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How To Care For Jewelry

by Sarah Kester - March 22, 2022

Gold jewelry and stackable necklaces and rings are having a moment. From adding a subtle statement, to dressing up sweatpants These could be delicate necklaces, stackable rings, or gorgeous gold hoops that would make Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls jealous.

Despite the significance of our favorite pieces, most of us were never given a guide on how to take care of jewelry. Until now. From storage options to engagement ring advice to what to take off before showering, exercising or sleeping, consider this your ultimate guide! So, whether you’ve started to save up and purchase staple gold jewelry, have found a budget sweet spot with gold-filled or are newly engaged, here’s where to start.

Welcome to jewelry 101.

What types of jewelry can you shower, sweat or sleep in?

While the significance of your jewelry stands the test of time, the overall condition won’t if you don’t take care of it. According to Beverly Price, founder of Nastava Jewelry and intuitive designer, you can shower in 14 karats (KT) gold, 14KT gold vermeil and platinum. She recommends against purchasing gold- and silver-plated jewelry as these can chip easily. If your heart is set on this kind of jewelry, she says to look for a company that offers a lifetime guarantee. This way, plating that wears off can be replaced at no extra charge.

Sweating, on the other hand, isn’t as forgiving to jewelry. It’s hard from a cleanliness standpoint, which is why Price suggests buying a jewelry cleaner (a no-cost option is to rinse the jewelry with water to remove traces of dirt). It’s important to note that jewelry cleaner isn’t suitable for all jewelry types. “For example, you don’t want to put pearls in one for potential damage,” Price says. “I would also avoid tight jewelry, such as chokers and bracelets for comfort while sweating.”

Since you’re likely to sweat at night, it’s recommended to take jewelry off before bed. Consider it as part of your nighttime routine — first makeup, then jewelry. 

When do you need to take off your engagement ring?

If you’re of the “’till death do you part” mindset when it comes to your ring, you’ll be relieved to know that the general rule of thumb (pun intended) is to keep it on. This is especially the case for solid gold, gold-filled or white gold rings, according to Melissa Randazzo, owner of True Warrior Jewelry.  

Of course, there are some scenarios where you should briefly take off your ring. For starters, when you’re putting on lotion. “Lotion can make its way underneath the diamonds and cause some discoloration,” Randazzo says. The same goes for soap residue, so make sure to always wash hands well. 

Another scenario is any situation that makes your fingers swell, such as intense exercise (or, in some cases, pregnancy). If your ring cannot come off, getting the ring resized is the best option for your circulation, says Price.

Finally, any activity that may loosen the prongs of the ring and harm or loosen the stones. Whether you wear your engagement ring 24/7 or remove it as suggested, Price recommends getting your prongs checked by a reputable jeweler for the safety of the stone once every one to two years. Since that rock likely wasn’t cheap, also store it in a safe space when you take it off and consider investing in jewelry insurance.

 

What do you need to take off before showering/sleeping?

“Remove gold- and silver-plated jewelry, large statement pieces and long necklaces when showering or sleeping,” says Price. This is as much for comfort as it is to avoid harming the pieces. You also want to remove delicate jewelry (i.e., a thin cable chain) before sleeping or showering. “If your jewelry is very delicate, it can snag on your hair or clothes during the night and can break it,” Randazzo tells Lively.

how to care for jewelry

How should you store your jewelry?

A special piece of jewelry deserves a special place. That’s where a jewelry box comes in. Price recommends storing your jewelry in something that protects the stones and metals. “Stones can chip or scratch the same way plated metals can,” she says.

A few options include a fabric jewelry bag, a drawer divider with velvet or other soft fabric, a jewelry box with dividers, or the original boxes that the jewelry came in. Avoid hard storage containers and be especially careful when traveling; you don’t want the stones and metals to rub up on each other. Finally, do whatever it takes to avoid a tangled necklace. In addition to being extremely frustrating to take apart,  Price says that tangles weaken the chain. 

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