No matter how experienced you are in taking care of your jewelry, you are likely to run into challenges. Some of them you can anticipate but others can certainly take you by surprise. Whether it’s expensive gemstones, beloved costume jewelry, or sentimental antique jewelry passed down through your family, we all love our jewelry and want to take care of it.
In this blog post, we’ll outline common problems you may encounter with your jewelry, challenges purchasing jewelry for other people, and tips for avoiding issues and keeping it from being tarnished, scratched, or damaged.
COMMON jewelry CHALLENGES
Let’s start with the biggest issues - those common challenges we all face when owning jewelry. Some of these are easily managed with preventative measures while others are the result of basic wear and tear. Still, being aware of these issues is half the battle and hopefully, we’ve got the tips and tricks to keep up your sleeve if these ever happen to you.
With most jewelry, gemstones are set into the piece with metal prongs or claws that secure it into the setting. Occasionally, one or two of these will break off due to wear or damage to the jewelry. If too many of them break, you will be in danger of losing the gemstones they hold! Inspect your jewelry regularly for any potential risks for this, as jewelers or goldsmiths can simply add more metal to the setting to secure the gems once more.
RING GETTING STUCK
Haven’t we all imagined that scenario? You attempt to remove a ring and find it stuck. The ring may be too small, you’ve worn it too long and you’ve grown out of it, or maybe you’re experiencing some swelling. While it’s a scary situation, there are many ways to safely remove the ring without damaging it (or yourself).
Don’t Panic! Try gently twisting the ring to see if you can slide it off that way. If you encounter resistance, immediately stop. You don’t want to hurt yourself in the process.
Use Windex. Oddly enough, you can use Windex (a common household cleaning product) to lubricate the finger and the ring. Try sliding it off once you’ve done that.
Lubricate! If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of other options to try. We recommend petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, cooking oil, liquid dish soap, lotion, or butter.
Ice It. If you suspect your finger is swelling, then the best thing to do is reduce the temperature! Start by placing your entire hand in a cup of ice water for around ten minutes. If you can, hold your hand above your head to decrease the blood flow to it. You may want to add some lubrication as you begin to try to ease the ring off. With this method, you may need to try this several times before success.
Dental Floss. A more unusual trick, this one involves wrapping dental floss under the band of the ring, then winding it around your finger, concentrating on the area around your knuckle.
Seek Medical Help. If all other attempts fail, it may be time to seek medical attention. If your finger is swollen, discovered, or you begin to lose feeling in it, seek medical help immediately.
If you suffer from arthritis or any other conditions that can lead to your knuckles swelling or becoming enlarged, you may find it more difficult to take a ring on or off. There are solutions to this issue! If you speak with a jeweler, you may find that you can make modifications to the inside of your band that allows for an easier fitting.
SPINNING LOOSE RINGS
This is another issue that comes from the normal wear on a ring. It is a sign that your band is wearing down! If you begin to notice your ring is loose or the settings twist too frequently, you might be in danger of your ring slipping off or becoming caught on something as you move.
Being aware of the potential issue will let you know what to look for before you lose one of your favorite jewelry pieces! Fortunately, these issues can be fixed with the help of a skilled jeweler, who can resize your ring by adding metal to the band.
RING BANDS WEARING DOWN
Just like when it tarnishes, metal often begins to wear down over time and repeated use. This is especially obvious when it comes to rings. Often you see it when rings are worn together – like a wedding band and an engagement ring – so they rub against each other and wear down the metal.
Rings also wear down from daily wear as they come into contact with anything you touch. You generally see this wear on the underside of the ring or on the sidewall where your rings touch. You may notice certain areas of the band look thinner than others – a sure sign this is happening. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with a brittle, broken ring band once there’s been too much wear.
If you notice this happening, it is probably time to visit a professional. A worn-down band – or shank, as that part of a ring is commonly called – can be repaired easily by a professional. They will cut out the thin, cracked, or bent part of the ring and replace it with thicker, sturdier metal (gold, silver, etc).
The result is a flawless integration of old and new metal. You won’t be able to tell that there was ever an issue at all!
Metal isn’t fallible. Rings can be bent due to all kinds of factors. The metal can be weakened due to heat or cold or extreme pressure. Some metal, like gold, is much softer than others. It’s more common than you think to end up with a bent ring.
