A Lifetime of Dazzle

Make sure your bling stays beautiful by following a few basic tips for jewelry care and maintenance.
By: Terry Schade

You must take care of your jewelry to keep it dazzling for a lifetime. I have never seen a piece of jewelry that is maintenance-free. Whether a cherished heirloom or a beautiful engagement ring, there are many things you can do to keep your jewelry looking amazing and avoid costly repairs.

Wearing jewelry
How we wear our jewelry can impact not only its luster, but also its long-term durability. Here is a basic list of when you should not wear jewelry:

1. Sleep: A definite no-no is wearing a necklace to bed. The amount of stress pulling, stretching and tugging away at that jewelry piece will shorten its lifespan tenfold. Rings should also be removed, unless you are trying to smack your sleeping partner on the head with them; you could physically damage the finish or prongs by hitting an unintended target.

2. Bathing time: While it may be a great way to keep you feeling and looking refreshed, jewelry should not join you in the tub or the shower. Soaps cause a film that will build up and take the sparkle right out of any piece of jewelry.

3. Housework and chores: Unless Oprah is stopping by to pay a visit while you are doing dishes or other household chores, you should avoid wearing your jewelry while doing housework (especially gardening and landscaping chores). Aside from the obvious that you could physically damage jewelry by hitting something, household cleaners can contain chemicals that not only ruin the finish of a jewelry piece, but also corrupt the integrity. Finally, think about your own personal safety. Rings and necklaces have a tendency to get caught on things at the most inopportune times. That necklace can easily become a choking hazard, and I have seen fingers lost when a wedding band gets caught on something that wouldn’t let go.

4. Makeup application: Make sure you put on jewelry after you put on your makeup. Cosmetics, hairsprays and lotions all contain chemicals that may damage your jewelry, not to mention the film that can be left behind, which will hide the original shine.

5. Pools and spas: Chlorine in these relaxing activities can react with metal used in fine jewelry. This may cause discoloration or even corrosion of the metal.

6. Sports: I think this should speak for itself. Not only is it likely you will damage your jewelry, but you will likely end up hurting yourself or someone else.

Cleaning jewelry
What? Your exquisite diamond engagement ring doesn’t sparkle any more? Keeping your jewelry cleaned requires just a little effort in order to keep that sparkle bright to impress your friends and family. Here are a few basic pointers:

1. Use a jewelry polishing cloth: A polishing cloth intended solely for jewelry use can go a long way to keeping your jewelry beautiful – a wise investment for under $10. The use of tissue or paper towels can cause scratches because of fibers in these products.

2. Tender loving care: Commercial jewelry cleaners can be very inexpensive. Some of the worst ideas include cleaning with a toothpaste or bleach; you should also avoid anything abrasive. The best idea is to take it back to the jeweler you purchased it from. Most local jewelers will be happy to keep it looking glamorous for you at no charge and inspect it to ensure it doesn’t need additional maintenance.

3. Simple lukewarm water: This is the safest bet in a pinch.

4. Already damaged pieces: Avoid cleaning or handling a piece of jewelry that is already damaged; you could make matters worse. Set the item aside, and have it professionally evaluated at your earliest convenience.

5. Inspect your jewelry: Keep an eye on your jewelry. Visually inspect your items from time to time just to ensure nothing has been hit or damaged. Again, your local jeweler would be happy to do this for you and even provide assistance as to what you should be looking for.

I hope this information provides you with a solid foundation of information to take better care of your jewelry. For more detailed information and caring for specific gemstones such as opals, pearls and emeralds, see your local jeweler. In the next issue, we will address what to do when you need jewelry repair, how to store your jewelry and how to ship expensive jewelry items.

In 1979, the Schade family founded Casa de Oro Jewelers, which remains locally owned and operated. Terry Schade is a vice president and owner. To learn more about this topic or ask any other jewelry-related questions, contact Schade at 361-991-7054 or terry@casadeoro.net, or visit Casa de Oro Jewelers online at www.casadeorojewelers.com




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