The Essential Basics
- Expensive Fine Jewelry should be properly valued for insurance purposes and kept in good repair. Dirt buildup hastens wear. While we recommend 6-month checkups for valuable fine jewelry – at least annually – professional cleanings and routine inspections by a jeweler to check for broken or worn metal work, faulty clasps, and damaged gemstones, can help assure that your jewelry is maintained in wearable condition.
- Follow the designer's, manufacturer's or seller's cleaning instructions that come with particular jewelry pieces. In lieu, check the designer’s, manufacturer’s or seller's website for cleaning information or contact the place of purchase. In absence of specific cleaning instructions, most jewelry containing precious metals and gemstones, can be safely cleaned at home with a soft, clean microfiber cleaning cloth after each wear, to remove fingerprints, oils, dirt and residues. If a more thorough cleaning is necessary, most metals and gemstones, other than Ethiopian Opals (see below), can be cleaned in warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush (do not use toothbrush on pearls or other organic or soft gems), followed by thorough cool rinse and microfiber dry and air dry. Keep in mind that strung jewelry can be delicate so use caution and clean very gently. Pearls, other organic gems, and soft or porous gems like opals require special care with respect to home and professional cleaning. More detailed information on strung jewelry and pearls is provided in later sections.
- Store jewelry in separate soft compartments. Cluttered jewelry can become scratched (even diamonds), tangled, mangled, or broken.
- Store jewelry away from sunlight and heat. Some gemstones (such as amethyst) are prone to fading or other damage in sunlight or high heat.
- Keep jewelry secure. Do not place in a pocket, on a counter, in a public area, or near a sink, drain, grate or vent.
- Protect jewelry from theft. Most burglaries happen in broad daylight. Keep doors and windows locked, and store jewelry in an unlikely place. Visible jewelry boxes are obvious to thieves. Valuable or extensive jewelry collections should be secured in a burglary and fire-resistant safe. Keep valuable jewelry at home when traveling, or store in hotel safe (not a room safe).
- Do not wear fine jewelry to the beach. Sand can scratch soft stones, gemstones, other adornments, and precious metals. Sand can also cause strung designer jewelry to break if it seeps into intricate areas and eventually wears out securing metal or stringing materials such as silk. Also, salt water can damage some metals, stones and other jewelry components.
- Do not wear jewelry in pools. Chlorine can damage precious metals (including gold) and some gemstones.
- It is best not to wear jewelry during sleep, bathing, showering, housecleaning or exercise. Activities prone to banging jewelry can damage metal and stones. Even diamonds can break, chip or scratch. Delicate and more fragile jewelry should not be worn worn everyday and especially not during activities that can put stress on the piece. If you bump or snag jewelry, it is advisable to have it checked for damage that you might not notice.
- Be extra mindful of rings. Fingers constrict in cool water and rings can fall off and get lost, so do not wear rings while swimming. When washing hands, do not place rings near a sink or drain. Keep a ring stand in every bathroom and in the kitchen to hold rings when taken off to wash hands, prep or cook food, do dishes and other cleaning chores around the house. Do not take rings off when outside the house; keep rings on when washing hands in a public restroom where there is a greater risk of accident, loss and theft.