Fine jewelry is an investment, both financially and emotionally. We buy high-quality pieces we love to celebrate occasions like birthdays or to mark important events like engagements. No matter the reason, fine jewelry is an expression of who we are and we need to care for it properly.
There are two main types of jewelry care: storage and cleaning. The more attention paid to proper storage, the less cleaning a piece may require.
Ideally, fine jewelry should be stored in a cool, dry place. We don’t recommend attics or basements because they are prone to fluctuations in both temperature and humidity.
We also recommend using good jewelry storage materials. Some people choose to store each piece separately, in soft bags or soft lined boxes. Others choose jewelry boxes. Either one is fine as long as they accomplish two simple things:
- Keep jewelry out of the open air. Oxygen causes silver to tarnish and leaving fine jewelry exposed to even indoor elements can cause a build-up of dust and dirt.
- Keep each piece separate. Fine jewelry should not tumble together in one large space. That leads to accidental scratches.
When deciding how to care for white gold or yellow gold, keep in mind that yellow gold is softer and more easily damaged. White gold is generally harder but can be rhodium plated and that plating can chip.
Most pieces of fine jewelry come in a fabric-lined box or bag. It’s a good idea to keep those original storage items for home use. A large jewelry box can be home to many smaller fabric-lined containers, offering good protection for every piece.
If a piece of fine jewelry is very valuable and not worn often, a safe deposit box might be the best storage option.
The single best way to clean fine jewelry is to take it to a reputable jeweler for inspection and cleaning. Inspection is crucial to check for loose stones, signs of wear, and any other area of concern. Essex provides this service at no cost for every piece of jewelry we sell for the lifetime of the piece.
People can and do clean their fine jewelry at home. Methods differ depending on the metals and stones in the pieces to be cleaned. Silver can be cleaned with a baking soda and water paste to eliminate tarnish. Storing silver properly will greatly reduce tarnish.
Caring for white or yellow gold and precious gems at home is more complicated—because there are many more options. Some people swear by Murphy’s Oil Soap, others use simple dish soap. Some use hot water, some lukewarm. There are always unknowns with DIY jewelry cleaning, something important to keep in mind before setting out to scrub a diamond engagement ring.
One at-home cleaning method we recommend is using a soft cloth to wipe off fine jewelry at the end of the day or after wearing. This one simple act can decrease the frequency of deeper cleaning and keep gold looking its best.
At Essex Fine Jewelry we will help you choose the perfect piece for your budget, style, and occasion. Shopping with us is a luxury experience and we will happily guide you through the ideal care and cleaning of any piece of jewelry you purchase.