Caring for Heirloom Jewelry: How to Keep Gems and Stones Shining

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While I love what a good piece of statement jewelry can do for an outfit, I usually stick to a few classic items for everyday wear. Diamond studs, my grandmother’s engagement ring (now set into a necklace), and a sapphire ring are my go-to adornments.

These heirloom pieces – passed down from generation to generation – have both sentimental value and price tags I’m in no position to replace should disaster strike. While a semiannual trip to a professional cleaner is in order, here are a few ways you can care for cherished jewelry at home:

Make your own cleaner. Whip up this recipe by combining things you already have in your cupboards, then soak the jewelry for 5 – 10 minutes.

Use a treated polishing cloth. Just pay attention to what is in your chosen cleaner. Some chemicals may be great for metals, but not for soft or delicate stones like opals or pearls.

Take care while getting ready. Think critically about when you put your jewelry on in the morning. Everyday dirt, oils, and product chemicals can dull down jewelry, so make small changes to your routine to avoid this. Waiting until after you apply hair spray, makeup, or perfume to don your pieces can help maintain the longevity of their shine.

Avoid moist settings. This goes without saying, but when you’re heading to the beach or pool, leave your jewelry at home. Too much can go wrong.

By Lauryn Paiva, Staff Writer

Do you have any tips for caring for heirloom or vintage jewelry? Share in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 21, 2013