Basic Jewelry Care Guidelines


Efficient and timely care for your jewelry will prolong its shiny life for many years. This takes not so much effort but gives needed results – you jewelry is shining and it makes you shine bright as well!

Posted on May 28, 2024

Do you remember a good old joke about a dentist? A patient once asked the doctor whether he needed to brush all his teeth. The dentist replied, “Well, not all of them. Just the ones you want to save.” Of course, jewelry care is a much less serious business than oral hygiene, as it doesn’t require such commitment. With this being said, you shouldn’t neglect your jewelry care altogether. Keeping your gemstones and metals clean and untarnished means a long and shiny life for your jewels.

You can find a bunch of jewelry care rules on different websites, but they can sometimes be misleading, especially when it comes to advertising some special jewelry products. In this article, we’ve compiled a set of the most basic dos and don’ts that will help to sort things out. With our tips, you’ll be able to efficiently care for your jewelry with ease and competence.

The Seven Dos:

  1. Store your jewelry in a dark clean place with no exposure to harmful chemicals. A natural cotton cloth or a soft fabric-lined jewelry box are some of the best storage options to ensure that your pieces stay scratch-free. Don’t forget that your items should be individually wrapped to prevent them from scratching each other (this is especially important when it comes to pearls and low hardness stones).
  2. For silver pieces, you may use special jewelry tissue paper as a wrapping material, then carefully place it inside a vacuum bag or a regular plastic ziplock bag. In case the piece looks tarnished or marred, dip it in a dilute soap water solution and leave it for a couple of minutes. Gently pick it up, rinse, and dry it with a soft cotton cloth. Once the moisture evaporates, it’s safe to store the piece in a special bag or fabric pouch.
  3. Be careful when it comes to soft porous stones. Don’t oversoak them even if they’ve been exposed to some dirt. For example, opal, lapis, amber, malachite, and turquoise may change their color and even shape when exposed to water or any solution for too long. These stones are known for their porous, easily yielding structure that can absorb different chemicals from the external environment (especially if the exposure is prolonged).
  4. When caring for heavily tarnished metals, the best practice is to use a natural fabric such as cotton and a non-abrasive jewelry care product. After applying the solution, be sure to clean it away by rinsing and wiping your pieces clean. Don’t use jewelry cleaning dips or aggressive detergents on oxidized silver pieces. Always remember: the gentler you are with your jewelry, the longer it will serve you.
  5. Antique pieces require special caution. It’s easy to harm their looks if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just as with oxidized silver, you should avoid any abrasive solutions. Be careful when choosing jewelry care products and don’t apply them aggressively. Once the tarnish or any dirt comes off, rinse the piece in clean water and gently dry it with 100% cotton fabric. The only way the old jewelry will dazzle you with its shine is if you give it the respect it deserves. In extreme cases, when an antique piece is too dirty and you’re not sure how to handle it properly, you might want to use professional jewelry services.
  6. Wipe each jewelry piece clean after taking it off. You might think that it doesn’t need cleaning if you haven’t applied makeup or special creams to your skin, but the fact is that every kind of skin perspires and has a thin layer of protective sebum on top. In case you haven’t worked out or gone to the gym, chances are that even after a boring day at the office, your jewelry will be covered in a thin layer of sweat. It’s a common medical fact that our bodies excrete at least 1 liter of sweat per day even when not exercising. The amount of sweat is proportional to how active a person is and may reach up to 10 liters per day in case of intensive work (think of miners, for example). Sweat contains different metabolites such as ammonia and urea that attract all kinds of bacteria. We hope you would agree that this is an unhealthy mix for any metal or gemstone. This is why it’s important to wipe your jewelry every day after wearing it.
  7. Apply makeup or any creams before putting on jewelry. This doesn’t entirely prevent your pieces from chemical exposure, but at least it minimizes some of the risk. If you use your makeup tools while wearing jewelry, this might lead to accidental exposure, especially in the case of sprays. Precious metals and stones have a long list of chemicals that might damage their surface. If possible, put fewer substances on your skin to minimize unfriendly chemical interactions. At the same time, there’s no need to put your health at risk just to save your valuables. If you know you’ll spend a lot of time outside in sunny weather, don’t skip putting on sunscreen.

The Seven Don’ts:

  1. Do not expose jewelry to harmful chemical products, especially the ones containing bleach or chloride. For this reason, do not attend public swimming pools with your jewelry on. Any kind of detergent or abrasive cleaning product is out of the question. Even when it comes to special jewelry care products, use discretion as to what products would work best for your pieces (be especially attentive with silver).
  2. Don’t do intensive workouts in your jewelry if you want to preserve its shine. The truth is, we always perspire, but the amount of sweat depends on our activity levels. Of course, exercises are the basis of any healthy lifestyle but they aren’t exactly jewelry-friendly. If you still want to look pretty during your workout, we recommend putting on cheap pieces that hold little value.
  3. Don’t oversoak your jewelry or overexpose it to cleaning agents. If you are using a special jewelry cleaning product, carefully check the instructions and see the maximum amount of time an item can be exposed to it. Usually, a couple of minutes in a mild soap-and-water solution followed by careful rinsing and drying will do the trick even without special cleaning products. Ensure that the water that you are using does not contain chlorine or mineral salts (for the last reason, seawater is also bad for jewelry).
  4. Do not scratch the surface with your fingers, rough fabric, or any abrasives. This rule applies to all jewelry pieces, but is most crucial for pearls, porous stones with low density, and oxidized silver. Do not apply too much pressure to your pieces when drying them out with a soft cotton cloth. Do not put them on hard surfaces or against each other.
  5. Do not keep your jewelry just lying about your apartment without any appropriate packaging. Especially, avoid storing it in high-humidity environments such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  6. Do not apply petroleum-based products, common household detergents, or any chemical substances that contain alcohol, ammonia, bleach, or terpenes if you don’t want your items to lose their luster or color.
  7. Do not neglect your jewelry if you want it to be aesthetic. This is the last tip on our list, but it’s actually the most essential one. Too many people forget to clean their pieces, which leads to grime and tarnish over time. Others may wear the same jewelry at all times (even in their sleep) and forget it’s even there. And finally, some people are too careless when it comes to storing and might misplace their jewelry or even find it tangled in untieable knots. To avoid these problems, neatly store each item in its place, and don’t forget to give it a clean now and then (depending on how often you wear it).

We hope our guide was helpful to you. If you have questions about how to care for your custom jewelry piece, don’t hesitate to contact Olertis team for more information. Our experts are available during working hours and will be more than happy to give jewelry care advice. Olertis team uses only the finest materials when making your personalized pieces, which ensures their durability. The luster and aesthetic qualities will be preserved much longer than in the case of mass-produced items of poor quality. That being said, even the finest materials will lose their shine if you don’t store them properly and expose them to different chemicals. This is why you shouldn’t forget to give your Olertis pieces a soft and gentle polish from time to time to refresh their look and keep them clean.

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