Jewelry care is relatively simple, and with minimum effort your new pieces will sparkle for years.
*Rings should not be worn 24/7.
*Sleeping in rings is not advised, as your skin cannot breathe, and constant rubbing of bedding against prongs and gems will wear over time.
*Swimming in rings is not advised: you don't want to accidentally lose it to the bottom of a lake as your fingers shrink because of temperature change. Exposure to chlorine over time can also deteriorate gold, and strip alloy material from your precious pieces. Over time, this results in brittle gold that may break and is difficult or impossible to repair.
*Sand at the beach is bad too -- it can scratch certain softer stones and metal.
*Take rings off before vigorous or demanding activities where your fingers may be likely to swell, or the rings may undergo rough conditions. Activities to avoid in rings are: certain jobs or hobbies that involve hand tools or contact with hard surfaces or rough equipment, rock climbing or playing contact sports, doing yardwork or household cleaning, when operating equipment or machinery, or during certain gym activities like crossfit or weightlifting.
*Lotions, soaps, makeup, perfumes, household cleaners, or even food can get lodged in your rings and cause a haziness to stone sparkle or gunk to build up in small crevices. To keep your ring looking it's best, we recommend temporarily removing rings while you use these materials. It's also a great time to pop your ring into an appropriate cleaner so it can be cleaning while you're busy doing something else.
*If fingers swell, especially when due to a hand, arm or finger injury, remove rings immediately. If you can't remove a ring due to swelling -- go to an emergency room where they will cut it off for you. Too much swelling can result in restricted blood flow to your finger, which can become dangerous.
WEAR AND TEAR
Some amount of wear and tear is inevitable on a piece that's well loved and worn. Like everything else, jewelry requires monitoring and maintenance over time. A good rule of thumb, particularly for rings, is to have a jeweler clean and inspect precious pieces annually.
Precious metals wear down over time, especially when worn daily. Prongs are particularly vulnerable to this, as are the sides of rings as they spin and rub against each other. Softer metals like sterling silver and rose gold may wear faster and take deeper scrathches than harder alloys. Similarly, high polished rings will take abrasions more visibly than satin or matte finishes as they encounter surfaces in your daily life. Satin or matte finishes may develop shiny edges where they encounter hard objects or rub against other rings. Patinas may occur, particularly on low karat gold and silver, and are unique to the wearer. Patinas give character and indicate a life of love and wear. Most pieces can be polished from time to time if you want to restore some original luster. A polishing cloth at home also restores gold and silver (without an intentional black patina) to a nice shine. Additionally, some people find it desirable to apply a rhodium plating to white golds for an added layer of colorlessenss. This coating must be replaced annually or semi-annually.
Prongs, at some point will need to be retipped. Sometimes this requires metal to be added, and sometimes a stone must be removed to do so. In some cases, bezels wear away over time too, and can be rebuilt.
The best way to keep your rings and other jewelry looking great is to keep it in a safe place when not being worn. Store jewelry in a soft, protected spot away from moisture. Never let jewelry find its way into your car console or purse -- this is a recipe for disaster. If you must remove jewelry on the fly, always have a soft pouch with you, and store in a well protected purse compartment where it won't be jostled. Never leave jewelry near a sink -- they find their way down drains much easier than you'd think.
When storing jewelry, be aware that some stones can damage other stones. Diamonds are incredibly hard, and may scratch or nick gold, silver, or softer stones. Store jewelry in soft, fabric lined places and where they wont' experience bumping into each other.
Clean your jewelry with appropriate cleaners. Diamonds and gold are very durable, and can be used with any commercial jewelry cleaner. Delicate stones, pearls, and silver pieces with a patina should only be cleaned with mild dish soap, warm water, and a toothbrush. If in doubt, a jeweler is always a good place to have jewelry cleaned.
Silver tarnishes, and sometimes an intentional black patina is applied to silver to accentuate this natural process. Dampness in the environment makes tarnish more rapid on polished silver, as does a sulfuric environment (hot springs, hot tubs). A polishing cloth can restore some whiteness, as can a silver cleaning solution. Always be aware of stones before you use a chemical cleaner, and read instructions to be sure your stones will be safe. Some people have a body chemistry that actually makes silver tarnish when worn, although its not extremely common.
Platinum, high carat golds, and palladium are very unlikely to tarnish. If pieces come into contact with perfume or chemical coatings, however, a discoloration may occur at times. A simple cleaning typically restores the piece.
When cleaning at home, it's good to know the following:
*Washing your hands with rings on is not considered a cleaning, and may actually lead to more fogginess and residue behind stones than removing them first.
*If cleaning over hard surfaces, put a soft towel down in case you drop something (granite countertops and cement floors are especially notorious for accidental stone damage)
*Some cleaners require soaking -- always check to make sure a cleaning solution is safe for your particular stones.
*Pearls should never be cleaned with chemicals to avoid damage.
*Ammonia + Water is effective at cleaning yellow gold, but must be avoided if stones are soft, or diamonds are fracture filled. A good rule of thumb is 'diamonds and sapphires only' -- as long as you know nothing has been treated.
*Ultrasonic cleaners can be purchased for in-home use, although the above warnings apply here as well. Diamonds and Sapphires are generally safe. Always read the cleaning solution directions to verify.
*Never use baking soda or toothpaste. Both are abrasive, and will scratch metals and some stones.
*Clean once a week for optimum sparkle and shine.
*When in doubt, take pieces that require cleaning to a jeweler.
Although jewelry insurance can do nothing to replace the emotional loss of a lost or stolen heirlooms, it can offer a replacement in the instance that something traumatic occurs to your precious jewels. Homeowners policies can add a special rider for this type of coverage, and will require an appraisal to do so. Another jewelry specific option is to seek coverage through Jewelers Mutual Insurance. Costs for both are reasonable, and comparable. Insurance provides peace of mind for those most precious pieces you can't live without.