Following are instructions for the “care and feeding” of
your jewelry. Please bear in mind that
while one of jewelry’s great assets is its relative durability, often spanning
several generations; that it is far from indestructible. Even the most finely-made piece of jewelry
requires respectful, proper treatment.
While jewelry can survive a
great deal, that survival is dependent upon the inherent durability of the
materials from which it is made, and the negative or positive contributions of
general, jewelry should not be worn
sleeping; because fingers can swell during
the night, making rings impossible to remove for bathing or other activities in
the morning; because prongs on rings can snag on blankets, thus loosening their
grip on stones; because necklaces and bracelets become strained, stressed,
kinked and broken when subjected to tossing, turning, and body weight.
swimming; because chlorine is one of very few
chemicals which actually reacts with
gold, and eats it away—swimming
pools, hot tubs, and jacuzzis have very high chlorine contents, which actually
wears away your precious metal (that’s why jewelry looks so clean when you get
out of the pool—you really wore away some of the metal, thus hiding
scratches!); and because water makes rings fit looser, leading to a possible
bathing; because long-term exposure to low
levels of chlorine is as bad as short-term exposure to high levels; and because
soap, shampoo, and conditioner do nothing nice for the appearance of gemstones
or textured metal.
doing housework or yard work; because you can expose your pieces
to every possible negative force:
chlorine (from household cleaners), abrasives which can scratch metals
and gems (from other household cleaners), violent vibrations which can
gradually loosen stones (from vacuum cleaner or lawnmower), heavy lifting which
can bend rings and loosen stones, and complete destruction (a tumble through a
garbage disposal or vacuum cleaner).
working out; because lifting weights (either
free or on machines) can lead to bending rings, possible stone loss, the
kinking of neckchains, and the breaking of bracelets; because other athletic activities can cause
swelling of the fingers, thus making rings dangerous to wear; and because
sports can make necklaces, bracelets, and rings instruments of pain for
yourself or others.
using hand-held tools; because of damage to your rings
(either through denting, poking, or scratching) or to your fingers or hands.
lifting heavy items; because of damage to your rings by
denting or distorting, and possibly loosening stones; and because of possible
damage to your fingers or hands.
your jewelry the last thing you put on
before you leave your home (assuming you aren’t about to go out and do any of
the “restricted” activites listed above!).
That will keep your pieces from getting dingy from exposure to soaps and
a “safe place” to keep jewelry when
you are not wearing it. When at home,
your “safe place” should be a suitable jar of jewelry cleaner (or in the case
of items which have porous gems, in a special pouch). That way, not only is your jewelry in a
location you remember, it’s cleaning at the same time! When away from home, think carefully
first: “Rather than remove my ring to
wash my hands, and risk forgetting it or knocking it down the drain, should I
just leave it on, and be sure to clean it later, when I get home?” If you are good at establishing and keeping
habits, you can have a “safe place” in your suit pocket, purse, or
briefcase. A simple bag or pouch will
is unwise to take your jewelry on
vacation. To begin, hotels will not
take responsibility for items left in rooms, even if kept in a wall safe. You will also sign a waiver of responsibility
if you use a hotel safe deposit box.
When youare away from home, you are less likely to maintain a “safe
place,” so it is simply best to leave your jewelry at home. Many people have difficulty with this, but
consider which is worse: having
strangers not know you are married
versus having other strangers walk away with your jewelry.
Insure, insure, insure! Jewelry
pieces are small items with high value. . .for those reasons, they are coveted
by thieves and robbers, and more likely to be lost or damaged than most
valuable items you own. The biggest
favor you can do yourself, unless you are prepared to replace items out of your
own pocket, is to insure your jewelry
against all perils. Be prepared for
the unexpected—loss, hotel theft, mysterious disappearance, freak accident,
clasp failure, prong breakage—by submitting your retail replacement value jewelry appraisal to your insurance agent,
so that a jewelry rider may be attached to your homeowner’s or renter’s
Do not ignore loose gemstones or
diamonds. While most small jiggles, wobbles, or
spinning is not imminently dangerous, why risk it? Remove the piece, and keep it in its “safe
place” until it can be brought to your jeweler for inspection and repair. Playing with a loose stone is not to your
advantage, and never try to repair a
piece of jewelry yourself.
more durable than higher karatages of gold, but not brittle like 10K
gold, 14K gold is often the wisest choice for most jewelry projects. More resistant to scratches than 18K gold, it
is the ideal choice for a rough wearer. Have 14K prong-, channel-, and
bezel-work checked annually. While
resistant to tarnishing, it can be kept looking its best by polishing daily
with a polishing cloth.
Great care is taken to set gemstones and diamonds in
jewelry. Often, such techniques are a
mystery to the consumer. Knowing a
little more about how stones are set can help you better care for your jewelry
often the most beautiful way to set a stone, but also the least
durable. Into each prong a groove is
cut, into which the stone’s edge is seated.
The remaining prong work above is pushed down onto the top of the
stone. Most losses of prong-set stones
are due to long-term neglect: as the
metal wears off the top of the prongs, less and less tension secures the stone,
finally resulting in a very minor blow loosening the stone. For this reason,
platinum prongs are strongly suggested for all applications where possible,
because wear occurs so slowly, that neglect does not matter. The remainder of losses are attributable to
trauma: a prong is bent back, the whole
head is knocked crooked or askew, or the whole head is knocked off the
piece. The best one can do is avoid
activities which might result in such abuse, and have prongs checked twice a year. To clean (assuming
a non-porous stone), simply leave overnight in your jewelry cleaning solution.
If any dirt is trapped, gently use a toothbrush or other small, soft brush (but
no toothpaste!) to remove it. Finally, rinse in running tap water. To dry, try forcefully blowing at the side or
underside of the stone, then finishing up by dabbing with a facial tissue to
soak up any remaining water.