If one of your rings is bent, do not attempt to fix it yourself. That’s usually how you end up with a broken ring band! We recommend taking it to a professional who can repair it without running the risk of cracking or shattering the metal.
To avoid your rings bending, make sure you remove it before doing any heavy work with your hands, especially if it’s made of a softer metal like yellow gold or silver.
TANGLED NECKLACE CHAINS
One of the most frustrating scenarios in owning jewelry is reaching for the perfect necklace for your ensemble only to find it turned into a tangled mess. It’s even worse when you’re short on time and just want to look your best for an afternoon.
Untangling jewelry is a chore most of us would rather not have to face if at all possible. Likely, we've all found ourselves in the situation at least once – if not far more than that.
Untangling these chains can be a struggle – but here are a few tips to help you along:
Sprinkle baby powder on the necklace, coating the entire chain. You’ll want to use a lot, as this acts as an unorthodox lubricant to help you untangle it.
You may want to use a safety pin or a needle to ease it along if you can’t work out the knots with just your fingers.
Try Windex! Seriously, it does everything! Much like dislodging a stuck ring, you can use Windex on necklaces to help get them unknotted.
Other lubricants – like baby oil or vegetable oil – may help you ease it along as well.
More than anything, a little patience can go a long way. This can be a tedious process and very frustrating! We know exactly how you feel – we’ve all been in the same situation!
The easiest way to minimize any tangling is by storing your jewelry properly. Making sure that you are keeping chains separated enough that they can’t tangle with each other or themselves might take a little creative thinking.
Even when you travel, you should make sure you are taking care of your jewelry. (We have tons of options for that in our Traveling with Jewelry section on the site.) Without thinking ahead, you can end up at your destination with a mess of tangled chains. It’s best to make sure you’re packing each item carefully to avoid this hassle.
Take inventory of your favorite jewelry pieces regularly just to make sure they aren’t missing any gems or showing any other signs of damage that could lead to a loss in the future. Prevention is the best way to keep your jewelry in its best condition!
If you have any pieces with multiple stones, for example, this Tranquility Tree of Life Necklace, you may not immediately notice if one of them is missing. Make sure you are taking time out for a closer look every so often.
With Messages in Metal jewelry, we offer a one-year warranty on the replacement of lost stones for any of our pieces.
Most of the time, you can have stones easily replaced by a reputable jeweler. These are typically done affordably (though it depends on the missing gem!) and quickly once you recognize the issue.
BROKEN CHAINS & CLASPS
Typically, the first thing to break on a necklace, watch, or bracelet is the clasp. The clasp is a general term for the fastener of a necklace, though there are several common kinds of clasps. Some common ones include hook, toggle, magnetic, spring, and lobster claw clasps.
Because of their function, they carry most of the weight and strain from the piece of jewelry. It makes them a point where a tug at the wrong time or just everyday wear can eventually cause them to break. They also have small, delicate mechanical components involved that can snap or wear down over time.
Broken links in a necklace chain come in as a close second. Even the sturdiest metal weakens over time and it’s easy for one of them to snap under the right circumstances.
Fortunately, both these challenges are typically easy to fix!
Replacing the link. Most chains can easily be fixed by a jeweler by simply replacing the link in the chain or outright putting a new clasp onto a beloved piece. Even vintage jewelry can easily be fixed by the right professional.
Replace the entire chain. If the piece is a less expensive one or costume jewelry, you may want to simply replace the entire chain. In the case of handmade jewelry, you might want to reach out to the original designer or creator for a replacement. If you are working with sturdy metal, you can even attempt to swap out a clasp or adjust a link with a pair of jewelry pliers.
We wouldn’t recommend this on more expensive pieces unless you have experience working with these materials, as it is easy to accidentally scratch or further damage the piece.
LOSING THEIR LUSTER
Silver isn’t the only thing that can tarnish over time. Other materials, even wood or glass, can lose their shine over the years if they aren’t taken care of properly. Stones may begin to look clouded over time and metals like gold, brass, and stainless steel. Just because it’s vintage jewelry doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look fresh. It’s important to clean your jewelry regularly, even if it just wiping it down once a week!
