Care and Maintenance of Fine Jewelry

General Care Guidelines

  • Keep your jewelry in the provided jewelry box, or in a box with compartments and dividers.
  • Don’t jumble your jewelry pieces in a drawer or jewelry case to keep them from scratching one another.
  • Avoid exposing your gold, silver, or gemstone jewelry to harsh chemicals including alcohol and perfume. Take off your jewelry when applying these substances.

Gold-Plated Silver

  • Avoid exposing your jewelry to moisture or chemicals to keep the gold plating from fading.
  • Take off your jewelry when washing your hands.

Remember that gold plating is not a permanent treatment, so expect it to fade in time. Eventually, your piece will start to show its natural silver color. At this point, you may decide to have it polished back to silver, or get it freshly dipped in your choice color of gold.

Gemstones

Some gemstones are very sensitive and require special treatment. They may be very soft, and therefore easily broken or scratched. The Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness is an excellent tool for determining whether a gem requires additional care. We recommend that all gems with a ranking below 7 be handled with caution (and worn infrequently, if possible). On the other hand, gems with a ranking of 7 or higher are considered suitable for everyday use.

Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness. (From Lapigems)
  • Moonstones and opals are very soft stones (Mohs ranking 2); they can be easily scratched or broken. This is the reason we often opt to use adhesive to attach moonstones and opals to their settings, instead of enclosing them with prongs. Avoid hitting them on hard surfaces or dropping them.
  • Tourmalines and garnets can also be sensitive and brittle. Although much higher up the Mohs scale compared to moonstones and opals, our experience dictates that tourmaline and garnet gems are sensitive as well.
  • Tanzanites, feldspars (sunstone and moonstone), fluorites, iolites, kunzites, lapis lazuli, malachites, topaz, turquoises, and zircons are sensitive to heat. We usually do not recommend resizing jewelry containing the said gems because they may break under the heat of the jeweler’s torch.
  • Pearls have a low Mohs scale ranking (2.5-4) and must be stored away from harder stones or sharp objects to keep them from scratching. Pearls must also be kept moist; otherwise they may dry up and crack. We recommend that pearls be wiped frequently with a soft and damp cloth to remove oils and grime, and to be “re-hydrated” as well.

Sources

  • “Tips on Caring for Jewelry,” GIA.edu
  • Mohs Scale of Hardness,” Lapigems