Basic Jewelry Care
Fine jewelry is a precious possession that is designed and crafted to last a lifetime. However, proper care is required to assure the lasting qualities of your jewelry. Below are some simple, basic guidelines for the care and cleaning of your fine jewelry:
- Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place.
- Keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers. If you prefer to use ordinary boxes, wrap each piece individually in soft tissue paper.
- Don’t jumble your jewelry pieces in a drawer or jewelry case. Pieces can scratch each other.
- Be careful when removing your jewelry to wash your hands. Do not leave your jewelry on the rim of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.
- See your jeweler at least once a year to have your jewelry checked for loose prongs, worn mountings, and general wear and tear. Visit your jeweler every six months to have your jewelry professionally cleaned.
- Remove all jewelry before going into a hot tub or swimming pool. The chlorine can damage and discolor metals such as gold and platinum and can slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones. Remove all jewelry before entering salt water as it can have the same effect as chlorine on your fine jewelry.
- Remove all jewelry before showering, cleaning, applying lotions, and sunscreen. These products cause a film to form on your jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy
- Remove all jewelry before styling hair with gels or hairspray as this can also cause a film to form on your jewelry
- Remove all jewelry before handling Bleach, Chlorine (Swimming Pool, Granules) Iodine,
This is a Gold ring that has been affected from exposure to chlorine. Chlorine causes a chemical reaction to take place between the chlorine and the alloy metals in gold jewelry and certain jewelry items actually disintegrate over time. If a ring is cleaned with chlorine bleach, the ring may turn black and develop small hairline cracks, even a few hours later. Research has shown that when a 14k white gold ring is placed in common household chlorine bleach for 36 hours, the end result was complete disintegration.
When prongs are damaged, there is a risk of losing your stones. Prongs can be bent, worn, broken, and cracked. Bent prongs are caused from the prong being pried from its place through snagging. In severe cases, prongs can be broken off. When this happens, it is best to seek out a jeweler right away. Prongs can also become worn over time from every day wear. Below, we have included pictures of damaged prongs.
Before and after picture of a ring that has worn, damaged prongs that have been re-tipped.
Here are a few ways to prevent your prongs from damage:
- Remove all jewelry before handling chemicals such as Chlorine, Bleach, and Iodine (Chemical damage causes cracking and can weaken prongs that will be prone to breakage)
- Remove all jewelry before you go to bed at night (Friction caused from sheets wear prongs quickly) Remember to check your jewelry frequently. Catching this state of your jewelry early on prevents the loss of your gemstones. With the proper care and precautions, you can extend the longevity of your precious heirlooms.
Worn shanks can cause several problems for you. When a jeweler says shank, they mean the band of your ring located at the bottom. If your rings shank is too thin, it can cause your ring to bend, break, and crack. Rings that have become bent, depending on the thickness of the shank, can be rounded out without any soldering required. However, if there is a crack in the shank, you will need to have the shank soldered. If the right amount of pressure is applied, your rings can also break at weak points in the ring. These weak areas are usually from the shank being too thin. Below, we will explain some ways for you to avoid these scenarios with your jewelry.
Ring with broken and cracked shank
Below is a picture of a ring that has a worn shank. This occurs over time from every day wear. Fortunately this is something that can be repaired! You can have your rings back to the condition they were when you purchased them by having the shanks rebuilt. In this process, we remove the worn piece and replace it with an entirely new piece.
Ring that has been rebuilt
Here are some tips to prevent your jewelry from cracking, breaking, and becoming too thin:
- Remove jewelry before lifting heavy objects such as weights, bars, and boxes (The pressure from these activities can cause your rings to bend and crack)
- Activities such as Baseball and Golfing can cause your rings to bend due to gripping bats and clubs firmly
- If your ring is not the proper size and is too large for you, it is more susceptible to wear (The ring’s shank sticks out further than a ring that fits comfortably so it is more exposed and prone to wear)
- When purchasing jewelry, make sure that it is purchased in the proper size (Over sizing rings can cause tension on your shanks leading to other problems that can become quite extensive)
- Bring your jewelry to your jeweler at least once every two years so they can inspect your ring for wear
Proper Ring Sizing
Having your rings sized to the proper size can prevent problems down the road. To find the correct size that you need, visit your local jeweler and they will be able to size your finger properly. If you currently have a ring that you think might not be the right size for you, there are some ways to check yourself. Your ring should be comfortable on your hand so that it slides on with a little resistance and will not come off your hand if you sling it. If someone else is able to take your ring off of your hand with ease, it is too large! Your ring is too small if it is cutting off your circulation or is too difficult to get off your finger.
