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Polish and Pick: Your Handbook for Cleaning and Shopping for Jewelry

Feb 28, 2024

A hand reaching into a case to pickup a watch to show a customer.

Jewelry is more than an adornment — it’s a personal expression of your personality and often a significant, sentimental investment. It’s something you want to show off, and therefore keep looking its best. But the prospect of having such an important piece and then keeping it clean in a harmless way can be daunting. This guide offers insights into the art of maintaining your jewelry’s luster and making savvy shopping decisions, ensuring that each piece remains a cherished part of your collection for years to come. 

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Jewelry 

Maintaining your jewelry’s beauty and integrity requires regular care, tailored to each type of material: 

Caring for Precious Metals 

When dealing with precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum, regular cleaning is essential to maintain their shine and prevent tarnish. A simple and effective way to clean these metals is by using a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Gently scrub the jewelry with a soft-bristled brush, especially in detailed areas where dirt can accumulate.   

After cleaning, make sure to rinse the jewelry thoroughly to remove any soap residue and dry it completely with a soft, lint-free cloth. Regular cleaning not only keeps your jewelry looking new but also extends its lifespan. 

Handling Gemstones 

Regular cleaning maintains the brilliance and clarity of your gemstones; however, they require a bit more care due to their varying levels of hardness and sensitivity. Delicate stones such as opals and pearls should never be exposed to harsh chemicals or vigorous scrubbing. Instead, gently wipe them with a moist cloth to remove any dirt or oils. For harder gemstones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies, you can use the same mild soap solution as with metals. Be sure to rinse and dry them carefully.  

Proper Jewelry Storage 

Keeping your jewelry properly stored not only protects it from physical damage but also helps in retaining its beauty. Exposure to air and humidity can cause certain metals and stones to deteriorate or tarnish over time. Store your jewelry in a fabric-lined box or pouch where each piece is separated to prevent scratching or tangling. For necklaces and bracelets, consider hanging them or laying them flat.  

Choosing the Right Jewelry 

Selecting the right jewelry is a delicate balance of style, functionality and personal expression. Each type (rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, etc.) has specific considerations to ensure it not only looks great but also suits your lifestyle and preferences. Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for your special jewelry that go beyond choosing something for their aesthetic beauty: 

Selecting Rings 

Choosing rings involves considering both style and durability. Opt for sturdy metals like platinum or stainless steel for everyday wear, as they resist scratches and maintain their shine. If you prefer gold, higher karat numbers indicate more purity but also more softness, so 14k gold might be more practical than 24k. For gemstone rings, a secure setting like a bezel or flush setting can protect stones better than a high-prong setting. 

Choosing Necklaces 

Necklaces can transform an outfit, so consider the length and style that best suits your neckline and clothing. A versatile choice is a mid-length chain that can be adorned with pendants for different looks. For materials, sterling silver and gold are classic choices, while materials like titanium can offer a modern twist.  

When selecting pendants to style your chain, consider the size: Smaller, more delicate pendants are ideal for daily wear, while larger, bolder pieces can serve as statement jewelry for special occasions. 

Bracelets and Watches 

Bracelets should fit comfortably — not too tight or too loose. Material choices range practically everywhere, from elegant metals like gold and silver to durable options like leather and woven fibers. What you pick depends on your style (and sometimes environmentally conscious) preferences.   

When choosing watches, consider the watch’s function and the statement it makes. Stainless steel and titanium watches are durable for daily use, while a classic leather band can offer a timeless look. For a more luxurious choice, consider watches with gold accents or embedded gemstones.  

No matter what you’re shopping for, quality and craftsmanship are paramount across all types of jewelry. Look for well-made pieces that reflect your style and will stand the test of time. The right jewelry should feel like a natural extension of your personality, enhancing your appearance and expressing your individuality. 

Understanding Jewelry Value and Investment 

When considering jewelry as an investment, it’s important to think about factors like rarity and demand. Unique or hard-to-find pieces can be more valuable, especially if they have a fascinating history or are made by renowned designers. Jewelry’s investment value can also be influenced by trends and market demands.   

It’s essential to keep these pieces in excellent condition, as wear and damage can significantly decrease their value. Regular professional cleanings and proper storage are key to preserving their condition and their investment potential. 

Jewelry Shopping Tips 

For a fulfilling and wise jewelry shopping experience, consider these tips:  

  • Explore Retailers: Check out both local jewelers and online stores to compare their unique selections and payment options. Local shops offer the advantage of seeing pieces up close, while online retailers often provide a broader range. 

  • Material and Craftsmanship Inquiry: Ask about the origins and quality of materials, as well as the craftsmanship behind each piece. This can give insights into the jewelry’s durability and authenticity. 

  • Certifications and Warranties: Look for certifications, especially for precious stones, and understand the warranty terms. This ensures the jewelry’s quality and offers protection for your purchase. 

  • Compare Prices and Designs: Do a market comparison of similar pieces to choose designs that align with your personal style and your preferred payment method. 

Enhance Your Collection with Acima

Expand your jewelry collection with ease using Acima Leasing’s lease-to-own solution which is available at national and local jewelry retailers. Using a lease with flexible payment options allows you to shop for jewelry that suits your style and preferred payment method, making your accessories more attainable. Visit our website today to discover how our alternative to financing can help you be one step closer to elevating your jewelry collection to complete your favorite looks. 

Common Questions 

How often should I have my jewelry professionally cleaned? 

It’s recommended to have fine jewelry professionally cleaned at least once a year. However, for pieces you wear frequently, consider cleaning them every six months to maintain their shine and check for any needed repairs. 

Can I wear my jewelry while swimming or showering? 

It’s best to avoid wearing jewelry while swimming or showering. Chlorine in pools and hot tubs can damage metals and gemstones, and soap can leave a film on jewelry, making it appear dull. 

Is it safe to buy jewelry online? 

Yes, it’s safe to buy jewelry online from reputable retailers. Ensure the website is secure, read customer reviews, and check their return policy. Online purchases often come with certifications and detailed product descriptions.