December 24, 2019

It’s one thing to own some really nice jewellery that means a lot to you and your family; it’s another to ensure it remains sparkling and keep that luster. But how do you properly clean and preserve your precious metal jewellery?

We at Muzeum have a long history of preserving precious treasures and memorabilia, thanks to the many sellers who entrust us with their most valuable items when it comes time for them to get some cash for their jewellery. Below are some tips on how to best clean and store your bedazzling items in the hope of keeping them around for decades.

Don’t mix chemicals and jewellery

If you like to wear your jewellery often, as opposed to keeping family heirlooms tucked away somewhere safe in your home, you should avoid using harmful chemicals that could damage your necklaces, rings and bracelets. For example, perfume and cologne often have chemicals that could change the colour of certain precious metals.

As a column from InStyle writes: “The oils found in perfumes tend to stick to the faceted surfaces of diamonds, dulling their shine. As some of the most beautiful, natural gems in the world, opals and pearls are best not exposed to fragrances, which can cause them to darken or yellow.”

Also, cleaning products often contain ammonia, which can be particularly damaging to jewellery. And the chlorine in cleaning products can discolour gold and silver, with the latter being especially susceptible to ammonia’s harmful properties.

Watch out for the elements

Exposure to the elements (water, air, dirt, heat) can definitely hurt some jewellery. Silver tarnishes when exposed to direct sunlight, and salt water erodes the finish of many gemstones. Heat can mess up the colouring in certain gems and degrade some metals. Ensure your precious wearables aren’t facing some sudden temperature changes.

While we all recognize how dirt can make your jewellery look less than stellar, if you’re a beach fan then you should be aware of how sand is abrasive and can have a major effect on plated jewellery, whether it’s gold-plated, rhodium-plated, or vermeil.

Cleaning house

You may have come across various ways to clean your jewellery, from vinegar to toothpaste to beer. Yes, beer. But we tend to paraphrase the KISS principle here – Keep It Simply Simple. It’s recommended to clean your gold jewellery with soap and water and an unbleached white cotton cloth. 

Pay a lot of attention to any areas with marks or tarnishes. You don’t need to apply a lot of muscle to this type of cleaning. Gentler is better. Then lay your jewellery on a towel to dry, and let them dry naturally. Like we noted before, make sure the items aren’t in contact with direct sunlight.

Also, as tempting as it may be, it’s not often a good idea to soak jewellery, because leaving metal in water can cause tarnishing or rusting.

You should also be aware that Muzeum offers free cleaning services for your jewellery or prized possessions.

Convenience storage

One of the major mistakes some novice jewellery collectors make is bagging all their items loosely in a bag or container. We advise separating your jewellery into individual bags or small boxes, such as padded velvet slots for rings. We know many people who use posts or hooks to hang their necklaces and bracelets. 

When it comes to silver, a key consideration when trying to prevent silver jewellery from tarnishing is keeping the goodies dry and separated from potentially tarnished jewellery. 

If you like, store this jewellery neatly in a drawer with several of those silica packets you get when you buy a pair of shoes. If you are feeling more DIY-like, you can use felt or cotton and sew little pouches so you can quickly open them up to see what is inside.

If you travel with your jewellery, you should separate your items and place them in individual plastic bags. That way, any baggage jostling won't damage your collectibles.

Better safe than sorry

You always need to keep your jewellery storage safe from prying eyes. Some people go the extra mile with safes or lock-and-key boxes, while others keep their precious goods in a room that can only open with a key. It’s up to you how stringent you want to be with your keepsakes, but an easy rule to follow is, “Put your jewellery in a place you don’t think burglars would find them.” 

Every home is different so be creative with selecting the right spot to safeguard your gold and silver jewellery.

Don’t neglect your collectibles

It’s easy to often forgot about the jewellery you own, especially if don’t wear the item often. So we recommend checking in regularly with your jewellery to assess their condition and identify any wear and tear.  

Watch out for weak clasps and worn strings, tarnished rings and loose gemstones. Ensure that any weaknesses or damage is repaired as soon as possible.

If you wear your items at events and especially outdoors, keep careful watch over how your wearables interact with the environment around you. Necklaces and rings often face the consequences of drink clumsiness, such as spilled wine or even falling down onto something hard, so be extra cautious when wearing your Sunday finest.

By being proactive with cleaning your jewellery, you can keep fresh these collectibles whether you wear them regularly or want to sell them down the road when times get tough.

If you want more advice on how assess the value of your jewellery, or if you have inquiries about selling your items at any point, be sure to get in touch with us by emailing info@muzeum.ca


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