First published: 26-11-2015

How to care for your jewellery

Article date: Tue 27th January 2015 03:32 PM
How to care for your jewellery
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Just as clothes need washing and shoes need re-heeling, jewellery needs proper maintenance and care in order to keep in it in perfect condition. Whether that means simply knowing what your jewellery can or can't be exposed to, or appreciating how to perform every-day upkeep and an occasional deep clean, it's important you're able to keep your item looking as gorgeous as the day you bought it.

Different metals and materials have different requirements, so read through our tips and you can give your prized possessions the care they deserve.



General care

No matter what metal your jewellery is made of, you should stick to a few basic rules in terms of general maintenance. For example, it is always advisable to remove all your jewellery before you go swimming - chlorine can certainly cause it to tarnish, and saltwater is very corrosive.

Sweat is also quite damaging to metals over time, so take off any bracelets, necklaces and rings before you engage in any intense physical activities.

In terms of where you can store your jewellery, heat changes and moisture are bad. Keep all items away from windowsills and radiators, and out of any rooms that have a lot of condensation, like the bathroom.

When you take off your jewellery, store your pieces separately in order to prevent scratches. Give each a gentle wipe (especially silver ones) with an old t-shirt (or a similarly non-abrasive cloth) in order to remove any residue from makeup, hairspray, or perfume, as all of these can cause tarnishing if allowed to build up.



Gold (white, yellow, and rose)

For both yellow and white gold there is a very simple method that will leave your jewellery looking as good as new.

You only need a few household items, and the whole process will take less than half an hour. Simply mix a couple of drops of washing up liquid in a bowl with some warm water (not hot), and leave your jewellery in there to soak for around 15 minutes.

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Following this, use either a toothbrush with very soft bristles or a clean eyebrow brush to gently scrub everything. Then, rinse it all in running warm water to remove any dirt that has been loosened by the cleaning. Finally, lay them out on a towel. Once they are completely dry they will be ready to wear again. If you spot any water marks, a gentle wipe with a soft cloth should take care of that!

When it comes to rose gold, the process is slightly different. Instead of washing up liquid, use liquid soap, and only soak your jewellery for two minutes before placing it on a towel for another two minutes. Then, rub it very gently using just the pads of your fingers, and if you need to clean any hard-to-reach areas use a toothpick soaked in the soapy water. Rinse everything under running warm water and gently pat dry with a soft towel.



Gold plated jewellery

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Because gold plated jewellery has just a thin layer of the gold plating over a base substance, it would be easy to remove this layer by scrubbing or wiping too vigorously. The best way to clean this is with warm soapy water and a lint-free cloth. Dab the cloth over each item very carefully, and then lay your pieces down on a towel and allow to dry naturally before wearing. Again, wipe over very gently with a dry cloth if there are any water marks.

Gold plated jewellery is particularly susceptible to damage by perfume, so take care not to spray any directly onto your jewellery.



Silver

Cleaning silver is very easy, so long as you avoid treating gemstones or pearls set in the item with the same solution. All you need is bicarbonate of soda and water. Mix 1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda with two tablespoons of water, making a paste which you then apply to your jewellery using a damp sponge. Rub this in very gently before rinsing in lukewarm water and buffing with a soft, dry cloth. Ensure each item is completely dry before wearing.

This solution can loosen the glue used to attach various stones or jewels, so take care not to get this on any embellishments.



Pearls

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Pearls are extremely delicate, so extra care must be taken when caring for them. Try wiping them very gently with a soft, dry cloth, before storing in a breathable fabric pouch. This should keep them looking as pure and shimmery as possible.



Diamonds

Most jewellery items can be washed with a household item, but when it comes to diamonds it is recommended that you clean them with a slightly unexpected substance: vodka.

Simply drop a small amount of vodka onto a soft cloth and rub over your diamonds, before wiping them over again with a clean, dry cloth. This should help retain their sparkle over time.

With proper maintenance and care, you can keep your jewellery looking spotless for as long as possible. If you take the time to store it correctly whenever you're not wearing it, and give it a thorough clean whenever it's in need, your jewellery can stay as good as new.

How to care for your jewellery | Watch Shop

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