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Jewellery Care: Essential Tips To Preserve Your Precious Pieces

24 May 2024 | slow & simple

(collaborative post)

Your jewellery is more than just a statement of beauty; it often holds deep sentimental value and can be cherished for generations. However, without proper care, even the most exquisite pieces can lose their allure over time. As advocates for sustainable jewellery, we understand the significance of maintaining these precious items. Follow our essential tips to ensure your sustainable jewellery remains radiant for years, reducing the need for replacements and supporting its eco-friendly journey.

Storage, storage, storage

Prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to jewellery preservation. Proper storage practices are paramount for maintaining the beauty and integrity of your jewellery collection. Each piece should be stored separately, particularly if made from different metals, to prevent scratches, damage, and frustrating tangles. Jewellery boxes that are fabric lined with individual compartments are the best. If you don’t have one of these, a quick win to keep your jewellery safe are fabric pouches or even wrapped in cut up soft cloth.

Avoid storing jewellery in humid environments, such as bathrooms, as moisture can accelerate tarnishing. Consider storing your jewellery with chalk sticks to absorb excess moisture. Before storing your jewellery, ensure that it is clean and dry by rinsing it with water and a mild eco-friendly soap and drying it thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Combatting tarnishing

Tarnishing is a common issue, particularly for silver jewellery. It’s caused by oxidation that dulls its shine and may even turn it black. Silver naturally tarnishes, and leaving it out will accelerate the tarnishing process. Make sure it’s stored away if not worn to avoid this. To combat tarnishing, minimise exposure to harsh chemicals, beauty products, and certain foods that can accelerate the process. Remove your jewellery before swimming or exercising, as sweat and chlorine hasten tarnishing. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the lustre of your jewellery.

Cleaning your jewellery

Use a gentle solution of warm water and mild eco-friendly soap to clean your jewellery. Follow up by gentle rubbing with a lint-free cloth. For stubborn dirt or tarnishing, create a paste with baking soda and warm water. Gently rub it onto the affected areas before rinsing and drying thoroughly. Avoid using tissue or paper towels, as these materials can scratch the surface. This is especially important for gold jewellery. Use a soft brush (like a child’s toothbrush) or lint-free cloth to avoid scratching delicate surfaces.

My favourite cloths to use are bamboo ‘microfiber’ style cloths, as they’re soft, durable, and washable. I chose bamboo because it’s a great renewable sauce and uses allot less water than cotton to produce. When buying microfiber cloths, be careful not to get ones that are made from plastic (polyester). These are a disaster for our rivers and oceans leading to microplastic pollution and as we all know will take centuries to break down, whereas a bamboo cloth is around a year.

saucer with various pieces of jewellery on it - jewellery care

Untangling necklaces

Untangling knotted chains can be frustrating, but with patience, it can be managed. Lay the tangled chain flat on a smooth surface and gently tap along the knot’s centre with a pin. Use tweezers or another pin to gradually loosen the knot, taking care not to damage the chain.

Keep an eye out for damage

When cleaning your jewellery, take the opportunity to inspect it. Check stones, clasps, and other components. If any repairs are necessary, addressing them sooner rather than later can be more straightforward and cost-effective, and avoid the disaster of losing the piece or the stone.

Everyday habits

Incorporate simple habits into your daily routine to prolong the lifespan of your jewellery. Remove your jewellery before bedtime to prevent damage from tossing and turning during sleep. Try to follow the rule of ‘last on, first off’ to avoid exposing your jewellery to harsh chemicals in lotions, perfumes, and cleaning products. Strategically placed ring holders or jewellery dishes around your home can work wonders. The one next to my kitchen sink works as a great reminder before I wash my hands and start meal prep.

Wash your jewellery regularly to avoid build-up, using a soft cloth and ensuring it is thoroughly dried. Refrain from wearing jewellery during vigorous activities or while using machinery to prevent accidental damage. When you’re going to the gym have a small travel pouch or jewellery roll that you can safely store your jewellery while you work out. Do the same for swimming: chlorinated pools are particularly harmful to jewellery.

Empower your jewellery with care

Every piece of jewellery deserves tender care. By following these tips, you’ll keep your earrings sparkling, your necklaces tangle-free, and your jewellery box organised. Remember, a little care goes a long way in preserving your precious treasures and keeping their sustainable journey going.

Emily Runc is a London based jeweller who founded her business erJ London out of a love of creating high quality, beautiful jewellery that enhances life, with minimal negative impact on the world around us. She only use recycled silver or gold as base metal and all her pieces are designed and handmade at her West London workshop by skilled jewellers; good design, wearability and longevity are paramount to their process.

www.erjlondon.co.uk | @erj_london

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