Take better care of your jewellery in just 8 steps

red gems and pearl necklace

We’re all guilty of spending time fantasising about a special necklace or that perfect pair of earrings, but let’s face it: you’re probably not daydreaming about the work that goes into taking care of the jewellery once you’ve got it in your hot little hands.

Yes, cleaning and polishing is admittedly the less luxurious side of owning jewellery, but is nonetheless very important if you wish to keep your pieces in pristine condition for years to come.
Thankfully, cleaning and maintenance is relatively inexpensive, straightforward and can mostly be done at home.
So, what should you do to keep your silver sparking, your diamonds dancing and your pearls popping?

Here are 8 foolproof steps for taking better care of your jewellery:

1. Keep your jewellery out of harm’s way

Prevention is the best cure for most things in life and jewellery is no exception. The most effective thing you can do to keep your jewellery clean and free from scratches is to always take it off in environments that may damage it.

Some places you should never wear your jewellery include:
  • The gym
  • Swimming pools
  • The beach
  • Sulphur hot springs
  • Anywhere you might be working with heavy machinery
Being proactive about jewellery care can help you minimise the need for maintenance and repairs further down the track.

2. Be smart about storage

jewellery storage

Keeping your jewellery out on your dresser or bedside table leaves it exposed to heat and natural sunlight (more on the risks of that later), and puts it at risk of being knocked or squashed.

Ideally, you want to keep your pieces in a purpose-made jewellery box lined with soft material, or a tarnish-resistant pouch. Failing that, you could simply store your jewellery in polyethylene ziplock bags (it’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s cheap and it works!).

Regardless of which storage system you opt for, you can avoid scratches and cracks in your jewellery by only storing one piece per compartment or bag. In addition, never store jewellery in the bathroom, laundry or kitchen as the harsh chemicals in many household cleaning products is known to damage many metals.

3. Polish frequently

polish jewellery

No matter how carefully you store your silver jewellery, it’s inevitable that it will attract dirt and lose some of its shine over the course of its lifetime.

The good news is that you can easily restore the sparkle in your silver pieces with a special jewellery cleaning cloth and some good old fashioned elbow grease. A microfibre cloth or other soft, non-abrasive material can also work, but don't use paper tissues as they can cause scratching.

Polish with long strokes in the same direction as the grain of the silver and try not to rub in circles as this can enhance surface scratches. Change the position of your polishing cloth frequently to avoid applying recently removed tarnish back onto the jewellery. A soft Q-tip can be used to get into those hard-to-reach places.

Gold is a little trickier. The yellow metal is significantly softer than silver and becomes more malleable (and more susceptible to scratches and other damage) in proportion to its caratage. Some websites recommend cleaning gold jewellery with liquid dish detergent, warm water and a toothbrush. While this can be effective, do note that even soft-bristle toothbrushes can potentially scratch your gold jewellery, particularly if it’s 14ct or 18ct.

If you’re unsure about DIY home remedies or if your jewellery is severely tarnished, get in touch with your local Auckland jeweller. We’ll give your jewellery a professional clean and restore your pieces to their former sparkling glory.

4. Don’t leave your jewellery in the sun

jewellery in sun

Few things are as great as spending long lazy days at the beach catching a tan. Your jewellery, however, doesn’t feel the same way.

Similar to how the sun’s rays can damage your skin, heat and light can also damage your jewellery. Gemstones such as amethyst and topaz are susceptible to sunlight-induced colour fading, while amber can darken when left in direct light for too long.

Heat can also impact the durability of some jewellery. Dry, hot sunlight can suck out the natural moisture found in pearls and opals, both of which can crack and discolour over time when left exposed to the sun.

5. Give your jewellery a professional check up

thin worn band SSJ

Every six months you take your car for a checkup to ensure that it’s roadworthy and to identify any potential issues before they become a real problem. The same principle applies to jewellery.

Perhaps annually, take your most prized pieces to your local jeweller for a thorough inspection. He/she will not only be able to tell you if there any immediate problems with the ring that need addressing (loose settings, broken or worn claws, thinning bands, cracked stones, etc) but also whether there are defects that could become more problematic in the future.

It’s probably not viable to get every piece of jewellery you own regularly serviced, so just focus on your most beloved pieces - professional maintenance can save you both money and heartbreak in the long run.

6. Know how to travel with jewellery

travelling with jewellery

Whether it’s a quick business trip or you’re taking off for months on end, travelling can be disastrous for your jewellery if you don’t know how to pack correctly.

Here’s how to do it correctly:
  • Keep it simple: Anything with a complex design featuring brittle parts or excessive flexible components should be left at home as it’s liable to get broken while bumping around in your suitcase.
  • Pack your jewellery in your carry-on: Checked bags get thrown around and are prone to getting lost in transit. Keep your jewellery safe and by your side by packing it in your carry-on luggage.
  • Invest in a travel jewellery case: Specifically made to keep your jewellery safe while travelling, these boxes work wonder and are worth every penny if you’re on the road a lot.
  • Straws for necklaces: Slip your necklace through a straw to keep it untangled and prevent it from catching on other items in your bag or suitcase. Pack the straw in something solid like a toothbrush travel case or a thin plastic container.
  • Buttons for earrings: The best ideas are always the simple ones. Thread a pair of earrings through the holes in a large button and seal the back with tape. Place them in a ziplock bag and wrap in soft cloth. Voila.

7. Get your white gold rhodium plated

rhodium plating

All white gold loses its shine over time as the rhodium plating wears off. It generally takes around 2-3 years for this to happen, though this timeline can vary drastically depending on the piece, how much you wear it and a few other factors.

If your white gold jewellery is starting to look a little dull or if you can see the yellow gold starting to shine through underneath, get in touch with us on 09 473 5299. We can rhodium plate your white gold pieces and have your jewellery looking as bright and lustrous as the day you got it.

8. Repair your jewellery

broken ring

While following the above steps will help you take better care of your jewellery and greatly minimise the risk of damage, accidents still happen (like the ring in the photo above - it had an accidental spin in the washing machine and came off second best) and general wear tear can lead to your jewellery requiring expert attention.

Don’t despair! We offer one of the most comprehensive jewellery repair services in Auckland, and our master jeweller, Alex, has the tools and expertise needed to restore your precious pieces. Give us a no-obligations call on 021 184 6467 to find out how we can help you fix up your silver, gold, white gold and platinum jewellery