It is a common misconception that fine jewelry will last forever without any kind of care or maintenance routine. When it comes to luxury goods, specific maintenance is always a requirement to uphold the quality and integrity of the item. Luxury purses, shoes and cars are all examples of this. Even a nice car requires upkeep specific to it’s make and model. In the same way that your car needs an oil change, your gold & diamonds need prong checks and cleaning. This is an investment - and your cleaning routine goes a long way in preserving the timeless condition of the original piece.
Let’s get down to the facts.
- Diamonds are the strongest material on the planet. That is a fact. While they can last generations upon generations, there are two things that you must be careful of. Diamonds are cut with specific facets and have a girdle that can be considered fragile when hit directly perpendicular. The fact is that your diamond could chip if it is hit in the exact right spot. When diamonds are set the metal is what protects these spots. So it is very important to make sure the metal around your diamonds is strong and to get the metal checked and diamonds cleaned about once a year.
- Metal will last, but it wears overtime due to the elements and the wearer. Gold and platinum engagement ring prongs both will need to be “re-tipped” sometime in your life if you want to protect that precious diamond and pass it down as a family heirloom one day.
While it’s tempting to wear your pieces non-stop and even more tempting to brag about the fact that you “neverrrrrr take off your jewelry!” hopefully we are not the first to warn you that this is never a good idea if you want the jewelry to last. Here are some tips that will help you keep your pieces shining. While it is a little extra work, think of it as a reward because your pieces will look so much better when they are being treated with a little tender love and care.
- Remove pieces before showering, swimming, cleaning, gardening or sweating. We don’t recommend wearing your jewels in any kind of chorine or hot tub setting as this can eat away at metal.
- Do NOT wear your bridal jewelry while lifting weights or rock climbing. This may seem like an obvious one considering the first tip, but we have had many an issue with jewelry that was worn during these activities.
- Keep your jewelry away from chemicals including perfume, cosmetics, lotions, hair spray and oils.
- Before bedtime lay your jewelry out flat.
- Always check your clasps and prongs before wear to make sure they are intact to avoid loss. We offer FREE prong checks and cleanings on all jewelry in our storefront and the reason is because we want to help you uphold the integrity of the piece. **Engagement ring prongs should be checked and professionally cleaned a minimum of once a year. Wedding bands should be checked (depending on the prong type) about once a year as well or anytime you feel like you need a check.
- Store your jewelry separately to avoid scratches. Place your pieces in a pouch or air tight plastic bag (especially sterling silver and gold vermeil to prevent oxidation and tarnishing). To avoid tangling your necklaces and bracelets, close the plastic bag over the end of the chain and let the end dangle out slightly.
Cleaning your jewelry at home is also a good idea. For 10k, 14k and 18k gold and silver, combine a few drops of mild dishwashing soap with warm water. Let your pieces soak in this mixture for about 15 minutes. If you want to get into fine areas of your piece, gently take a soft bristle toothbrush to it, rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
For precious gemstones, make sure you know what you have. Emeralds, Opals and Pearls are softer than other gemstones. See below for the specifics.
Emeralds - The inclusions that make emeralds beautiful also make them fragile. Keep away from high impact & extreme temperatures. Clean with lukewarm water, mild soap and a toothbrush. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or jewelry cleaner on these pieces.
Opals - Opals are brittle - often compared to glass. To avoid cracking, do not wear near diamond rings & do not expose to rapid changes in temperature.
Pearls - Last thing on, first thing off to avoid perfumes/cosmetics that can damage a pearl’s natural luster & keep from scratching or catching on your clothing.