Did you know that there is a pristine island off the coast of North-Queensland with sand so fine that it can be used to polish even the most precious of jewellery? While it sounds amazing taking a trip to the beautiful Whitsundays every time your jewellery needs a bit of a touch-up remains a little impractical. But just like you, your jewellery deserves a proper pampering from time to time, and if you look after your collection the right way it will continue to give you and your loved ones joy for generations.
In order to ensure that your purchases retain their original splendour and you save a pretty penny in repairs, York Jewellers have put together a helpful guide to caring for your jewellery.
1 – Do Keep Your Rings Clean
With regular cleaning and the right products, your jewellery will stay as beautiful as it looked in the shop window. Depending on the metal, jewel and setting, your jewellery will require specific care. It’s really not enough just to give your rings the ol' once over with some Imperial Leather. In fact, using the wrong cleaning product or technique can lead to some pretty undesirable and upsetting consequences. There are a million-and-one home remedies for dirty jewellery, and while some have their merits, you have to be extremely prudent when cleaning your treasured jewellery. Precious metals and gemstones can be high maintenance and temperamental materials. So, if you are going to clean your jewellery yourself, it pays to do some in depth research beforehand. Unsuitable cleansers – and sometimes even soapy water – can damage your jewellery. There are commercial grade cleaners available, but your best bet is to schedule professional cleaning sessions with your jeweller who should have access to an ultrasonic bath, which can clean even the most intricate designs, bringing your gemstone and settings back to their original splendour. Book an appointment with one of our our jewellers today.
2 – Don't Expose Your Ring to Harsh Chemicals
Harsh chemicals such as dishwashing detergent, chlorine, bleach and other household cleaning products can wreak havoc on your jewellery. And while your jewellery might look nice and shiny after a soak in the sink, prolonged exposure to these chemicals can cause the finish and polish to gradually deteriorate, leaving your precious jewellery looking dull, flat and exposed to the elements. This can be avoided with regular cleaning with a commercial cleansing product. Just make sure to thoroughly dry the pieces after!
3 – Do Schedule Monthly Maintenance Appointments
Scheduling maintenance appointments with your jeweller at least once a year is a really good idea, especially if you are wearing certain pieces everyday. Over time, settings can shift, and your precious stones can come loose without your noticing! Your Jeweller can fix this as well as check there are no hairline fractures in the stones or shanks. They will also have access to a number of specially designed cleaning tools such steamers, sonic cleaners that are able to restore your jewellery to its original splendour. Book an appointment here.
4 – Don’t Wear Your Jewellery at the Beach
Unless of course you’re planning to spend the day in the Whitsundays polishing your lovelies in the pristine sand, wearing your jewellery by the seaside isn’t such a good idea. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, our fingers actually shrink in cold water, making your rings susceptible to coming loose and actually slipping off the finger where they once fit so snugly. Secondly, sand is an incredibly abrasive material and can be particularly damaging to gold and rhodium plating, so it’s probably best to leave your plated pieces at home. Thirdly, the salt in the ocean is inherently corrosive and will eventually cause all non-ferric materials like aluminium, copper, lead, zinc and tin, and gold and silver to rust. Rose gold is particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of salt and sand because of the copper element in the alloy, so make sure you leave these items at home. Products like sunscreen and zinc can also form a film on your jewellery, inhibiting its natural sparkle.
5 – Do Store your Jewellery Carefully
Stored correctly, your jewellery will last you a lifetime and more, but stored haphazardly it can incur and cause some undesirable damage that is difficult if not impossible to repair. If you keep your jewellery in a jewellery box you should get into the habit of storing each individual piece in a soft cloth bag with a drawstring around the top. This stops the pieces from rubbing up against one another and incurring unsightly abrasions. When storing diamonds, it is worth taking extra precautions. Being the hardest natural material on earth, diamonds can – and will – scratch your other pieces if jewellery including other diamonds, so it pays to keep them separate.
6 – Do Get Silver and White Gold Pieces Re-plated With Rhodium
It is important to remember that the rhodium plating on your white gold pieces is, at most, only a few microns thick. Though it is perfect for keeping your jewellery nice and bright, shiny and white, it plays little part in preventing the signs of wear and tear and will eventually wear off.
Your rings will tell you when they need to be re-plated again, because you will start to see glimmers of other metals gold showing through the coating of the Rhodium plating. With regular wear, the plating typically lasts somewhere between 3 months to a year. Book a re-plating appointment with one of our our jewellers today.
7 – Don’t Wear Your Jewellery in the Bath.
While there’s nothing better than a long soak in a hot tub, the same cannot be said for your jewellery. To ensure that your jewellery retains its original lustre and shine, best practice would be to take it off before jumping in the tub.
Bath tubs are treacherous places when it comes to losing rings, too. When you’re all lathered up, your rings can actually slip right off your fingers. This can happen in a split second, and if you're not careful you could end letting your precious jewellery out with the bath water. It may sound silly, but this is actually one of the most common ways that people lose their jewellery. Also, the cocktail of soaps, conditioners and exfoliants in your bathwater can induce undesirable tarnishing on certain metals like silver.
8 – Do Purchase Insurance
Please, please, please insure your jewellery. Losing your treasured pieces can be absolutely tragic and heart-wrenching, and while insurance may not cover the sentimental loss of your irreplaceable items, it will protect you financially. Additionally, we advise that you have your jewellery appraised at least every five years as the cost of diamonds and precious metals appreciates. If you happened to lose something that was appraised twenty-something years ago, the insured value would be far less than the actual replacement cost.
9 – Do Remodel Outdated or Worn Pieces
We’ve all heard the adage ‘old is gold’. But sometimes, old jewellery and stones can benefit form a remodelling. You adore your nan’s old ring, but it’s just not something that you’d wear yourself. The experienced jewellers at York have the ability to craft your family heirlooms and other pieces you don’t currently wear into something that’s more to your contemporary taste, without detracting from its former sentiment.
There are plenty of ways to modernise a design or restore something to its original beauty, like melting down metals to have the piece reset or repurposing its stones. Consolidating heirlooms to create something that’s completely unique, that bears a special meaning, is a far less consumer-driven way to add something new to your jewellery box.
To discuss your ideas with one of our designers, visit our York Jewellers Penrith store or book an appointment online.
Head jeweller Douglas Ely is a firm believer in creating custom pieces that are well beyond the realm of ordinary jewellery-making. He applies his signature traditional handmade methods to convey meaning, using design elements like family heirlooms, birthstones, engravings and lettering.