Tips for Taking Care of Fine Jewelry

Did you get a fancy new gold necklace of a shiny engagement ring for Christmas? Congratulations! What makes jewelry so eternal is that it can always look as shiny as when you first got it, provided you take good care of it. Properly storing and caring for your jewelry, combined with an occasional visit to a professional will ensure that you will proudly wear your precious possessions for years and years to come. While some pieces of jewelry are fairly easy to maintain, others like pearls require extra attention and special precautions to be taken. In this guide, we will go through the proper ways of cleaning and taking care of different pieces of jewelry so that they truly last forever.

Jewelry Cleaning Advice

A rule of thumb for most pieces of jewelry in your collection is to follow your common sense. That said, one thing that can irreparably damage your jewelry is exposing it to household chemicals like chlorine bleach. These chemicals can discolor or completely ruin precious metal mountings. Likewise, avoid wearing your jewelry while you are doing rough manual chores or while you are playing sports as a hard blow could chip or jar loose the precious gemstones. When storing your jewelry, make sure that the pieces do not tumble against each other, as this can scratch them. Each piece of jewelry should be stored in a separate soft cloth bag or in a separate compartment in your jewelry box.

Silver Jewelry

You can clean sterling silver with a mild soap and warm water applied to a cotton cloth. To bring back its glow, wipe it with a jewelry polishing cloth specially made for polishing silver. Avoid circular movements and rub the silver in one direction instead.

Yellow gold ring centered with a blue gemstone and diamonds.
Yellow gold earrings centered with blue sapphire surrounded by diamond halos.
Yellow gold open heart necklace set with diamonds.

Platinum & Gold Jewelry

Dilute dish detergent in a small bowl filled with warm water and soak your gold or platinum jewelry for three to five minutes. Rinse the jewelry under warm water using a clean cotton cloth to remove any traces of the dish detergent. Use a soft cloth to pat the jewelry dry. Make sure to dry it completely before wearing it again.

Gemstone Jewelry

Amethyst, citrine, blue topaz, and other crystalline gemstones should be cleaned in a bowl filled with water and a drop of mild dish soap. You can scrub the stones’ surroundings with a soft baby toothbrush. Rinse the soap thoroughly and dry with a cloth. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies in gold or platinum are best cleaned by using water with a drop of ammonia. However, silver and organic gemstones can be damaged by ammonia, so use this solution only for gold and platinum jewelry.

Pearls

Keep pearls away from cosmetics, perfumes, chlorine, vinegar, ammonia, perspiration, and dirt at all costs. After wearing the pearl jewelry, clean it with a slightly damp cloth. You can wash pearls with mild soap using a soft cloth. Rinse any excess soap in clean water and wrap them in a damp cotton towel until dry. Store them in an environment that’s not too dry, as they require some humidity, so they don’t crack.

Professional Jewelry Cleaning

If you want to make sure your jewelry keeps its sparkle for years to come, have it professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. If you notice that the stones in your jewelry are chipped, the prongs damaged or clasps malfunctioning, contact Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers immediately. Don’t risk losing your precious gemstones from a broken or bent prong! Our in-house jewelers are available for all your cleaning and jewelry repair needs so visit us on San Diego Avenue today.

Tips for Engagement Ring Care

White gold diamond engagement ring with a diamond halo and diamonds in the band with a diamond wedding band stacked on top in front of a green floral background with text, Engagement Ring Care.

Diamonds are the hardest mineral; however, it’s important to remember that they’re not indestructible. Following these tips for the care and protection of your engagement ring will ensure that your diamond lasts a lifetime. 

Schedule Regular Cleanings

Leo Hamel’s offers free jewelry cleaning services for rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and watches as well as free ring polishing. Your engagement ring will be put in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to remove dirt or oil. (Rings that include softer gemstones that may be damaged by ultrasonic vibrations and heat are cleaned by hand). After the ultrasonic, the ring will be steam-cleaned and polished by hand by the jeweler.

Prior to all cleaning services, our certified graduate jewelers will inspect your ring under a microscope to inform you of any issues with the prongs as well as any chipped or loose diamonds. You should plan to bring in your engagement ring (and other jewelry you own) twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection. 

Gentle Home Ring Cleaning (only if you must clean at home)

While we always recommend bringing your jewelry into our jewelers for cleanings, we understand that sometimes that doesn’t always work out. If you must clean your engagement ring at home, make sure to use only warm water, dish soap, and a soft bristle brush.

Insure Your Valuables

Most people think of insurance when it comes to their life, car, or health, but what about your engagement ring? It can cost as much as a car and symbolizes one of the most important bonds in your life. There’s always an emotional toll when losing an engagement ring, but when it’s insured, you don’t have to worry about the financial hardship of replacing it. Leo Hamel’s works with the independent gemologist appraiser at San Diego Gemological Laboratory to supply appraisals for insurance purposes.

Consider an Alternate

Having a “backup” ring is an increasingly popular choice for many people. The alternate ring is less expensive and has less emotional ties to it. It’s worn regularly without many worries about it getting lost or damaged since it’s just acting as a placeholder. This alternate ring is worn during activities that may expose the ring to dirt, grease, or damage. Like while out partying at a club, or while traveling to less secure locations, and your main engagement ring is kept locked in a safe at home.

White gold cathedral diamond engagement ring with diamonds in the band.

Avoid Chemicals

Chemicals in perfumes, lotions, and sunscreens may cause damage and add residue to your jewelry. Remove your engagement ring and other jewelry before using these substances or any other chemical. Chlorine can also damage jewelry so keep that in mind before getting into a treated pool or jacuzzi.

Weather Matters

Fingers can swell in the heat and shrink in the cold. It’s important to take note of any extreme weather so that you don’t have to worry about your engagement ring slipping off in the cold or being uncomfortable in the heat. Some gemstones are also affected by extreme weather so keep that in mind when deciding what to wear for the day.

Safe Keeping

Make sure you have a designated place to keep your engagement ring when you’re not wearing it. By keeping it in one place whenever you’re not wearing it, you lessen the risk of leaving it somewhere that you won’t remember later. You should also keep ring holders around the house in places where you might need to take it off for just a short amount of time.

Places like in the kitchen (away from the sink) for when you do dishes, in the bathroom for when you need to use any cleaning products, at your makeup table for when you are applying lotions and perfumes, etc. For longer term storage, or whenever your ring is at home but you are not, a home security safe is relatively inexpensive to install.

Restore White Gold

Over time, the shine on white gold rings will start to dull and display a yellow hue; this happens over time from normal wear, even with perfect care. Re-plating the white gold with rhodium will bring back the original shine to your engagement ring. Leo Hamel’s jewelry repair department can restore your white gold jewelry with expertly applied rhodium plating. Just stop by our San Diego Avenue showroom today to check your jewelry in!

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