TARNISHED SILVER JEWELRY
Silver jewelry tends to become darker – or tarnished – by oxidation of the metal. This can be caused by anything from the oils on your skin to the chemical treatments on wooden surfaces. It can be difficult to anticipate exactly what will cause it; but you'll likely see it on your jewelry from time to time! You’ll begin noticing subtle changes over time as your beloved silver pieces become duller as you wear them more often.
Fortunately, this is a quite common problem for jewelry owners. So thankfully there are many quick fixes for this issue.
Warm Water Bath. Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best! Add mild dish soap to warm water and simply place your jewelry in the bath to soak. You’ll want to soak each piece for at least 30 minutes, though you can soak multiple pieces together. Rinse the jewelry in clean water afterwards. Using a soft toothbrush, wipe the tarnished areas of the jewelry. This process should help remove the dullness. You may need to repeat the process a few times until you completely clean the jewelry.
Silver Polish. There are specialty-made cleaners for your jewelry. They are typically inexpensive and easy to find online and in stores. While using the liquid versions of these can be messy, you can find packs of small, disposable clothes soaked in the solution for a quick and easy way to clean!
Lemon Juice. Combining 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts water, you can create a solution to place your tarnished jewelry in. Adding a little bit of olive oil into the mix can help protect the metal for this, too! For this method, only leave the pieces in the solution for 15 minutes at a time. Remember to dilute the lemon juice before you use it! You don’t want to put anything too abrasive on the metal!
Baking Soda. Another popular mixture to clean your jewelry, combining three parts baking soda and one part water will make a thick, white paste. Using a clean, lint-free cloth, apply the paste to the wet jewelry and begin rubbing over the surface. Work the mixture into every part of the jewelry, including all the nooks and crannies, to remove the tarnish. Once you’ve gotten most of it off, rinse the jewelry thoroughly.
Visit a Professional! If you have expensive, beloved pieces of jewelry, it’s always better to invest a little money to have those pieces professionally cleaned. If you’re afraid that your at home methods might not work, check your local jewelry stores for referrals. This way, you can be sure your jewelry remains safe, as it will be in the hands of someone who can use professional methods – like ultrasonic cleaners! – to really bring that shine back to your jewelry. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
CHOOSING jewelry for SOMEONE ELSE
While it might not seem like it at first glance, choosing jewelry for another person can be just as challenging as any other aspect of jewelry ownership. It isn’t always the straightforward process we’d like to imagine. Like most things in the world of fashion, taste in jewelry is subjective. And highly personal.
With this part of our guide, we’re taking a look at common challenges to choosing jewelry for a friend, romantic partner, parent, or other loved one in your life. More than that, we’re going to offer helpful suggestions to overcome these challenges and find the perfect gift that will wow just about anyone!
SIZING A RING
If you want to buy a ring for someone else, the worst thing you can do is guess the ring size and get it wrong. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to determine someone’s ring size without spoiling a potential surprise for them!
The average ring size in the United States 5-7 for women and size 10 for men (though sizing varies from 8-15), meaning that there is a lot of variation. Choosing the correct size can take some work (and a little sleuthing) to get it just right!
The easiest way to get someone’s ring size is simply to ask. If you don’t want to ask the person in question because this is a surprise, then ask someone close to them! You can reach out to one of their best friends or someone close to them.
You can ask a roommate if they have one, too. They may be able to do a little snooping to figure it out if they don’t know. If you are buying for someone other than a romantic partner, you might see if that person’s partner knows their ring size (or can find out discreetly). If all else fails? Why not ask their parents!
If you live with them or visit them regularly, you can check their jewelry box or look for any stray rings laying around. While their rings might not fit you, you can always try it on and mark where the ring sits on your finger. Bring that measurement to a jeweler and you should be good to go!
If you are uncertain, it’s always better to go a size up. It’s much easier to resize a ring smaller to maintain the integrity of the metal than it is to make it larger.
Avoiding The Non-Engagement Pitfalls
This is an important note for buying jewelry for a woman or a romantic partner before you are married. If your partner has any expectation of a proposal – whether you are planning one in the future or not – then purchasing a ring for them should be done very carefully.
