Jewelry is a wardrobe essential. From meaningful anniversary gifts to dazzling statement pieces and everything in between, jewelry carries a lot of value.
To preserve both the cost and the sentimentality of your pieces, it’s important to keep your earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches in good condition. But there are a lot of ways your jewelry can get damaged with everyday wear. Between tarnishing, scratches, loose prongs, dullness, and damage, these delicate wardrobe pieces can have a short lifespan.
Whether you’re wanting to protect your wedding ring or looking to restore the shine to a vintage necklace, here are 5 ways to care for your jewelry.
1. Keep Your Jewelry Clean and Dry
Jewelry cleaning is important to restore shine and remove any oils or dirt build-up. But if you’re cleaning a gold necklace or cleaning pearl earrings, you may need to use different tools for different materials. Look for the cleaning tips specific to your jewelry.
To maintain your pieces, remember a few things:
- Many jewelry types can be cleaned with warm water and a mild dish soap. Be careful to use a gentle cloth or brush for cleaning, especially with soft gems like pearls that are easy to scratch.
- Avoid any cleaning products not specifically designed for jewelry. Many cleaners can contain harsh chemicals that can damage gems or metals.
- Put water into a separate bowl to rinse jewelry rather than over the sink, where it’s easy to lose a piece down the drain.
2. Keep It Out of the Gym and Spa
As a general rule, if you’re going to swim, sweat, or steam, don’t bring your jewelry with you! It’s common for people to keep a pair of earrings on in the pool or wear a ring in the shower. But moisture, as well as the pool chlorine, (and even the pH of your sweat!) can discolor your jewelry. In addition, it provides plenty of opportunities for your favorite items to get lost or broken.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Keep a small cloth jewelry bag in your gym or swim bag to have a safe place to store your jewelry before workouts.
- Place a ring bowl by the bathroom sink to remind you to remove your jewelry before showering or washing your hands.
- Wear your pieces only during dry activities and dry places—that means taking them off when gardening, cooking, playing sports, and cleaning.
3. Avoid Contact with Lotion or Perfume
Precious metals, colored gems, and pearls are very sensitive to chemicals. That can include even the products you put on your skin. If you’re applying perfume, make sure to do so before putting on your jewelry rather than spritzing afterwards. The same goes for any sort of makeup setting spray, lotion, or skin refreshing spray.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be careful especially of pearls and porous gems—they can have permanent surface damage from some cosmetic chemicals.
- Make sure that your skin is completely dry after applying any sprays before putting jewelry on.
- If your precious metals become exposed to any chemicals, immediately rinse and wash off any residue with a gentle cloth.
4. Get a Protection Plan
When investing in a new piece of jewelry, make sure you understand what the jewelry warranty covers. Repairs and replacements can be expensive. An extended warranty, also known as a protection plan, provides you the coverage to replace or repair any defects or breakdown that comes from wear and tear.
What should be included in your extended warranty? Look for the following:
- Rings: coverage for broken, bent or worn prongs, and to reset any gemstones. If a defect occurs in the setting that results in a cracked stone or lost gemstone, see if you are eligible for a stone replacement. This can be a big money saver.
- Necklaces and bracelets: coverage to restring stretched pearls, repair or replace chains with knots or broken links, and repair or replace broken clasps.
- Earrings: coverage for broken or lost earring posts and earring repair.
- Watches: coverage that covers damage to all of the components, including crown, stem, and band. Coverage should include mechanical failures and battery replacements.
You can get MulberryCare extended warranty plans on your watches and jewelry when you shop online with the Mulberry browser extension. Every 12-month plan is offered totally free, and all longer-term plans are available at the lowest prices on the market.
5. Store Your Jewelry Properly
When not in use, keeping your jewelry in careful storage can help prevent damage and discoloration. Storing jewelry together can get them entangled with one another, which risks scratches on soft gems or broken links on necklaces. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep padded boxes or cloth bag pouches that new jewelry comes in.
- Look for jewelry storage that allows you to have some separation between pieces to avoid tangling or damage, such as with padded ring boxes with individual slots.
- Use a padded box or cloth bag to keep pieces separate from other items when traveling.
- If keeping pieces in long-term storage, seal them in vacuum storage pouches to keep moisture and air out.
Care for Your Jewelry to Save Money
High quality jewelry that is meant to last often comes with a larger price tag. You can save money when you avoid the costs to replace or buy new pieces for every occasion. Following proper care steps for your jewelry is a great way to extend its lifespan.