JEWELRY CARE & TIPS
Your fine jewelry pieces are both financial and emotional investments. Caring for your diamond, gemstone and pearl jewelry will not only keep them looking great, but will ensure that they will last for generations to come.
BASIC JEWELRY CARE
All fine jewelry needs proper care. While certain pieces may need select care, most jewelry should be cared for using the following basics:
Sunlight ‐ Just like the sun damages skin, heat and light can damage certain gemstones. Too much sunlight can fade or damage amethyst and topaz. Pearls can bleach and peel if exposed to too much sun. And certain other gems, like opal, can darken if exposed to too much light. To remove any doubt, store jewelry in a dark pouch or jewelry case.
Chemicals – Exposure to common everyday household chemicals, like ammonia or bleach, can damage both metals and gemstones. Even chemicals that are worn on the body – like hairspray, perfumes and lotions – can affect metals and dull gemstones. To keep your jewelry looking new, it's best to put on any perfumes, lotions or hairspray BEFORE putting on jewelry. And it's always wise to remove fine jewelry before swimming or using any type of household cleaners.
Treated Gemstones – Many gemstones today have been treated, and these gemstones need special care. All treatments should be disclosed at the time of purchase. Treated gemstones may be negatively affected by heat, steam or ultrasonic cleaners and certain solvents. Follow instructions from your jeweler to keep your treated gemstone jewelry looking sparkling.
Ultrasonic Cleaners – While ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning metals, diamonds and certain gemstones, they should not be used in the following circumstances:
- On organic gems like pearls, coral or ivory.
- Any gemstones that have been fracture‐filled with oil, resin or glass. For instance, most emeralds are fracture‐filled and should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
- Gems that have been coated. For instance, Mystic Fire Topaz have been finished with an azotic coating and should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
- Certain heat‐treated gemstones.
- Any gemstones that are susceptible to heat or temperature changes, like tanzanite, iolite, opal, etc., should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
CLEANING YOUR DIAMOND JEWELRY
Depending on the setting you choose, you can soak your diamond engagement and/or wedding rings for up to 30 minutes in a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. This is best suited to prong and cathedral settings. In pave and basket settings, however, soaking the rings can increase the likelihood of the gems coming loose. Be mindful of this when you decide to soak any jewelry piece use mild dish soap in warm water and soak your jewelry for a few minutes. Using a soft cloth or cotton swab, gently scrub the metal (gold, platinum, silver) and then rinse. Repeat the process if necessary, but always proceed with caution when it comes to soaking jewelry. You can use a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove dirt that is lodged in between the prongs and the diamonds. If fibers from cloth get stuck in the setting, gently use tweezers to remove them. Again, be careful of the metal. Even though diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds, the precious metals into which they are set can be scratched more easily.
Ionic cleaners can be used on most diamond jewelry. If your engagement ring is set with stones other than diamonds, consider other cleaning methods, as some gemstones are adversely affected by the electrical current in the ionic cleaning process.
When storing your diamond jewelry, be sure to keep it separate from other jewelry. Remember that diamonds can not only scratch any other jewelry you have, but can scratch each other as well. Make sure that two diamond pieces are not being stored in such a way that they touch each other.
CARING FOR YOUR PEARL JEWELRY
For routine care, it’s best to wipe pearls with a very soft, clean cloth after each wearing.
- Pearls should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. It's safe to use warm, soapy water for occasional thorough cleaning (assuming that the nacre is in good condition). If the pearls are strung, be sure the silk is completely dry before wearing.
- Never store pearls in a plastic bag. Plastic can emit a chemical that will damage the surface of the pearls. The same is true of cotton wool.
- Never store pearls in a safe deposit box for a long time. Like your skin, pearls need a little moisture so that they will not dry out.
- Pearls can be damaged by many chemicals and all acids. The list includes hair spray, perfume, cosmetics, and even perspiration. Always apply perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry.
Remember: when dressing, pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.
CARING FOR YOUR GEMSTONE JEWELRY
While gemstones are durable, they require varying levels of care. For example, some gemstones are especially vulnerable to household chemicals and temperature changes. Cleaning gemstones presents special challenges.
Cleaning - After removing your gemstone jewelry, clean it by following the directions on a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner. Make sure that the jewelry cleaner specifies that it is safe to use with your gemstone. Use a soft cloth to remove any remaining dirt or other residue.
- Storing - Store your gemstone jewelry in a lined case or a soft cloth, so the gems do not touch each other or parts of other jewelry. Gemstones are harder than gold, silver, or platinum and can scratch the surfaces of your other fine jewelry if they are not kept separate.
- Wear - While it's true that gemstones such as ruby and sapphire are second only to diamond on the hardness scale, it is not a measurement of their indestructibility. It means that these gemstones are able to resist scratching almost as well as a diamond. Abrasive surfaces, harsh chemicals, and sharp blows can damage even the hardest gem. Your gemstone jewelry should be the last thing you put on when getting dressed and the first thing you take off at the end of the night. Store your gemstones carefully and they will be enjoyed for generations.
INSURING YOUR JEWELRYFirst, get your jewelry appraised by a professional jewelry appraiser. For diamonds and gemstones, it's a good idea to find an appraiser that has been certified by a gemological lab, such as the GIA, EGL, ISI or AGS. You must usually have an appraisal report in hand prior to obtaining jewelry insurance.
Second, find out what jewelry coverage is included in your existing homeowners or renters policy. If the coverage is inadequate, you may need to add a jewelry addendum or purchase a separate policy. Some questions you should ask your agent include:
- Do you need to have your jewelry appraised by an insurance company‐approved appraiser or can you use your own?
- Will the policy cover you for any losses when traveling?
- How will you be required to prove the loss of your jewelry?
- Does the policy only cover theft or will it also cover mysterious disappearance, damage, or loss due to a fire or other disaster?
- Will your jewelry be covered for full replacement cost? Will the insurance company send you a check, or will they require you to replace your lost piece with one that is same? Or with a similar item from a certain store?
It is recommend that you have your covered jewelry reappraised every two to four years. Notify your insurance broker/agent of any changes to make certain that your coverage continues to reflect its fair market value.