Jewelry Care

Jewelry Care

Wentworth Jewelers wants you to continue to enjoy your items from our fine jewelry collection for generations.   If you familiarize yourself with the following checklist, this should easily be accomplished.

1)      Always remove fine jewelry when working with cleaning and other corrosive chemicals.  Fine jewelry should never be exposed to bleach, ammonia and other common kitchen and bathroom cleaners. The use of gloves is not recommended because prongs and edges can easily catch and create damage when pulling gloves off.

2)      Swim with water-wings or life jackets, not jewelry. Jewelry should not be worn in pools, as chlorine can break down prongs and settings over time as well as cause interactions with your skin.   Additionally, do not wear your jewelry into the ocean where salt water, waves and sand can easily damage jewelry.  It is also a good idea to remove your jewelry before bathing or showering as the temperature or force of the water can lead to loosing jewelry

3)       When getting dressed, put your jewelry on last.  This prevents jewelry from getting snagged in clothes and hair.  Also when you wear perfume or fragrance, or use hairspray always allow up to five minutes before placing on your jewelry, as these products contain alcohol, which is particularly damaging.

4)      Pearls—Pearls are porous and thus will absorb chemicals, salts, fragrances, etc.  This causes pearls to loose their luster and can cause them to break down.. Pearls should be separated from all other jewelry, and if kept in lined drawers of jewelry boxes or placed in silk pouches (easily available), should last a life-time.

5)      Separate your jewelry either in a jewelry box (preferably lined with a non-abrasive cloth) and that contains dividers.  When jewelry is placed together, chains become tangled, and the abrasion of metal rubbing on metal can damage prongs and contribute to loosing stones.  Chains are best hung on individual hooks in a jewelry box or in closets, etc.

Cleaning Jewelry

Wearing and properly placing your jewelry will actually help keep your jewelry clean and prevent tarnish.  However, when some cleaning is necessary, use silver clothes to wipe gold and silver.  Over the counter jewelry cleaners are generally safe for all stones, with the exception of pearls and some opals.   However it is generally never a good idea to leave your fine jewelry soaking for extended periods of time.  Simply place in the container that comes with the cleaner, remove no more than 15 minutes later, and use a soft toothbrush to assist with removing build-up around stones.

Do not wear your jewelry if your ears are infected or if you have certain types of rashes or  allergic reactions.  All of these can be spread through jewelry.

Inspect your fine jewelry regularly

Inspecting Jewelry

At least once a year, inspect your jewelry.  Here are things to look for:

1)      Chains and bracelets: Look for areas where kinks, or weight or stress can weaken the chain.  Are the clasps functioning properly and are the safely catches working.

2)      Rings:  Inspect the shank to determine if any area of the band has become thin and could break.  Also check the prongs around gemstones to make sure that none have broken or worn down.  Another way to tell if you might loose a stone is to gently try to rotate a stone. If the stone moves, the setting is loose.

3)      Earrings:  Check the posts, loops, levers and backs to make sure the pieces are secure and retain appropriate tension.

Verdigris

Verdigris is the green gunk that we have probably all seen on jewelry at some time.  It is the result of moisture, makeup, and chemicals over time but it is a living bacteria that will grow and continue to cause damage.  Infected jewelry can spread the bacteria to other jewelry. Common places for verdigris are backs, clasps, spacers on chains and posts.  For this reason, it is always best to thoroughly clean vintage jewelry selected out of boxes or cases at flea markets or estate sales.   If you find verdigris, if it is on inexpensive costume or fashion jewelry, you might consider throwing the piece away.   Otherwise, it can be treated with lemon juice, vinegar and even catsup, but the process may remove finishes if the piece is not fine jewelry.