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Jewelry Care Tips: Practical and Effective

Jewelry Care Tips: Practical and Effective

As more and more men find themselves with a jewelry collection, many understand that your favorite necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other pieces could last much longer with some non-exhaustive jewelry care.

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At this point, you’ve likely amassed several rings, necklaces, and even tennis bracelets, and a thought eventually dawns on you : “I may need to practice a little jewelry care for my collection.” 

Chances are, pieces are spread throughout your apartment, lying on shelves or your dresser or even embedded in your work bag.

Rather than lose track of everything, find stones missing and metals scratched, or, worse, have something swiped from your home, understand what’s involved in maintaining the appearance and value of what’s turned into a modest personal investment.

Here’s what to consider:

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Storing Your Jewelry With Care

As a broad-reaching tip, never just leave necklaces and bracelets hanging around your home and car. It’s easy to lose track and have items stolen, and you don’t have a clear sense of what you own.

Should your belongings be damaged by fire or flood, an organized storage space helps you establish an inventory that’s ideally recorded and stored digitally to determine your collection’s full value when you’re seeking reimbursement from your insurance carrier. 

As baseline jewelry care, look for something safe and secure that protects and organizes your collection, for which we’ll provide a few tips shortly. At the same time, for everyday pieces, ensure they’re still accessible.

Common solutions include a jewelry box, vertical storage wall, a few bowls and boxes, or a set of drawers. Further avoid leaving silver jewelry out in the open, as this causes the metal to tarnish sooner. 

men's jewelry box

Then, as a third factor, realize that exposure to heat and moisture can damage your jewelry collection. Seek out a spot or compartment that’s cool, dry, and lined with a soft fabric, so that your pieces aren’t directly exposed to wood, which can tarnish and stain certain metals. Be sure to put on and take off pieces in the same spot for the sake of jewelry care and organization.

For expensive, on-occasion pieces, keep them in a safe inside your home, or offsite in a safety deposit box. 

In all cases, wipe all pieces off with a cleaning cloth before you place them back into storage, as this takes off dirt and grime and gradually reduces the buildup that can mar a piece’s appearance with time. 

Within these basic guidelines, consider how you store certain types of pieces as part of jewelry care:

  • Gold and platinum: You paid plenty, so store these pieces to preserve their appearance. Understand that gold jewelry, even with an alloy composition, is more malleable than other types of metals. Storing it with something harder like silver can quickly result in scratches and dents to the surface.
  • Silver: As already mentioned, silver tarnishes easily. Considering this, avoid keeping silver in your bathroom or areas where it will be exposed to household cleaners, moisture, and haircare products, as these can cause the metal to develop a darker, cloudy appearance. Also keep these pieces separate from gold and platinum.
  • Diamonds: Diamonds, too, can leave scouring marks and dings on gold, platinum, and even silver. Considering this, store diamond jewelry in a separate compartment from any strictly metal pieces.

Organizing Your Jewelry With Care

jewelry care

Going hand in hand with storage, organization ensures you can find what you need when you want it and protects your jewelry from damage, be it scratches or tarnishing.

Consider the following tips:

  • Keep all pieces in a shallow drawer or bowl, rather than stacked on top of each other. This can be in a jewelry box or vanity-like fixture.
  • Display only select pieces, particularly lower-value ones and those you wear routinely. As already described above, reserve a safe or other secure solution for your most prized pieces.
  • Conserve space. Especially with necklaces and bracelets, install a system of pegs or hooks on a wall of your closet or in a vanity area. This gives these larger pieces room, prevents them from being tangled, and reduces risks of broken links.
  • Especially if you intend to sell pieces later on, keep items stored in their original box, with all papers left intact.

Cleaning Your Jewelry With Care

In line with storage and organization, routine cleanings – from wipe-downs and scrubbing to an annual professional inspection – jewelry care includes maintaining the appearance of your jewelry collection. Although tips will vary based on metal and stone, keep in mind the following:

  • When getting dressed for the day, put your jewelry on last, so it’s not coming in direct contact with lotions, fragrances, or hair products. In the evening, do the reverse: Take off your jewelry before your shower or go through your skincare routine
  • Avoid washing dishes or your hands with jewelry on, as soap and debris will begin to accumulate between crevices. 
  • Limit cleaning your home and car and doing laundry while wearing jewelry. Many of the chemicals in these solutions can affect the finish.
  • Never wear your jewelry in a pool or Jacuzzi, as chlorine can dull the appearance and affect certain stones.
  • Don’t liberally use jewelry cleaner. Instead, understand the solution’s compatibility with certain metals. Specifically, cleaners for silver or a gold alloy will quickly wear away plated metals.

For specific metals:

  • Gold: Put your gold jewelry in a dish or tub of warm water with a few drops of soap. Let the piece soak for about five minutes. After, take it out to wipe it down with a soft cloth, and use a small toothbrush to remove any remaining dirt or grime. Rinse it off before letting it dry. 
  • Silver: Along with avoiding long-term air exposure, polish your silver jewelry on occasion, using wipes or a liquid solution with a cleaning cloth. Limit your use of water with anything silver or silver plated. 
  • Gemstones: For non-porous gemstones, treat them like gold: soak them in warm water mixed with a few drops of dish soap, before you brush off any debris. For softer, more porous stones, brush with a bit of water before you wipe down the piece with a cloth. 

Along with these tips, consider investing in an ultrasonic cleaner for the ultimate in jewelry care, or take your pieces to a professional jeweler once per year to have all debris removed, the finish restored, and any essential repairs made.

Young male jeweler at workshop

If you opt to attempt to do this yourself, realize that an ultrasonic cleaner generates high-frequency sound waves that, through a combination of heat and pressure, dislodge dirt and other debris in hard-to-access crevices of your jewelry. However, understand that:

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  • Just as with using a cleaning solution, not all types of jewelry can be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner. Pearls, ivory, shells, amber, and softer precious and semi-precious stones will likely become damaged. 
  • Wax coatings – used for certain precious and semi-precious stones – will melt in an ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Stones have been known to loosen with an at-home ultrasonic cleaner.

Consider going to a professional if:

  • You own several delicate pieces of jewelry, particularly heirlooms you’re looking to preserve, and can’t get all dirt off yourself.
  • You’re concerned about losing gemstones, or need to repair a piece with an already-loose or cracked stone.
  • Your jewelry needs repairs, be it to fix scratches or worn-away plating or to repair a part, like a broken link or snapped prong.

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how to take care of your jewelry collection