Jewellery is often the gift of choice to mark a special occasion, such as an anniversary or graduation, or to express one’s deep affection for another. However, if these pieces are later damaged, lost, or stolen, the effect can be emotionally devastating and perhaps even costly. After all, when a precious piece of jewellery holds sentimental value, it can’t simply “be replaced.”
If you’re lucky enough to buy or receive something sparkly, you’ll want to be sure to keep it safe and protected. To help get a better understanding of proper jewellery care, I spoke with Designer and Goldsmith, Leif Benner and learned these tips:
Caring for your jewellery
- Remove jewellery prior to having a shower or bath to help prevent soap build-up and friction. Keep a special box on your counter to temporarily store pieces and keep them safe. This will help prevent them from falling down the drain or off the counter and into the toilet. If you choose to remove rings when washing your hands in a public washroom do so cautiously. Tuck them into your pocket so you don’t accidently walk away leaving them on the counter.
- Wear gloves whenever doing house or yard work (especially if using harsh chemicals), or remove your special pieces completely. This work can pose a risk to delicate jewellery resulting in dents and damage.
- Never spray perfume or hair products directly onto jewellery — the chemicals in fragrances may damage the metals.
- Do not keep necklaces and rings in piles or touching each other in a jewellery box. The chains can become tangled causing the metals to get scratched. Instead, store pieces separately, perhaps in their respective boxes or pouches. This will help keep them looking brand new.
- Remove precious pieces if going to the pool or beach. Chlorine can harm metals, and sand (especially when mixed with sunscreen) can act like sandpaper, dulling the shine of metals.
- Don’t procrastinate. If you notice a weak clasp or a stone coming loose, take it to a reputable jeweller to be fixed. Maintenance is less expensive than replacement.
- Clean your jewellery every few weeks with a soft toothbrush (that you’ve designated for jewellery cleaning only) in a solution of four parts warm water and one part dish soap. Cosmetics, skin oils and dirt can get behind stones and dull pieces. Clean gems will have much more sparkle!
- Make an annual visit to a reputable jeweller to have your fine jewellery cleaned and inspected.
In addition to proper maintenance for your jewellery, you’ll also want to be sure it’s protected!
Keeping your jewellery safe
Consider storing your precious pieces in your deep freezer in a container marked ‘stew’ – that’s likely the last place a would-be thief would go looking for treasure.
- Keep your most valuable pieces safe when you’re not wearing them. Traditional ornamental boxes displayed on dressers are prime targets for burglars, so keep your jewellery stored in a hidden safe or safety deposit box.
- Don’t travel with expensive jewellery unless it’s necessary. If you decide to leave with your baubles in tow, keep them with you at all times or use the hotel safe, not the safe in your room. And don’t pack them in your checked luggage.
- Get your most treasured pieces appraised. The appraisal process is fairly inexpensive and will provide you with paperwork offering a brief description of each item, a gem report (outlining the quality of any stones), as well as the approximate value of each piece. This information may help aid in recovery of the piece, or in making a claim to your insurance company, in the event the piece is lost or stolen and you have the right coverage.
- Check with your home insurance provider to learn how much your regular insurance policy may cover in the event of loss or theft. Most policies only offer limited amounts of coverage on jewellery, so you may want to consider adding on a Personal Articles Floater which provides all risk coverage for theft, loss or damage to your jewellery.
Jewellery can last forever, and be handed down for generations – but only if you care for it properly.
Lead Image: Leif Benner