A well-cared for piece of jewelry can last for centuries. Indeed, it can last for millennia. But too often pieces of contemporary jewelry seem to fall apart, crack, tarnish or gain other problems that make them hard to fix and unfit to wear. How can a person care for jewelry so it can be passed down from generation to generation? Here are five ways:
1. Keep Each Piece Separate
Jewelry that gets tangled up in a box with other necklaces, pins, rings and baubles won’t last long. Not only does it form a great snarl that’s hard to untangle, but pieces can get chipped, broken and scratched. Many people don’t know that if two different metals come into contact they can cause a chemical reaction that can cause both to corrode.
Every piece of jewelry deserves and needs to be in its own compartment. The compartment should be lined with felt or some other soft material. Putting the piece of jewelry in its own velvet bag is also acceptable.
2. Have Necklaces Restrung Once in a While
The thread that holds the beads of a necklace come into contact with sweat, oils, dirt, sunshine and other things that weaken it. A good practice is to have the necklace restrung every couple of years. A necklace that is worn frequently may need to be restrung as often as every year.
3. Wash Gently
Some jewelry can tolerate ultrasonic cleansers. An item made of pure platinum can be cleaned this way, as can diamonds. But most jewelry can’t. The best advice is to wash jewelry gently, with mild dishwashing detergent, warm water and a soft cloth. Rinse it, and let it dry completely before returning it to its compartment or wearing it. When the jewelry is taken off at the end of the day, wipe it off before putting it back in its compartment. A piece of jewelry that’s really grubby should be taken to the jeweler’s for cleaning.
4. Don’t Wear Jewelry While Doing Strenuous Work
Jewelry shouldn’t be worn while a person is washing the dishes or doing other energetic work with their hands. They absolutely shouldn’t be worn when the person is going swimming, whether in a swimming pool or in the ocean. Despite the popularity of the tennis bracelet, expensive jewelry shouldn’t be worn when playing sports. Even a diamond can chip if it’s banged hard enough.
5. Have White Metals Plated
Silver as well as white metals such as platinum and palladium are often plated with a metal called rhodium. Rhodium is a very tough, dazzlingly bright and fantastic at protecting silvery and even gold metals from scratches and tarnishing. It needs to be refreshed every few years depending on how often the jewelry is worn.