Removing Rings that are too tight The picture above shows a ladies finger that has been affected by a ring that is too small. It is dangerous to have a ring that cuts off your circulation. If you notice your finger starting to turn from red to purple or blue, this is a sign that your ring is too tight! This can lead to emergency situations if not taken care of early on. As soon as you notice this, you can go to your local jeweler and have the ring removed. If done properly, your ring will not receive damage that is beyond repair. After all, it is your health that should come first before your jewelry! Arthritic Options Do you have arthritis? Do not fear! Your rings can be adjusted to the proper size needed without hurting your knuckles. The options that you have available are the Adjustable Shank (otherwise known as the Arthritic Shank), Sizing Beads, and Ring Guards. The expenses between the three are notable. The most inexpensive way is to have a ring guard installed. Ring guards can be installed and removed with ease. (Note: Ring guards can cause scratching on your rings due to the guards being metal, but can be polished out) Sizing beads are simply balls of metal that are placed in the corners of the shank. Depending on what size you need and what metal you have, the prices vary. The other option you have is the Arthritic Shank. The Arthritic Shank is installed by removing the current shank of your ring and then replacing it with this piece. It works by opening at the bottom of the ring so it can slide on and off with ease. Depending on what style you seek, the price will vary.
Here are some pictures of rings with ring guards, sizing beads, and Arthritic Shanks:
Jewelry Cleaning and Inspection
Has your jewelry lost its luster and shine? Having your jewelry professionally cleaned brings out the best in your jewelry. There are two different methods that we use to clean our jewelry. The first method that we use is an ultra-sonic and steam machine. Ultra Sonic’s use high vibrations combined with fluids to remove any dirt or grime. Steam machines are used to remove any films or dirt that cannot be removed by the ultra-sonic alone. To use this method, there is no charge. The other method we use is our polishing wheel. Polishing wheels are used on Sterling Silver, Gold, and Platinum. On Sterling Silver and Gold, the wheels buff out any scratches by removing a small layer of metal. When polishing Platinum, no metal is removed, it is burnished. White Gold requires an extra step in the cleaning process and is therefore higher in cost to clean. When White Gold is polished, it removes the coating called Rhodium that keeps the white tones in the gold. It normally takes at least 2 years before this coating is worn away. (This time frame can vary depending on the persons care of their jewelry) Keep your jewelry looking new by having it cleaned and polished. Here we will explain the processes that are used when polishing jewelry. Sterling Silver, Yellow Gold and Platinum cleaning process:
- Jewelry is inspected
- Jewelry is buffed on polishing wheels to remove any scratches
- Jewelry is then inserted in the ultra-sonic machine and then steamed off White Gold cleaning process
- Jewelry is inspected
- Jewelry is buffed on polishing wheels to remove any scratches
- Jewelry is Rhodium plated
- Jewelry is then inserted in the ultra-sonic machine and then steamed off
Here are some tips and recommendations for having your jewelry cleaned:
- The recommended time frame to have your jewelry cleaned with an ultra-sonic and steam machine is no sooner than 2 weeks (Over cleaning can cause stones to become loose)
- The recommended time frame to have your jewelry polished is every 6 months (Over polishing can cause the metal on your jewelry to become worn)
- Taking care of your jewelry keeps your jewelry clean longer
- White Gold jewelry should be taken care of with recommended care tips, as listed above, to save the Rhodium coating. It normally takes at least 2 years before this coating is worn away. (This time frame can vary depending on the persons care of their jewelry)
- Avoid using convenient store cleaner as some cleaners can cause jewelry to become black White Gold ring that has lost the rhodium plating from wear over time and has been polished and rhodium plated
White Gold ring that has lost the rhodium plating from wear over time and has been polished and rhodium plated
Pearls are timeless and by taking care of them, they will stay with your family through generations. Strands of pearls can become stretched and dry rotted over time eventually breaking the cord. When this happens, they will need to be restrung. Our store uses only high quality silk cord for strength and then it is coated to prevent fraying.
Proper pearl care:
- Avoid pulling on your pearl strands as this causes the cord to be stretched and weakens the cord
- Keep pearls in a dry place such as a pearl box or pouch to prevent dry rotting the cord
- Store pearls away from your other jewelry to prevent scratching (Once pearls are scratched, the scratches cannot be removed)
- To clean your pearls at home, use a solution of mild soap and water and rinse under water. Pat dry with a soft cloth and store in a pouch or jewelry box
- If you think your pearls need to be restrung, bring them to your jeweler to have them inspected. We always recommend having your pearls strung with knots. The reasoning for this is because if your pearls break, you will only lose 1 or 2 pearls. If your pearls do not have knots and they break, you will lose them all. With the proper education, you will know what to look for in your pearl jewelry.Here are the signs you should look for in your pearls:
- If your pearls are strung with knots, the pearls should not be able to slide in between the knots
- If there are any frayed threads or gaps between the pearls, bring them in to be checked
- Pearls should not be able to slide over the knots (This is caused from improper restringing. It happens from the cord being too small for the pearls)
- To check if your pearls are real, grind the pearl in between your teeth. If it is a gritty texture, they are real. If it has a silky texture, they are synthetic.