You do not want them to mistake your gift for an engagement proposal. That could easily end in an awkward and embarrassing situation for everyone involved.
If you suspect they have such expectations, you are probably better off purchasing another item for them. You may even want to avoid gifting them jewelry in a ring-sized box.
There are, of course, exceptions to this. If they have picked out the ring specifically or if there are other circumstances, then of course you should know best. If not? You may want to save the ring for your big moment.
SIZING A BRACELET
Much like a ring, you will need to find the proper bracelet size. Fortunately, this is much easier than choosing a ring because most bracelets have more room for error than a typical ring purchase.
It’s easier to guess at this sizing based on the approximate size of a person’s wrist compared to their overall shape and size, as wrist size often reflects that.
If in doubt, you can always select a fully adjustable bracelet, purchase an extender to go along with your gift or choose a c-shaped bracelet that does not require a full closure to be worn.
DOUBLE CHECK THE SPELLING
If you decide to invest in personalized jewelry, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you get that personalization correct.
The worse thing you can do is pick out a gorgeous personalized name necklace – our Patchwork Name Necklaces for example – and have it made to your specifications only to realize you’ve misspelled a beloved family member’s name on the form!
MATCHING SOMEONE'S PERSONAL STYLE
As we said, jewelry is a subjective aspect of a person's fashion. Everyone has individual preferences from everything from color to the types of metal they prefer.
While it might be easy to assume certain things – that all men want a flashy watch or that all women prefer big stones – you don’t want to find out the hard way that you’ve given them something they’re unlike to wear. Making a choice that falls in line with what someone already prefers makes your gift even more thoughtful and meaningful to the person.
Pay Attention To What They Wear
Everyone has preferences about certain things. Style is dependent on many factors, each one playing an important part in how a person expresses themselves. Do they prefer to wear earth tones or jewel tones when it comes to their clothing? They may enjoy certain colors over others, avoiding certain shades of red or gold depending on their complexation and fashion preferences.
Do they wear modern jewelry or prefer vintage styles? That may give you a good starting point for how to find something that complements their collection.
Three major factors to consider when it comes to jewelry style are:
Color. Many people have a signature color, or at least colors they gravitate towards in their daily wear. Sometimes, it can be as simple as preferring their birthstone over other gemstones in jewelry pieces. It could be that they like large, bold pieces with lots of colors. Some people prefer smaller, understated pieces that don’t have much color or glitter at all.
Material. Some people prefer certain metals, whether it's gold or silver-hued jewelry. Others wear both interchangeably. Before you choose what you’d like to get them, it may help to see what metals they wear regularly.
Type. Do they wear long necklaces or chokers? Do you ever see them wear rings? If the giftee does not have pierced earlobes, then purchasing earrings, no matter how beautiful or expensive they are, would ultimately be a waste.
Ultimately, they will be more likely to wear something that fits their style than something that may be difficult to pair with their existing clothing or other accessories.
Listen To Them Talk
Most people aren’t subtle about the things they like. We like to share our preferences with our friends family, and significant others quite frequently. Likely, you've already heard them talk about enjoying certain types of earrings, having a noteworthy allergy, or just expressing an interest in one style over another.
Choose For Them, Not For You
If you aren’t careful, you may find yourself purchasing something you like – and would like to see the recipient wear – rather than something they would choose for themselves.
While it’s perfectly natural to see something and think it would look good on another person, it's just as important to consider their preferences. Just because they might look good in it does not mean they’ll feel comfortable wearing it.
When in doubt, get a second opinion. If you’re trying to surprise someone with jewelry, it never hurts to ask someone close to them whether it looks like something they will enjoy.
There’s no one better to ask than someone’s best friend. Odds are, they will want you to get it right as much as you do.
Take Lifestyle Into Consideration
Think about the kind of person you are buying for and what their daily life looks like. What do they do for a living? Do they frequently dress up for work or social occasions? Are they athletic and spend a lot of time at the gym or in the outdoors?
Does this person wear jewelry at all? It might surprise you to find out how many of your friends or family don’t seem to wear jewelry unless it's for a special occasion if they do at all.
They may be the type to need durable jewelry instead of delicate styles. They may love dressing up and putting on a little sparkle to go with it. These factors all play a part in what jewelry a person reaches for when they get dressed.
