You’re driving home from the airport when you realize your wedding band is missing. What do you do?
If you have jewelry insurance, replacing it could be easy. Telling your spouse, that’s on you.
Keeping tabs on your most-valued items is of course the first step in properly caring for your jewelry. Most pieces require a bit of upkeep to look their best; this guide will help in the process.
“Good-quality jewelry is a financial and emotional investment, so regular cleaning, inspection and proper protection are important,” says Brittany Bozmoski, CMO of Diamond Nexus. Whether they’re gold, silver, ruby or emerald, here’s how to keep your favorites vibrant and safe.
The Right Storage
Everyone wants their diamonds to sparkle and their gold to shimmer. But dullness and discoloration over time could be an issue, even for quality metals and stones. Often, improper storage is part of the problem, says Bozmoski. “The key is to keep pieces protected from air and humidity, which cause them to tarnish,” she says. So as cute as that jewelry stand or ring dish may look, these locations are not always the “cool, dry place” that’s best for fine jewelry. Instead, keep your items in individual soft pouches. Bozmoski also recommends choosing a lined jewelry box with places for each piece. Be sure to keep fine jewelry and gemstones separate to maintain their integrity and prevent them from scratching metals and damaging softer items.
Dirt and oil from your hands, lotions and makeup all can build up on jewelry, causing dullness and even damage. But DIY cleaning is easy and cost-effective. While cleaning, Bozmoski recommends inspecting prongs and stones to make sure they are tight and in place. For your most-valued items, occasional professional cleaning is helpful for polishing out scratches and tightening prongs, she says. Otherwise, at-home cleaning will suffice and save you some cash.
For metals like gold, silver, platinum and rose gold, the cleaning process is fairly standard. Apply a nonabrasive jewelry cleaner to a clean soft-bristle toothbrush and scrub the piece, paying special attention to any grooves or nooks, advises Bozmoski. “You can also use mild dishwashing soap in warm water,” she says. “Soak for about 15 minutes, scrub with a soft bristle brush, rinse and pat dry with a lint-free cloth.”
The same method can be used for hard gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires, or you can try an ultrasonic cleaner.
Like their name, softer stones such as opals and pearls should be handled with care, as they could become misshapen. Best to just slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe them down. Never place them in ultrasonic clearners and “never submerge pearls in liquid—even pure water,” says Bozmoski, as the outer layer can easily weaken, as well as the silk thread holding a necklace or bracelet together.
Invest In Proper Protection
Your fine jewelry is valuable and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, maintenance and proper care won’t matter if your collection of special pieces gets damaged, lost or stolen. Even diamonds, which are known for being hard stones, could be at risk of chipping. That’s why Bozmoski says jewelry insurance is crucial, particularly when it comes to expensive items like engagement rings and watches.
To prevent theft or fire damage, consider investing in a safe with a UL burglary and/or fireproof rating. The master bedroom is one of the first known targets for burglars, so install your safe in a concealed spot that’s not quite as predictable. And, since fires often start near kitchens and fireplaces, choose a location farther away from those areas.
By Danielle Blundell