An industry expert’s advice on how to maintain your jewellery
With proper care and maintenance your jewels can last forever. A little effort in prevention will save you from many troubles down the road. Therefore, we have prepared a guide for jewellery owners who wish to take the best possible care of their jewels. Read further and learn how to ensure your collection stays brilliant for as long as possible.
Prevent accidents to ensure your jewel’s longevity
When to put down your jewellery?
To prevent your jewels from wear and tear, it is important to know when not to wear them. Generally speaking, any activity involving physical effort, manual work, strong heat, chemicals, and dirt can blemish your jewellery. Even worse, you risk permanent damage through shocks or scratches.
Our first tip is to have small jewellery trays around the house at strategic places that will act as a reminder. A delicate tray by the kitchen sink will remind you to take off your rings before doing the dishes. This will save your rings a lot of scratches in the long run.
A fine trinket box by the bathroom sink will save you from the devastating fall down the drain. So many sad mistakes could have been avoided with simple prevention. “Just this time” will quickly become a habit.
The world of jewels is full of people who lost a jewel while swimming or broke a gem while gardening, whose rings got scratched or gem chipped while cleaning the dishes. So many pearls are irreparably damaged because they have been sprayed with perfume every day. More dangerously – some people get hurt because they wear their jewels while doing sports!
So take off your jewels when you expect any risk! If there is a possibility of them getting loose, dirty, choked, scratched, or getting in contact with your beauty products and other chemicals – take them off! Everything can be repaired but it can come at a great cost if you have to replace a damaged gem. Investing in a beautiful trinket box can save your jewels from damage.
Why And How To Inventory Your Jewellery
Just like with any other personal asset, you should inventory your jewellery collection.
Doing so makes it much easier to keep track of the value of each jewel, their provenance, what they are made of, who made them, their certificates with issuance dates and when to renew them, and finally how to maintain them. As your collection grows, so does the need to inventory it.
An inventory comes in handy in case of a sale or passing down, but also for maintenance or insurance purposes and in the event of a jewel going missing. Keeping an inventory of your jewels is not difficult. The easiest thing you can do is photograph every piece of jewellery and keep a photo album. You can also include receipts, certifications and appraisals of your jewels.
Inventory your jewellery like a modern pro with our digital jewellery maintenance kit
Pro Tip : Write down your jewel’s story!
Write down the story behind the acquisition of your jewels. The sentimental story of a jewel is often greatly valued by descending generations. Indeed, it is stories that keep someone’s memories alive in our hearts. Even those we didn’t get the chance to meet in our lifetime.
If you are the more tech-savvy type, consider a simple Excel spreadsheet. Our team prepared a practical digital kit for jewellery maintenance, which includes a template spreadsheet for your jewellery inventory! With it, you can assign all the relevant information about your jewels and neatly sort them into rows and columns.
Why And How To Inventory Your Jewellery
Unfortunately, some accidents are outside of your control. Statistically, thefts at home mostly concern cash and jewellery. Insurance is one of those things we hope to never need, but when we do, we are glad it is there. When it comes to jewellery, the very minimum is to adjust your homeowner’s insurance to the value of your jewellery collection for theft.
Despite the fact they mostly only cause material loss, home thefts can be a traumatising event because of the sudden feeling that “home” is no longer a safe place. The additional loss of a jewel comes with the frustration of a financial loss but also, more painfully, a sentimental loss.
When you lose a family heirloom, whether by accident or by theft, the loss can come with great sadness. And most often it also comes with a bitter taste of shame for having lost something precious that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a painful loss to lose a jewel you were entrusted to safekeep for your children and theirs. Though the sting and sadness will fade they will not disappear, you simply learn to accept. As Elizabeth Bishop put it so beautifully in her poem, One Art: “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster”.
No one can insure you against the sentimental loss, but at least the financial losses can be mitigated. However, insuring your jewellery for theft and damage can come at a high financial cost, so it is important to choose wisely which jewel is worth being insured separately.
Usually, a receipt for your jewel and related certificates are sufficient to prove its worth to the insurance company. If you believe your jewel is worth more than what you bought it for, have it appraised by an independent expert and discuss the further requirements with your insurer. Insurance brokers tend to increase their fees year after year. For this reason, you may want to take a look at what the competition is offering. Then, renegotiate your insurance contract or simply change your insurance company.
Looking for someone to appraise your jewelry independently? OnlyJewels is happy to assist you. Get more information about jewellery insurance
Jewellery Storage & Safekeeping
Jewellery care does not stop when you take them off. Storing jewellery in an organized manner makes it easier to visualise a collection. The ability to see all of your jewels in one designated place is important. This helps you decide what to wear and helps you keep track of what you have at all times.
The best place to store jewellery is either in their original packaging box or in a larger jewellery box with multiple compartments adapted to each type of jewels. This way none of the jewels can touch and scratch each other. Storing your jewellery in a dry container, away from moisture, dirt and sunlight will ensure the longevity of your pieces, even when you do not wear them for a long time.
It is important to keep your jewellery in a safe space. Especially away from the sight of children. Shiny jewels can be tempting to play with, or worse, swallow. Children love to explore their parents’ rooms therefore one must get creative to invent good hiding spots for jewellery or simply use a lock.
Most often people keep and display their jewellery in a locked compartment in their dressings, but you could also buy specialized items like a secret book safe or picture frames on the wall with a hiding compartment. You might even consider a safe and a security alarm system for your home if you are concerned about robberies.
Discretion also goes for disposing of non-reusable branded jewellery packaging. Indeed, many professional burglars identify their targets by going through a household’s waste. Jewellery packaging and certain brands are definitely a signal for them. Security experts will often advise you to have a dog, whose bark may scare off non-professional burglars.
All this said, your home security will probably not top your bank’s. Therefore a wise complementary measure is to safe-keep your jewellery in a bank safe deposit box. This will allow you to keep a selection of jewels at home and change it every now and then. We strongly recommend it when your jewellery collection’s value surpasses your homeowner’s insurance policy limits.
To ensure complete safety for your jewels in an elegant and personalized fashion, see the OnlyJewels shipping box selection
Travelling With Jewellery
Every now and then, you will have a special occasion to take your jewels with you when travelling. When you travel with jewellery, you want to take precautions to avoid damage or losses. Safety should be your first priority.
First of all, think of how not to let your jewels get tangled in one another. You can easily avoid scratches and entangling by using a dedicated jewellery travel pouch. It usually has separate compartments for all types of jewels and is made of soft but resistant material to hold your jewels.
Transport your jewellery in your handbag, to avoid letting it remain unattended in some other luggage that might get lost or opened. Of course, you do not want to carry all your jewels at all times in your handbag. So, book a room at a hotel that offers safes to its customers. Depending on where you travel you may want to adapt your local transportation methods. It can be challenging to become aware of all the local safety rules when you travel. Some travellers may also simply consider replacement jewellery. For example, you can have an alternate engagement ring set with a zircon made only for travel. It wouldn’t be as bad as losing the original.
You still want to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Again, your hotel should be able to find you a trustworthy driver or guide and help you with any safety matter. For more ease, consider a luxury concierge, not only do they offer assistance in every aspect of travelling, but they usually have a 360-degree lifestyle offering to assist you with almost anything you could need.
Illustration & editorial by Daniel Román
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful. This is the second instalment of the Only Jewels 3 part guide concerning jewellery care.
- An Expert Jeweller’s Advice for Cleaning Jewels Safely at Home
- How Do Professional Jewellers Clean & Maintain Your Jewellery?