a piece of jewellery is being able to wear it. In which case, there are at least some steps you can take to help preserve your most precious items.

Wear gloves when doing jobs around your home

Cleaning using strong chemicals could discolour your jewellery, and gardening and DIY using abrasive materials  could scratch it.

Take particular care on holiday

  • Take jewellery off before heading to the beach, as sand can damage softer gemstones and wear-off finishes like gold or rhodium plating, or become embedded in items; or before swimming, as your ring can slip off in cold water, or get damaged and discoloured due to high levels of salt and chlorine.  
  • If you have a water-resistant watch, double-check the crown is pushed all the way in before diving in.

Store it in the right place

  • Keep pieces away from direct sources of heat and natural sunlight, which can warp certain metals and lead to discolouration. In particular, avoid exposing your watch to temperatures below 0 degrees and above 60 degrees Celsius (think saunas or direct and prolonged sunlight). The temperature shock can damage your timepiece. 
  • Consider investing in a safe (or using a safe when on holiday) – not just for the added security they offer, but to help minimise the risk of items being misplaced and keep them away from extreme temperatures and sunlight.
  • For high value items only worn occasionally, consider storing them in a safety deposit box at your bank.

Maintain it

  • Clean items regularly – either professionally or yourself, as long as you follow expert advice.
  • Have them inspected for problems regularly, and then repaired when required.

Keep records

Photograph items and keep authenticity documentation separately – this might be the original purchase receipt, valuation, certificate of authenticity or an original box or guarantees.

Insure it properly

Check your insurance policy to find out the maximum limit you can claim for an individual piece of jewellery or watch – if you have items which exceed this limit you will need to review your policy to ensure they are adequately covered. Consider personal belongings insurance for contents away from the home, including jewellery and watches.

Revisit valuations every two to three years

Many people do not reassess the value of their contents for decades, forgetting that the prices of precious metals like gold and silver can appreciate steeply.