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Jewellery care guide

For many people, jewellery has great sentimental and monetary value, so taking good care of it will be key to ensure it remains in the best condition, for as long as possible.

Whether you own a gemstone ring, gold watch or a diamond pendant, it's important to get to know how to look after each item of jewellery you own correctly, including how best to clean it, store it and prevent it from getting dirty or damaged. Here's everything you need to know.

Care tip

You can prevent jewellery from becoming unclean or getting damaged in the first place by taking good care of it - as they say, prevention is always better than cure!

Of course, jewellery is designed to be worn but bear in mind that the more often you wear it, the more likely it may come into contact with something that could make it dirty, lose its shine or cause damage.

Therefore, only wear valuable or sentimental jewellery for special occasions rather than for everyday wear. Certainly, jewellery should always be removed for tasks such as gardening, DIY or cleaning up.

Jewellery should also be removed when taking part in sports, as it could get damaged, knocked or become accidentally loosened from vigorous movement. Chlorine from swimming pools can be especially harsh on jewellery, causing discolouration, so leave your jewellery at home before taking a dip. Not only will your jewellery stay protected, but you risk jewellery falling off and getting lost if you wear it during physical activities.

Ideally, jewellery should also be removed before going in the shower or taking a bath, as constant exposure to soaps and other cleaning products can cause a layer of film to cover the jewellery, losing its sparkle and shine.

Some substances such as perfumes, moisturising oils, cosmetics and even sweat can affect precious metals, causing discolouration, so avoid jewellery coming into contact with chemicals and moisture. Always apply lotions, cosmetics and perfumes before putting jewellery on, keeping them away from areas where you'll be wearing the jewellery.

Avoid over-touching your jewellery as this can deposit oils from the skin onto the surface of the jewellery creating a film and causing it to look dull. Always pick rings up by the band, pendants by the chain and earrings by the clasp, and never the stone.

Cleaning jewellery

Jewellery should be regularly cleaned to make sure it stays in good condition, and to remove any oily residues that it may have been in contact with. How you clean an item of jewellery depends on what type it is and what metals or stones it may be made from. Either way, always make sure your hands are clean first, so you don't transfer any more dirt onto the jewellery, and avoid over-handling the jewellery whilst cleaning it.

Before you begin cleaning your jewellery, give it a thorough inspection first. Keep your eyes open for any cracks or loose settings, and make sure you get these fixed first by professionals before you attempt to clean the jewellery.

Cleaning gold

To clean gold jewellery you need to add a few drops of mild detergent to warm water. Using a clean, soft cloth, dab it in the water and gently wipe the jewellery to remove any oils and sweat. To remove dirt from gold jewellery, use a soft-bristled brush, such as a fine toothbrush to gently clean the dirt away, paying attention never to scrub hard or use too much pressure. Once the gold jewellery is clean, gently pat it dry with a soft, clean cloth.

Cleaning silver

Silver is prone to tarnishing, which can make it look black, so regular cleaning is essential if you own silver jewellery. Use a soft, anti-tarnishing cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to clean the silver, or you can also purchase specialist solutions for cleaning silver.

Cleaning diamonds

Diamond jewellery needs special care during cleaning, to prevent the stones from getting scratched or damaged, so proceed with caution. Diamond jewellery should be cleaned using soapy water and a soft, clean, lint-free cloth.

Never use any harsh or abrasive cleaning solutions, as this can cause discolouration of the jewellery and can erode the metals and prongs that hold the diamonds in place, potentially loosening the stone. When drying the jewellery, avoid using paper towels as this can cause scratches or leave small fibres on the metals and stones.

Careful storage

No matter how careful you are when wearing your jewellery, or how much attention you pay to cleaning your items, if jewellery isn't stored properly, this could affect its appearance and even contribute towards damage.

All jewellery should be carefully stored away when not in use, rather than left on a side table or dresser, where it may gather dust, be exposed to chemicals, get knocked, lost or even stolen.

A covered box, container or case with a soft fabric or cotton lining is ideal for keeping jewellery safe when not in use. However, make sure that each item of jewellery has its own separate place in the box, and is cushioned so that it won't come into contact with other items or rub against them, or get tangled, potentially causing scratches and damage. Alternatively, you could wrap each item of jewellery, especially if it's a delicate piece, in soft tissue paper or in an air-tight zip-lock bag. Be particularly careful if you own pearl jewellery as this can be susceptible to scratches from hard gemstones, so always keep these types of jewellery apart.

If you own very expensive items of jewellery, you may even wish to purchase a separate storage area or small home safe to keep them locked away, to give you peace of mind that they're secure.

Inspecting jewellery

Taking good care of your jewellery also involves inspecting each item regularly to check that pieces are in tip-top condition. Keep an eye out for any loose settings, making sure that the mountings or prongs are secure and don't seem warped. Also, look for any scratches or dents.

If you notice any problems with your jewellery, take it to a professional to get the issues fixed. Certainly, never wear it in the meantime, as it could further increase the damage or make the jewellery irreparable.

Professional assistance

As well as carrying out regular inspections of your jewellery yourself, experts also recommend that you should get sentimental or valuable jewellery you wear frequently checked out by professionals around once per year. A professional jeweller may be able to spot any issues that you might not be aware of, or have knowledge about.

You may also prefer to take your jewellery to a professional to get it cleaned, if you don't feel confident doing it yourself, or you want the reassurance that an expert will get your precious items to sparkle in the safest and most effective ways possible.

If you're looking to add to your jewellery collection, take a look at the many exquisite options available on our website.