- Do you know what materials are used in the piece of jewellery?
It can be important to know what the jewellery piece is made from. Always ask before you buy. My daughter is allergic to zinc and I have bought her rings in the past which claimed to be sterling silver but which turned out to be zinc with a thin plating of silver and so the ring could not be worn after a short time. Next time I will be looking for solid silver!
There is no such thing as cheap gold jewellery and so if it is cheaply priced then it is probably not gold at all or very thinly plated.
You should also check any stones used – are they natural, manmade or fake? This can help you to ensure that you are paying a fair price for a piece of jewellery and knowledge also enables you to look after it properly.
- Do you tend to wear the same pieces of jewellery every day?
It is easy to sleep in the same earrings every night, particularly if they are studs, and then put on the same pieces of jewellery every day. However, you should try to ring the changes. Earrings for pierced ears can collect grime and dirt from shampoo and hair products which could potentially lead to infections as well as damage to the earrings themselves. This is particularly true of pearl studs which can easily lose their sheen.
Clean your pieces regularly with warm soapy water and a soft brush always checking for professional advice before cleaning any valuable pieces.
Wearing the same jewellery everyday does not only potentially lessen the lifespan of those pieces, but it is also very boring!
Sort out your collection. Do you have any obvious gaps that could be filled by a gift at a birthday and/or Christmas? If you are very particular, I suggest you send across some links to the different pieces you love to avoid disappointment!
Think of jewellery as a versatile accessory. Each season go through your outfits and ring the changes. The right piece of jewellery, costume or otherwise, can have a dramatic effect on the simplest of outfits.
- How often should you clean your jewellery?
Wearing jewellery against your skin and clothing whilst undertaking various activities means that, like your clothing, your jewellery will need cleaning from time to time. Grime and tarnish will gradually build up spoiling the effect so check your pieces on a regular basis.
At a minimum, pieces should be checked twice a year as the weather changes. Precious pieces can always be taken to your favourite jeweller for a proper clean. Always check how to clean your pieces safely and correctly.
- Do you wear your jewellery when swimming or taking a shower?
You should always avoid wearing your jewellery in water.
When showering it is too easy for them to slip off and get lost down the drain. Shampoos, conditioners and soap can also leave a residue on earrings, necklaces and rings overtime so it is particularly important to clean such items on a regular basis.
Stones such as pearls and opals can be permanently damaged by continued exposure to water and other chemicals.
Swimming in salt water or chlorine water can discolour silver and many gemstones and so always remove such pieces when you go for a swim.
- Do you store your jewellery properly?
Sterling silver jewellery is particularly liable to tarnish faster in humid places such as bathrooms. Any exposure of silver to the air should be minimised to prevent tarnishing.
Precious metals, such as silver and gold can easily get scratched and damaged if jewellery is just thrown together. Necklaces, especially those with a fine chain should always be fastened before storing to try to minimise problems with tangling. Softer gemstones should also be carefully stored.
If your jewellery is particularly valuable, then it is worth having it valued and insured before storing in a safe place.
Costume jewellery tends to be less valuable and so the storage options are greater. Swag-bag is a great storage solution for all costume jewellery which allows you to store rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings so that they are all clearly visible. Accessorising with your outfits becomes quick and easy with all your pieces beautifully on display.
- Do you consider the ethics behind your purchases?
Like disposable clothing, cheap jewellery may be at the expense of cheap labour working in bad conditions. Cheaper jewellery may also be badly made. Like most things in life ‘you get what you pay for’. Where possible, check out the origin of any valuable stones. If you want a quality piece of jewellery, then it could be worthwhile finding and researching an independent jewellery designer. You can often end up with a design which is totally unique to you making it even more special.