I have a truth to tell.
The best-smelling, cleanest, most beautiful, put-together people you can imagine, usually have the grimiest jewellery repairs.
Without getting too graphic, let me remind you of what the tops of sunblock bottles, hand lotion tubes, and jars of face creams look like, right around the edges, where air dries out the build-up. You got it.
These same products get up under watchstraps, diamond settings, earring backs, and absolutely everywhere. The oil that makes them so great for moisturizing, also makes them great for sticking. To jewellery. And for collecting every speck of dust, dander or dna to form enough layers, that one may wonder if the wearer had taken a pottery class recently. But it’s not recent at all. Much the same as the the product containers I’ve mentioned, the buildup is slow. If people realise at all, it’s usually not until they are getting a piece back from their jeweller, and noticing how much bigger their cleaned diamond looks, or how shiny everything is. Only the goldsmith knows what was in there, and they will never tell.
Other culprits of jewellery harassment are perfume and hairspray. Along with the products mentioned above, these items can be assassins when it comes to your favourite pieces, especially for pearls. Each layer of nacre that gives a pearl lustre, strength, and beauty, is a delicious lunch for the oils and chemicals in beauty products. Without proper care and timing, pearls will become dulled or even distorted, and need replacement.
I say all of this, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There is lots and lots of advice online about cleaning your jewellery, and a lot of it is pretty good. However, if you don’t know how it becomes dirty/damaged, or you don’t know what you have, you risk anything from wasted money/effort, to further damage.
Here are a couple of safe, preventative measures that could save you and your jeweller, some stress, money, and heartache:
1. Last to put on, first to come off. If you wait to put on your jewellery (especially pearls!!!) until at least 10 minutes after your last poof of perfume, slather of sunblock, or hiss of hairspray, your pieces will be OVER the dried product, instead of UNDER it. When it’s time to wash or change, remove the jewellery first, to avoid soaps, make-up removers, creams, etc.
2. Gentle maintenance. Warm water on a soft, damp cloth, or a very soft baby toothbrush, then dried with another soft cloth, can be just enough to keep products from building up and causing trouble.
3. Get friendly with a goldsmith. One of the many things goldsmiths are good at, is troubleshooting. If you show us a ring that seems to be catching on your favourite sweater, we will show you where the prongs have worn down to the point which you are about to lose your diamond. Before that happens though, most of us are happy to give your pieces a quick once-over and let you know what you’ve got and how to take care of it. Just ask!
Bottom line – If you are putting a lot into being beautiful, make sure your jewellery stays beautiful too!