If you'd go on a treasure hunt in your jewelry box, you'd surly find some dull-looking pieces that have been long forgotten. Don't let such precious things go to waste. With a little care, they'll look as good as new. Read our guide to learn how.
If we’d all think about it and be really honest, we might come to the conclusion that we actually don’t need so many new, or newly produced, things. If we’d be completely real with ourselves, we’d probably realise that we’ve already got enough. Now, what we don’t have is a whole lot of knowledge on how to care for the stuff have. Many things are left and forgotten in dark corners of our wardrobes as soon as they start failing in looks or performance; may it be a piece of clothing with a stain or hole, or jewelry that’s turned dull and darkened. So, let’s all get a little wiser, starting with how to care for the precious gems in our jewelry boxes.
Now, before getting to the care part, we should mention that when investing in jewelry, quality and purity has everything to do with its longevity. Solid gold, for instance, will keep its color over a very long time, while platings or vermeil will eventually wear off, become chipped and scratched, or lose its shine. However, when that happens, you can always look into the possibility of re-plating it. Check with the brand you bought it from or inquire with a jeweler.
The sustainable shopper will also go for artisanal jewelry made locally and small-scale from recycled metals and stones to make sure there’s a minimal impact on people and planet. Or, even better: buy them on the second hand market to keep the environmental impact closer to none. With that said: let’s take care.
The Ultimate Jewelry Care Guide
Store your jewelry separately in boxes or pouches in a dry space (not the bathroom) to protect it from tangling or scratching, and to avoid exposure to light, air and moisture. Pearls, however, do not like it too dry, so don’t store them in drying materials, like cotton.
Always remove and store your jewelry before doing any activities that might damage or scratch the surface, like exercising, showering, doing dishes, or even sleeping.
Let jewelry be the last thing you put on, even after clothes, and make sure that your skincare, makeup, perfume, hairspray and so on has been absorbed completely first to protect the jewelry from becoming dull or discolored.
Silver is known to oxidize over time as it’s exposed to air, moisture or substances from the skin, so it’s particularly important to take it off before going into the pool, ocean, shower or sauna.
Keep all jewelry from direct contact with water, soap, cosmetics, body lotions, perfumes and other chemical products in order to protect it from the development of stains or patina.
When it comes to precious stones, like diamonds, it’s best to avoid touching them with your fingers all together as dirt and skin oil will make them lose their shine.
It’s also a good idea to take your diamonds, pearls and precious stones to a jeweler once a year, to make sure that settings and silk threads are secure. Imagine the horror if they broke…
Clean your jewelry regularly with a polishing cloth to maintain its appearance and remove accumulated patina, and make sure to carefully wipe off any makeup residue, lotion or skin oil after each wear.
Want to go even cleaner? Soak your jewelry (diamonds too) in a solution of lukewarm water and mild natural soap. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently cleanse it from any dirt or residue before rinsing it in lukewarm water and patting it dry with a soft cloth.
Pearl necklaces, for instance, should not be soaked in water as this might stretch or damage the silk thread. Use a soft cloth dampened with lukewarm water to wipe each pearl, then pat dry and leave them on a towel to dry completely.
Polishing oxidized silver sustainably is easy. Line the bottom of a heat safe bowl with (recycled) aluminum foil. Pour some boiling water (enough to cover the jewelry) over it and add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Drop in the jewelry and make sure it touches the foil. Pick it up carefully (warning, hot!) after a few minutes, and it’ll look as good as new.
Another sustainable way of polishing your jewelry is by mixing the juice of half a lemon with a teaspoon of baking soda. Apply the paste to the jewelry and rub in one direction with a soft cloth. Repeat until done. Wipe off the paste, rinse, and pat the piece dry. Voila.
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