Jewelry doesn’t always have to be practical (and most of the time it isn’t!), but you should try to think about how the recipient will feel about your gift and how well they can incorporate it into their lifestyle.
HOW TO PREVENT common jewelry CHALLENGES
Knowing about pitfalls you face in maintaining your jewelry collection is half the battle. But what about preventing these issues before they appear in the first place?
STORE YOUR JEWELRY PROPERLY
Storage is key to maintaining the long life of your jewelry collection. Many issues can be circumvented by properly storing jewelry at home or when you travel. While it may be an upfront cost to purchase proper jewelry containers, it will save you money in the long run.
Keep them out of extreme heat or cold. Never store your jewelry in direct sunlight, as that can damage it over time no matter what the material. The best storage options include velvet lining, as the soft material will keep your jewelry from getting scratched.
If you have space, you should consider hanging storage for your necklaces and bracelets. This will keep them separate from one another and reduce their opportunity to tangle.
It's just as important to properly store your jewelry while traveling. For tips specific to travel storage, visit our Complete Guide to Traveling with Jewelry.
HAVE YOUR JEWELRY PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED & MAINTAINED
While it is important to clean your jewelry on your own, some pieces require a professional touch from time to time. Don’t skimp on servicing your jewelry any more than you would on servicing your car!
Regular maintenance makes a world of difference, especially if you have family keepsakes or antique jewelry you want to pass down to future generations.
AVOID CHEMICALS & HARSH ELEMENTS
Never clean your jewelry with any harsh chemicals, including ammonia. These chemicals can cause discoloring on the metal and damage the structural integrity of your pieces over time. While it might be tempting to clean your gems with household cleaners, avoid this as well! It’s always better to clean them using gentle methods.
But household chemicals aren’t the only danger to your jewelry. You can cause damage or discoloration with less obvious chemicals as well. Skin products like lotions, serums, and oils can also discolor jewelry by affecting the metal.
Surprisingly enough, even body sprays and perfume effect the metal your favorite necklace or ring. Hairspray can leave a film on certain items, so be careful about spraying after you’ve put on a pair of earrings or a necklace.
Swimming in chlorinated water – such as a swimming pool or hot tub – can cause some damage as well. We’ve even seen hot springs cause issues due to the high sulfur content in the water. Combining these chemicals with hot water puts you at more of a risk for warping or discoloring the metal (or wood, glass, any other materials on your jewelry). Even hair products or shampoo can do the same, so try not to wear any of your jewelry into the shower.
Don’t leave your jewelry in the bathroom! That extra moisture can accumulate over time and lead to damages. Always make sure you store your jewelry in a cool, dry place.
If you live in a humid climate, this becomes even more important. As we discussed in our storage section, temperature control can prevent many common jewelry issues.
You should always put your jewelry on last so you can avoid inadvertently damaging it with oils or lotions. Even hand sanitizer can make a mark on your jewelry! If possible, remove your rings before using any chemical on your hands.
KNOW WHEN TO REMOVE YOUR JEWELRY
It's not practical to wear jewelry for every occasion. Even wedding bands or engagement rings need to be removed occasionally. When we bathe, work out, or sleep are obvious times for jewelry removal. However, there are also some occasions we might not think of immediately.
Any Time You Plan On Getting Wet
Moisture is the main cause of tarnished jewelry. Even the smallest amount of dampness can cause bacteria growth or other issues when it gets into a jewelry's setting and is left too long.
So, make sure you take your jewelry off when you’re bathing, swimming, doing the dishes at home, or washing your hands.
When Working With Your Hands
Anytime you are doing any physical labor – whether it’s gardening, cleaning, or even working out with weights – make sure you remove your jewelry pieces! You’ll be able to avoid scratching the metal or snapping any chains if you put those aside before you get started.
Sometimes at the end of a long day, you might want to crash before you’ve finished your evening routine. But you really should make sure you’re removing your rings, necklaces, and any dangling earrings before you call it a night.
Besides the obvious danger of having your jewelry tangle and potentially break in the middle of the night, you might end up with a ring stuck if your fingers swell while you sleep. It’s also painful to wake up with your earrings digging into your scalp and your necklaces strangling you!
