7 Things You’re Doing (and Not Doing) That Damage Your Jewelry

Jewelry is a vital part of your day-to-day outfit. Whatever look you want to achieve, having beautiful pieces helps elevate and bring stylish edge to your fashion. There’s no wonder why you’ll want to keep your jewelry with you for as long as possible. 

However, there are some things that you’re doing and not doing that may be harming your priced possessions – whether you’re aware of it or not. To help you out, we’ve listed some common habits that could be damaging your jewelry, and we're offering tips for what you should be doing instead. 

7 Habits That Are Damaging Your Jewelry

1. You don’t maintain it properly.

Many people buy jewelry and never return to the jeweler for professional cleaning. With time and age, jewelry pieces deteriorate. So, if you’re beginning to see scratches or loose settings, you might want to visit the shop for maintenance and repair.

And yes, you can go to jewelers even if you didn’t purchase your accessories from them!

Most jewelers offer maintenance services for free or at affordable prices. In a professional cleaning, they can restore the sparkle to stones, check for damages or wear, tighten loose parts, and buff your jewelry to bring back the shine. This will help extend the lifespan of your pieces. 

We recommend that you get your jewelry checked at least once a year, or every six months for pieces you wear often.

2. You don’t store it in a safe place.

Your bracelets, earrings, and necklaces will be damaged if they get tangled in storage. Rings and cuffs can get scratches if they come in contact with each other. To avoid this, it’s essential that you have proper storage for your jewelry.

For pieces that can entangle, clasp them first and then hang them on a necklace tree or a push pin. You’ll also want to have a padded or lined jewelry box with multiple smaller partitions inside, so you can store your pieces separately.

Proper storage will help ensure that none of your jewelry pieces will get damaged, lost, or scratched when you’re not wearing them.

3. You don’t clean it the right way.

DIY jewelry cleaning techniques are okay, but be sure you’re using the right products for it.

Toothpaste is a big no because it can lead to discoloration and wear down metals and stones over time. Bleaches appear to work at first, but they can damage the surface in the long run. Lotions can compromise ring settings and ruin stones. Lemon juice and other acidic products can destroy delicate pieces and stones.

If you must, use a microfiber cloth, soft-bristle toothbrush, mild dish detergent, and a little warm water to gently clean your jewelry. Denatured alcohol can be used for diamonds, but never for emeralds, opals, pearls, and other soft stones. Also, choose organic cleaners with no harsh chemicals.

Cleaning your jewelry pieces the right way will keep them looking nice and lasting longer.

man wearing tribal son jewelry bracelets in red plaid shirt

4. You have yet to appraise or insure it. 

You don’t have to insure all of your pieces. But having your expensive jewelry insured protects your investment in the event that they get damaged, lost, or stolen. Your home insurance policy should also have a jewelry provision in case of emergencies. 

You’ll be surprised at how affordable jewelry insurance can be. Typically, you pay about $1-2 for every $100 your jewelry is worth. For example, if your necklace is worth $9,000, you can pay around $90-180 per year to insure it. Not bad for an investment, right?

Similarly, it’s vital to get your pieces with diamonds and precious metals appraised every five years as their costs go up. And be sure that it’s done by a certified gemologist.

5. You wear it all the time.

Of course, you can wear your pricey everyday pieces to elevate your casual wear. But if you want them to last longer, you’ll need to know when to take them off.

Remove your accessories before you go to the gym. Bracelets and necklaces can get tangled in between machines. Metal-to-metal contact can lead to dents and scratches. Plus, getting sweat on your pieces will cause tarnish.

Gripping a tool forcefully when doing garden work can misshape your jewelry. Or worse, they can fall into the soil. Likewise, sleeping with accessories on means you run the risk of it catching on fabric, getting tangled with hair, or losing a stone or any small piece.

That’s why it’s better to remove and keep them in a safe place.

6. You expose it to damaging elements.

Chemicals and solutions can easily damage your jewelry, so avoid exposing your pieces to these.

Bleach and chlorine can lead to discoloration or disintegrate the metal. Salt water can blacken sterling silver. Sun and heat can quicken the tarnishing process. In addition, body and hair products can remove the luster on stones or dull sensitive metal. 

Be sure to remove your jewelry when:

  • Cleaning your house
  • Doing household chores (laundry, washing the dishes, etc.)
  • Doing outdoor activities for long hours
  • Going for a swim – regardless of if it's a beach or pool
  • Taking a bath or shower

7. You don’t put it on last.

As the popular rule says, jewelry should be the first thing you take off at night and the last thing you put on in the morning. 

Products like hairspray, lotion, and perfume can cause your pieces to get sticky, look dirty and dull, and tarnish or deteriorate over time. Make-up and skincare treatments, especially oil-based ones, collect a lot of grime that may be hidden in the smaller nooks of your jewelry. 

That’s why it’s best to put on your jewelry for the day only after all your primping in the morning and before your grooming at night.

Now that you know what things you do and don’t do that can damage your precious jewelry, you’re better able to protect them and avoid costly repairs.

Remember to have them professionally maintained, safely stored, and properly cleaned. Always pay attention to when you should wear and remove them to minimize chances of damage. Importantly, consider getting them appraised and insured.

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