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How to care for your jewellery

How to care for your jewellery

Whether it’s a family heirloom or gift from someone you love, a piece of jewellery can be one of the most treasured possessions you own. No matter what the value, it’s important to maintain your jewellery and keep it in the best condition possible.  
Here’s our guide covering some of the best ways to care for your jewellery.  

Chris King
From the Home Team
minute read
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Posted 2 SEPTEMBER 2019

How to clean your jewellery

What you’ll need:

  • Washing-up liquid 
  • a small brush – a soft-bristled toothbrush is ideal 
  • a soft, lint-free cloth
  1. Place the jewellery in a bowl of warm water mixed with a small amount of washing-up liquid and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. 
  2. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to gently dislodge any dirt or grime. 
  3. Rinse under warm, running water. 
  4. Pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. 

You can also use a silver polishing cloth to restore the shine on silver items. Silver polishing cloths can be bought from a jewellery shop. They leave a protective finish on polished silver that helps delay tarnishing.  
Silver polishing cloths should not be used on matt- or satin-finish jewellery.  

Cleaning pearls 

Pearls are porous so they shouldn’t be soaked in water.

  • Hold your pearls and use a make-up brush to gently clean them with a mixture of mild shampoo and warm water.  
  • Wipe off the water with a soft, white cloth and lay the pearls on a towel to dry.

Be gentle when cleaning any jewellery, especially pearls. If your jewellery is valuable or precious, you might want to consult and expert jeweller for advice.

How to store your jewellery

Your jewellery should be stored away from sunlight or heat sources in a dry, cool area. Never store jewellery in the bathroom as humidity can tarnish and stain it.  
Storing your jewellery in purpose-made jewellery boxes or pouches will minimise air flow, while soft, velvet or felt lining will protect your pieces from scratches, knocks and dust.  
To prevent necklaces from tangling, store them individually, either laid flat in lined drawer compartments or hang them from specially designed jewellery hangers.  
Pearl necklaces should be stored flat in a soft-lined box. The box shouldn’t be airtight, as pearls need some air flow to prevent yellowing. Don’t hang your pearl necklaces, as this can stretch the delicate silk thread.  
If you’re taking your jewellery with you when you travel, use zip-lock polyethylene plastic bags or a jewellery pouch to safely pack your precious pieces. 

Wearing your jewellery

Jewellery can be affected by cleaning agents, chlorine, salt water and perfumes, which can speed up the tarnishing process.  
Tip on how to care for your jewellery:

  • Remove jewellery before going for a swim or taking a shower or bath.  
  • Remove jewellery before using cleaning products, especially household bleach.  
  • Apply body moisturisers, make-up and perfume before you put on your jewellery.   
  • Avoid using perfume and creams when wearing pearls – the slight acidity can damage the outer layers. Don’t wear pearls when sunbathing, as the heat of the sun will cause them to dry out and discolour.  

Keeping your jewellery secure

Jewellery is an obvious target for opportunistic burglars, so make sure your home is properly secure and valuables are kept out of sight.  
If you’re away from home a lot or have particularly valuable items, consider investing in a small safe to store them in.

Insuring jewellery

Jewellery can be covered by your contents insurance. 
Most insurance providers have a ‘single item limit’ – for example, £1,500 – which is the most they’ll pay out for one single item. Each individual piece of jewellery that’s worth less than the single item limit will be covered by your standard contents insurance, up to the overall cover levels your policy provides.  
However, if you have any items that are worth more than the limit, such as an engagement ring or diamond necklace, they’ll need to be listed separately on your contents insurance to ensure they’re covered to their full value.  

What else to consider when insuring your jewellery:

  • Accidental damage cover is an optional extra that can cover the costs of repairing or replacing your jewellery if any pieces are damaged. 
  • If you’re taking items of jewellery on holiday with you, check whether ‘away from home’ cover is included in your contents insurance. This is usually known as ‘personal possessions’ cover. Some providers offer particular cover for items taken outside the UK – check your policy documents to see if any limits apply to the length of time you’re travelling or the countries you’re visiting.
  • If you’re considering travel insurance to cover your jewellery while you’re away, check the limits of cover offered within the personal possessions element of your home insurance (as well as the excess on the travel policy). You may find you already have sufficient cover for your jewellery under personal possessions insurance. You might still want to get travel insurance for the other elements of cover it offers. 

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