RESEARCH ANY "HACKS" BEFORE TRYING THEM
There are a lot of different “hacks” on the internet, including many that are filled with misinformation or outright lies. It’s incredibly important to research anything you find when it comes to jewelry maintenance or repair.
Check your source and always fact-check anything you find that sounds too good to be true. (It probably is!)
For example, you might have seen a DIY for using toothpaste to clean your rings or pendants. Unfortunately, this can damage your gemstones or precious metals. Toothpaste is abrasive and giving your jewelry a good scrub can give it scratches as well as a good shine.
COMMON jewelry challenges FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do professional jewelers use to clean jewelry? 1
Professional jewelers typically have a dedicated process to clean jewelry efficiently and safely without ruins the integrity of the piece. They start by soaking the piece in ultrasonic cleaners, combining those with high-frequency sound waves and specific chemicals that clear away dirt and grime from the surface of the jewelry.
Then, they will polish the metal. This is done by grinding it very carefully against a large spinning wheel to remove any scratches or damage on the jewelry's surface. Lastly, professional jewelers will typically steam clean the whole thing, making sure the final product is just as shiny as when it was new!
How do you take care of jewelry?
It can be hard to know how to keep your jewelry looking bright and shiny. Most jewelry care comes down to practical tips, common sense techniques, and regular maintenance.
- Take your jewelry off before doing any activities that involve strenuous use of your hands like sports, swimming, cooking or baking for a prolonged period, gardening, or cleaning.
- Avoid using chemicals. While you probably know that harsh cleaning chemicals could damage your jewelry, you may not think about everyday things like hairspray or lotion.
- Don’t sleep in your jewelry if you can help it. You’re more likely to tangle necklace chains, damage bracelets, or even lose stones from important pieces.
- Store your jewelry properly when you aren’t wearing it. Keeping your jewelry out in the open could lead to it being misplaced or damaged inadvertently.
- Wipe it down regularly. You can never be too careful with your gems! It helps to wipe your pieces down with a soft cloth are wearing them, just to keep them clean.
How do I know if my ring band is worn down?
You cannot stop gold – and often other metals - from wearing down over time. It is simply part of the process of owning gold jewelry. The more you wear your gold ring, the more likely it is that you’ll begin to see it wearing down. Typically, this happens at the bottom of the band first, as that encounters more daily surfaces.
Your ring band may begin looking curved or thin. If you notice your ring fits more loosely than it has in the past or that some portions of the band appear thinner than others, you're likely seeing signs of wear on your ring. It may be time to get it repaired.
Do I take care of handmade jewelry the same as expensive jewelry?
Depending on how a piece is made, you might find that some handmade items are more delicate than their forged counterparts. Make sure you be mindful of any care instructions that come with your jewelry when you purchase it – and don’t be afraid to reach out to the maker if you have any concerns.
Most items can be cleaned by using some of the same DIY tricks as your expensive pieces, by applying a little bit of dish soap and making sure it’s thoroughly rinsed off. Clean your items with a soft cloth after wearing them to reduce traces of oil from your skin. Additionally, you can use a soft toothbrush to clean any areas that might attract grime or dirt.
For more information about handmade jewelry pieces, you should read 10 Things You Should Know About Handmade Jewelry.
What do I do if I can’t find a stone that I lost out of my jewelry?
Losing a gemstone from a beloved piece of jewelry can feel devastating when you realize it’s missing. However, it doesn’t have to mean your piece of jewelry is unsalvageable. If it is a small gem, you may be able to “fill in” the gem casing with a careful dollop of nail polish in the same color. With a little care, you can at least mask the missing gem until you find it or decide to replace it.
For larger gems, the best thing to do is contact a reputable jeweler to replace the gemstone. If possible, reach out to the original vendor of the item. They may be able to replace it quickly and at a smaller cost. Even if it’s antique jewelry, a good jeweler will be able to help you find the right solution.
How do I get a friend’s ring size if I want to surprise them with a new ring?
The easiest thing to do is to ask someone who might know them well! The best is someone who lives with them – like a roommate or romantic partner – or someone like a parent who might have bought this for them before. If you want to be sneaky about it, you can always ask for a closer look at a ring they wear regularly and work the subtle question into a conversation.
