Your jewellery is some of the most important, sentimental, meaningful (and expensive) items you own. So, of course, you want to treasure your beautiful jewellery for a lifetime. Did you know some simple jewellery care tips can give your precious pieces more life? Let’s look at the 7 most common mistakes that can ruin your jewellery that you might not even know about.
1. WEARING DOWN OF CLAWS
Wear and tear can happen to the best of us, and jewellery is no exception!
This seems logical, but surprisingly, many people pick up their brand-new jewellery and never bring it back for a maintenance check. You wouldn’t buy a new car and not service it regularly, and your precious diamond ring is another important purchase that requires regular upkeep. Over time your claws wear down and become thin, and you won’t even notice if a claw has become loose until something goes wrong, like your diamond falling out.
#Pro Tip: The general rule of thumb is to get a maintenance check done is every 12 months. But some pieces will need more regular inspections, for example delicate fine jewellery or older well-loved pieces are better attended to on a 6 month schedule. If in doubt, pop by our studio for a free maintenance assessment. It only takes about ten minutes and will save you heartache in the long run.
There are many reputable jewellers in Australia who can assess your jewellery, which can help extend your piece’s life by catching small issues before they become big ones. Remember, it is much more cost-effective to tighten loose claws or re-tip worn-down claws than to replace your missing diamond.
Check out our jewellery services to know more about care & maintenance.
2. DULL DIAMONDS AND TARNISHED METAL
If you wear your jewellery day in and out, what lurks behind your settings and hidden places that sit against your skin may surprise you. As you go about your daily activities, little molecules of dirt, lotions, hand sanitisers, oils in your skin and much more get trapped in and around your jewellery. This leads to diamonds that no longer sparkle and dirty looking gold. Worse still, as this hardens and solidifies over time, it can damage your jewellery and possibly push your diamonds out of their settings.
#Pro Tip: Getting a professional clean performed by a jeweller can revive your diamonds and make your precious pieces shine like new again. As we mentioned above, it is also the perfect time to get a maintenance assessment. Who doesn’t love multitasking? You have your jewellery looking shiny and new again while ensuring everything is safe – winning!
If you are in Adelaide and around, visit Bell & Brunt Jewellery Studio at 14 James Place for a clean and polish, and a free maintenance check. Visit our consultation page to book an appointment
3. BAD DIY JEWELLERY CLEANING AT HOME
Even if you get your jewellery cleaned by a professional, you can still clean it regularly at home in-between visits. This should be on your fortnightly task list for those everyday wear pieces that spend all day collecting grime in places you can’t see. But be careful – there is a right way and many wrong ways to clean your jewellery at home.
#Pro Tip: Never use toothpaste on your jewellery. This old-school technique actually damages your gold as toothpaste is abrasive. It leaves tiny scratches on gemstones and will prematurely wear down your gold over time. Toothpaste also hardens like cement under the diamonds and is very difficult to remove.
Ditto for using baking soda as a thick paste; this is also abrasive. Never use acids like lemon juice or alcohol, either. These will eat away at your softer gemstones like opal, pearl, and emeralds.
Basically, the most stringent chemical you should use on your jewellery is plain old dishwashing liquid and warm water. For easier do-it-yourself cleaning tips, check out our blog “how to clean your jewellery at home: our expert advice.”
4. WEARING YOUR JEWELLERY IN THE SHOWER OR POOL
Your diamond ring can handle a quick dip every so often; after all, diamond is the strongest substance known to man, but your gold doesn’t like it as much. Harsh chlorine and salt water can weaken and tarnish your metal. Also, the shampoo, conditioner and soap residue when you shower gets trapped around your settings which is bad news for your gemstones.
#Pro Tip: It’s always best to take off your ring or chain before you dunk in for a swim or dash into your daily shower.
5. UNEVEN WEAR AND TEAR
We see this on the daily – engagement rings and wedding bands nestled together for years will rub against each other and wear that point of contact side down flat.
#Pro Tip: Switch it up and turn your rings around to the other side every so often. This will stop them from wearing down unevenly.
6. WEARING DIFFERENT METALS TOGETHER
As we just mentioned, metal that is worn together will wear each other down over time through friction and movement. This is especially true of different metal types and different carats of gold. 9ct and 18ct gold have different hardnesses and, if worn together, will wear down faster. The same goes with platinum and gold – this is a big no-no if you want your jewellery to last.
#Pro Tip: Keep your look like-for-like: if you have an 18ct gold pendant, make sure you match it with an 18ct gold chain. And never wear a platinum ring next to a gold one!
7. TANGLED CHAINS AND NECKLACES
Have you reached into the depths of your jewellery box just to pull out a clump of tangled chains? This is a common mistake and one that is an easy fix. Simply do up your clasps when you remove your necklaces or bracelets before you pop them away. This helps prevent them from snaking around each other and becoming knotted. If you’re an organising extraordinaire, take it one step further and drop your necklace through a drinking straw before doing up the clasp. This is a surefire way to definitely protect your delicate chains.
#Pro Tip: Got knots? Never fear – if you have patience and two safety pins, all is not lost. Place your necklace flat on a surface and gently tease apart the knotted links with the end of the pins. Don’t try this while holding the chain, as gravity will pull the knot tight again as you try to gently pull it out.
Bonus: Gemmologist Pro Tip
Choose your gemstones wisely. They are not all created equal. Diamonds can withstand the daily grind, but softer gems like pearls, opals, emeralds, natural zircon and included rubies or sapphires will damage more easily. It’s best to chat with a qualified jeweller or gemmologist for design ideas to keep those gentle gemstones safe.
These simple tips to fix the most common mistakes will ensure your beloved jewellery lasts longer. And the good news is that jewellery maintenance, like re-tipping settings or fixing broken clasps, is less expensive than most people realise. Also a lot less costly than replacing lost jewellery. So my jewellery-loving friends, why not open your jewellery box and ask any questions you may have in the comment section!
If you need a jewellery assessment, walk in to our jewellery store anytime or book a consultation with me by clicking the link below: