words Alexa Wang
There are few things more dear to us than our favourite jewellery. Whether it’s a dazzling engagement ring, a necklace handed down from a relative, or a bracelet you wore for your school prom, it can hold enormous sentimental value. It can also be a great investment – a treasure that increases in value as the years pass.
However, it’s easy to let the jewel’s sparkle fade over time unless we take great care of it. Here are five tips to keeping your most precious pieces as gorgeous as the day they were made.
1. Store Jewellery separately
Ideally you want to keep each gem in its own soft-lined compartment. This way they won’t rub against each other and scratch. They’ll then need to be kept somewhere dry and away from extremes of temperature. Wrapping in cotton or tissue will keep dust and moisture away, while silica gel packs will also draw moisture away from your most precious stones.
2. Wear with care
Essentially, take your jewellery off before doing something that poses any risk of knocking or scratching it. This includes when you go to bed, as you could damage it when you move in the night. Gems should also be removed if putting lotions and perfumes on, as they can be ruined by the acids in these.
3. Beware of contamination
Make sure jewellery is removed before you start cooking or cleaning. Many chemicals can tarnish your jewellery, while the likes of soap, cooking oil and even water can make it dull and lose its colour. In particular, don’t get it anywhere near chlorine. If it does come into contact with chlorine or another harmful chemical then make sure you clean it in water straight away.
4. Clean it gently
The likes of gold and platinum can be cleaned using washing-up liquid and lukewarm water. You can normally just soak the jewellery for a few minutes, then clean with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any dirt that might have built up (being particularly careful around the stone). You can then leave it to dry on a cloth.
Silver is different, however, as this tarnishes over time due to the oxygen and sulphur in the air, which can even make it go black. To clean silver you can use warm water, washing-up liquid and a toothbrush, but you’ll have more success with a cleaning solution especially created to clean silver. Cleaning cloths should also have anti-tarnishing agents in them.
5. Use a professional jewellery cleaning service
Home cleaning will get your jewellery sparkling again, but in order to remove deeply-imbedded dirt and make your jewel look its absolute best, you’ll need to take it to a jeweller once or twice a year.
Although some care is needed, it’s usually fairly easy to return your jewels to their former glory. It’s satisfying work too, especially when after a few minutes you can see the difference. And the effort is a small price to pay for the lifetime of enjoyment you’ll glean from your favourite gems.