What kind of jewelry box should I store my jewelry in?
The way you store your jewelry depends greatly on the kind of jewelry collection you have. If you have a large collection, you may look at something extravagant like a full-size jewelry armoire. For something smaller, you could consider a set of stacking trays that can easily be stored in a drawer.
For a costume jewelry collection, any kind of storage will do. Clear containers can be nice to allow you to see what you have while small dishes are great for holding rings and even bracelets where you can find them easily.
If your collection is filled with higher-end pieces – like vintage jewelry, precious metals, and expensive gemstones – you’ll want to put more thought into how you keep them safe. Metals like gold are softer and more prone to bending or scratching, after all. For these nicer items, you want to invest in storage that protects them, usually a sturdy, adequately sized container with velvet lining to keep them from damage during storage.
When it comes to choosing a specific style, much of that comes down to your preferences and organizational approach. Create a system that you can easily find what you need and, more importantly, that you will stick to long term. Do you want to display your items or stash them out of sight? How dedicated are you to keeping similar items together?
While you may want to hold onto smaller jewelry boxes for sentimental reasons after an item is gifted to you, they can sometimes take up more space than you have. If you are keeping a lot of jewelry this way, you may want to condense your collection down to free valuable storage space.
How do you keep jewelry from tarnishing?
The easiest way to keep your jewelry from tarnishing (especially vintage jewelry) is to keep it dry from liquids and moisture. Moisture is the fastest way to tarnished jewelry, so avoid getting it wet whenever possible! You should also avoid extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, and try to store it in a dry, cool location.
What can I do to get my ring off of my finger if it is stuck?
First – don’t panic! Rings can get stuck for any number of reasons and the first thing to do is to remain calm. The first step is to lubricate the finger your ring is stuck on, preferably with some Windex (yes, the glass cleaner!), liquid soap, or in a pinch, cooking oil.
If that does not work, try submerging your hand into a cup of ice water for five minutes, then trying to remove it once again. Cold usually reduces swelling in your extremities and should help the ring slide right off.
How should I store my bracelets?
There are a few great ways to store your bracelets, though much of this depends on how much space you have and how much you’d like to spend. Here are some inexpensive, easy ways for storage that might inspire you:
- Small Trays. Stackable jewelry trays are great for space-saving storage options. You can dedicate a tray to each type of jewelry you have. There are also specifically designed bracelet trays with inset slots to insert each bracelet or bangle.
- Bracelet/Watch Rolls. If you have a collection of watches, a dedicated watch roll may be a good option. The fabric-covered, circular-shaped rolls are a tube pillow for holding your bracelets and watches without the possibility of bending them.
- Hanging Storage. Hanging jewelry organizers are good if you have the wall space for them. Your bracelets – and necklaces - can hang on these without fear of smashing or tangling any delicate items. With this, you can easily see each of your pieces without rummaging through multiple boxes.
What other jewelry options do I have if I am allergic to a certain metal?
It’s important to look for jewelry that is safe to wear when you might have an allergy. Since the most common metal allergies include nickel, copper, cobalt, and chromium, you might have trouble determining which of those are present in certain jewelry pieces. Here is a shortlist of metals less likely to trigger any skin allergies:
- Sterling Silver
- Stainless Steel
If you are worried you might have an allergy, the best thing you can do is see your general practitioner and schedule an allergy test. They are generally quick, easy, and relatively painless.
Is sterling silver nickel-free?
Yes! Sterling silver is an alloy, which means it is made of two or more metals. In this case, it’s made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. If you have a nickel allergy but still would like to wear jewelry, sterling silver is often a fantastic option for you! Just be careful that you don’t also have an allergy to silver or copper are well!
TAKING THE CHALLENGE out of JEWELRY CHALLENGES
For many of us, our jewelry collection is meaningful in some form or fashion. It represents our sense of style, our values, and often (and in the case of vintage jewelry) often connects us to our family histories. Our collections don’t have to be expensive or even expensive for us to care about maintaining them properly.
Like all important belongings, it’s about keeping them with us for as long as we can. With proper maintenance and care, you can avoid the worst of the most common jewelry pitfalls and keep your jewelry tidy, safe, and clean.
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August 5, 2021 by Conor Daniels