The jewellery I make is designed to last generations, but life’s wear and tear can be rough on settings or softer stones. Even durable metals like gold can become start to lose their polish as, over time, tiny scratches and dents build up. The good news is, even if gardening or snow shovelling has bent your ring out of its roundness, I can probably fix it! Read on for ways you can protect your jewellery and keep it looking its best, always.
Keep It Clean
If you’re a gardener or spend much time in the kitchen, you know how grime can accumulate around a ring. You can control the situation by placing your ring in a safe location while you work. Even so, rings get dirty and stones may lose their shine. If your ring is losing its lustre, never fear: a simple solution is at hand.
Cleaning your ring is simple: mix together a bit of baking soda with water and give your piece a gentle rub or use toothpaste with a toothbrush to clean in crevasses or under gemstones. Dry your ring on a lint-free cloth, and watch the sparkle return. That’s all it takes!
If you clean your ring thoroughly but the stone still looks dull, its surface may have become scratched. Scratches will keep gems from reflecting light: if it’s interfering with your enjoyment of your jewelry, it is possible to have the stone repolished, but that will involve removing the gem from its setting, sending it away to be polished, then resetting the stone.
Make Sure It Fits
Rings are the biggest culprits when it comes to fit, right?
Wrong. Actually, it’s fingers that are the troublemakers. Fingers are delicate, strong, intricate and sensitive instruments. They swell and shrink with each passing season, and over time, even their shapes can change. Knuckles tend to grow larger as we age, and arthritis can make joints swell. When you’re cold, your fingers are at their smallest, and the heat of summer combined with eating salty snacks can increase your fingers by half a size or more.
So, when you wash your hands in cold water, the ring that’s only a little bit lose may slip off and slink down the drain, causing tears and recriminations–not to mention a whopping emergency plumbing bill!
But it’s not only loose rings that cause problems. If your ring is a little too tight, you’re aware of it: it gets on your nerves! So, you take it off and set it down somewhere. And stroll away. And come back later to find the cat has smacked it down a heating vent, or it’s just plain disappeared.
One way to keep your jewelry, is to make sure it fits. If your fingers vary greatly in size according to the season, you may actually build yourself a seasonal jewelry wardrobe, leaving tight rings in their boxes until the weather cools, or wearing them on different fingers. There are some workarounds: for customers with big knuckles, for example, I can make special “comfort” bands that slip over the knuckle while still fitting the finger correctly.
And if your ring becomes too tight to remove even with slippery soap and water, or by holding your hand in cold water to shrink the fingers a bit, that can be bad for your finger, as it cuts off your blood supply. If you can’t get your ring off, you’ll wind up at the doctor, having it cut off. Better the ring than the finger–but if you notice your rings are getting tight, take them off before it’s too late, and, if you want to keep wearing them, have them resized.
Don’t Drop That Gemstone!
Rings set with gems are always made to hold that stone as closely as possible, but over a period of years, claw or prong settings may wear thin or become bent, and the stone can fall out. Bezels, too, can’t last forever without some maintenance. Your hands are busy and rings are always being tapped, dragged, knocked and rubbed.
Take a good look at your rings from time to time, and make sure the stones are firmly held in the setting. If you’re not confident in your judgement, bring the ring to me, or a reputable jeweller near your home, for a checkup.
Go Gentle with Softer Stones
Emeralds may have invisibly filled fractures in them, and fillers are notorious for losing their stability when exposed to steam or chemicals. Opals, pearls, moonstones and other “semi-precious” stones are more likely to get scratched or broken than the much-harder sapphires, rubies, and natural or lab-grown diamonds or Moissanite. If you work with your hands, consider placing your ring in a safe place until you’re finished, especially if your work involves using metal tools, dirt, grease or stone.
If a gemstone breaks from hard use, it can be replaced. Ideally, you won’t wear your jewellery when doing heavy work. Bear in mind that even diamonds will chip or crack if they get knocked about.
Pearls are soft and slightly absorbent: spraying on perfume after putting on your pearls may stain them, and the alcohol in colognes or hairsprays can break them down (remember the old stories about ancient royalty drinking pearls dissolved in wine?) Avoid getting makeup on your pearls: put them on last when dressing. When you take them off, rub them gently with a slightly dampened, lint-free cloth before putting them away.
Pearls are typically strung and knotted on silk thread, and although it is strong, over time, the fibres will weaken and the necklace may break. If you wear your pearls in the shower or when swimming, the thread is more likely to part even sooner. (FYI: The chlorine in swimming pools can wreck your jewelry!)
To avoid mishaps, have your pearls re-strung every 3–5 years, and make sure they’re strung with knots between each pearl, so if the strand breaks, you’ll only lose one–not the whole strand!
If your piece of jewelry is bright, smooth and shiny, it probably has a “mirror finish.” If it grows dull from tiny scratches, it can be repolished by an expert using a mechanical tool and returned to its original, bright finish.
Watch Your Fingers!
If you work with mechanical objects, bear in mind that a ring can get caught on a tool, wire, motor part or line, and cause you a serious injury. If you work with your hands and use machinery or chemicals, leave your ring at home when you go to work.
If you have jewellery care questions that haven’t been answered in this post please contact us , we’d be happy to speak with you.