Your jewellery doesn’t have to be dripping in diamonds to merit some TLC, so here we pass on some of our top tips to keep your pieces in stunning condition for days - or even to decades – after wearing.
First up, where and how you store jewellery is important. Hard cases will protect jewellery in storage or on the move – because it’s not just heavy luggage which can do damage, other pieces thrown into a soft jewellery bag can cause snags and tangles, or scratches on gemstones or metal plates. Our ideal? Use soft bags within tougher cases. For our own collections, we have been very mindful to source cases which are tough, but which are also made from recycled materials, making them gentle on the earth too.
But don’t lock it away forever though! The best way to conserve fine jewellery is to actually wear it. And every so often – maybe twice a year, give it a bit of a clean. Soapy water works, or you can use an ultrasonic cleaner. With silver, it’s important to avoid contact with water, perfumes and creams. This type of jewellery in particular needs the light or it oxidizes, so definitely don’t keep it in a drawer or it will lose its lustre. Pearls too, need to be worn to retain their beautiful shine, and are best treated with the natural oils of the skin.
And speaking of our skin, some people suggest taking your rings off every time you wash your hands, but we think that might be excessive – especially with the extra handwashing and sanitising we’ve been doing since Covid19 hit. [More chances to leave rings behind on a sink sideboard, the horror!] But the fact remains that both soap and hand cream residue can get stuck in the little nooks and crannies of the ring, which will end up making both the ring - and her stones - look duller. Not a great look TBF.
Sticking with water, we’d advise that you don’t shower or go into sea or chlorinated water with plated metals or porous stones such as turquoise, mother of pearl, opal and onyx. Pearls themselves are organic, so please remember to think about removing jewellery when applying lotions, oils and perfumes– pop your jewellery on after all products with oils or chemical ingredients have been applied – as they can affect the longevity of the stone as well as get into the nitty gritty of the crevices and prongs of rings or right into necklace links and fastenings.
Try also to keep jewellery away from excess humidity, which can cause the surface of the metal to tarnish. A couple of strips of anti-tarnish paper thrown into your jewellery tray, or in your travel bag if you’re travelling to a particularly humid country, can prevent unwanted discoloration of the metal, which naturally occurs with changes in climate. If your jewellery does become tarnished, a jeweller can quickly and easily re-buff or polish a ring so it looks as good as new.
If you do go into the sea or a pool, or spend time in a humid climate, then always try to make sure to clean your jewellery afterwards. A simple overnight soak in lukewarm water and some handwash (the less chemical, the better!). A soft brush and a rinse the next day should remove impurities and any general gunk. And then to dry place in a warm area (an airing cupboard works wonders!) or simply dry with a hairdryer on a low heat.
Author: Cathy Martin (@cathymartin)