How to Take Care of Jewelry of All Types

Taking care of gold jewelry

Although our gold jewelry should last virtually forever, thoughtless or rough treatment can diminish its beauty, and its value. But a few simple steps can safeguard your gold from harm.

  • Gold’s worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure weakens its structure and can lead to breakage; therefore, keep your jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products and out of swimming pools and Jacuzzis.
  • Protect your gold jewelry by keeping it safe and wrapped in a soft cloth when not wearing it.
  • Clean your gold jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner using a recommended cleaning solution.
  • Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing.
  • Keep gold jewelry free from dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup.
  • Always inspect your gold jewelry for weakness or damage and bring it to a professional jeweler for immediate repair. Your jeweler will be able to restore it for you.

Taking care of pearls

Pearls are more delicate than other gemstones and precious metals, so cultured pearls need special care to ensure they will remain clean, bright and lustrous for generations to come.

  • Put pearls on last, after makeup, hair spray and perfume.
  • After wearing, wipe the pearls with a soft, damp cloth. Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner! (See precautions below.) Wash periodically with a mild soap, never use chemicals or abrasives.
  • Keep pearls away from hard or sharp jewelry items that could scratch them.
  • Store pearls in a soft pouch or a separately lines segment of a jewelry box.
  • Because body oils can damage the silk or nylon thread, have pearls restrung once a year to avoid strand breakage.
  • Have your pearls strung with a knot between each pearl to prevent loss of pearls should the string break.

Caring for Diamonds and Other Gemstones

It’s usually beneficial to clean your diamonds a minimum of two times a year to counteract the dulling and damage that skin lotions, soaps and skin oils can cause. Smog, smoke, dust and other airborne threats can also discolor your gem settings.

For best results, we suggest a thorough ultrasonic cleaning of your diamond ring once a month.

As a preventative measure, store your diamonds and other precious jewelry in cloth lined cases or boxes made for this purpose. It’s wise to keep each piece from touching another as diamonds may scratch and damage each other as well as all lesser quality stones.

While diamonds are one of the world’s hardest substances, it doesn’t mean you should tempt fate. Take off your diamonds when gardening or doing any other work where damage could occur. Be particularly careful around chlorine bleach when swimming or cleaning; chlorine has been known to damage jewelry mountings.

Insuring Your Jewelry

When you insure your jewelry, it is typically covered for loss, theft, damage, and mysterious disappearance.

Most insurance companies require an appraisal by a Certified Gemologist before a policy can be granted. Most RJO jewelers will provide this service free of charge with your jewelry purchase.

Insurance usually pays for repair or replacement with “like kind and quality,” although unset stones and irreplaceable jewelry are often exempted.

Premiums for your insurance policy are determined by the retail value of each piece of jewelry you insure. Rates can be as little as $10 per $1,000 of value, with no deductible, but they will vary according to the jewelry you insure and the state in which you reside.

Before your policy’s term expires, your insurer will typically ask you for a new appraisal to update your jewelry’s value. Just return the renewal form with your jeweler’s signature along with your premium check.

Jewelry Protection Tips

How safe is your jewelry? Where do you keep it when you’re not wearing it? Is it really safe in your home? Take these precautions to safeguard your jewelry and other valuables:

  • Install strong locks on doors and windows, the first and most effective line of defense against burglaries.
  • When away, make sure your home appear “lived in” by arranging to have the lawn mowed, mail and newspapers pick up, and ask your neighbors to park in your drive.
  • Store extremely valuable jewelry is a safety deposit box.
  • Jewelry boxes are too obvious. Place your jewelry out of sight, in a fixed safe or secure hiding place.
  • Remove and secure jewelry prior to exercising, gardening or performing rigorous chores.
  • Never place jewelry out in an open area such as a sink or counter, or out in public, where it can be forgotten, knocked about, lost or stolen.
  • When traveling, never leave your jewelry unattended in luggage, and always store your jewelry in the hotel safe deposit box.
  • Most burglaries occur during the day, the time you’re most apt to be away; therefore, remember to keep door and windows locked.
  • Finally, insure your jewelry,

Ultrasonic Cleaning Precautions & Prohibitions

  • Precious metals with a significant amount of copper alloying and any other materials to be cleaned should be tested before cleaning to determine the compatibility of the material with the cleaning agent.
  • Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner. Pearls are a natural accretion of calcium carbonate which may delaminate and dissolve in the tank.
  • Never clean paste jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner. The paste may dissolve in the cleaning solution.
  • Never clean opals in an ultrasonic cleaner! Opals are a heavily fractured stone (the fracture planes reflect light and give the beautiful coloration for which opal is noted). Ultrasonic action (cavitation) in the tank may cause the fracture planes to extend and the stone may crumble in the tank.
  • Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite should never be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. These porous stones are liable to have absorbed materials which, when acted upon by ultrasound, will shatter the gems.
  • Do not place items to be cleaned directly on the bottom of the tank. It is actively vibrating and can abrade the surface of the item. Suspend items in the bath or use a suspended beaker or the perforated tray made for the purpose.