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The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Jewelry and Accessories

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ultimate guide to caring for your jewelry and accessories

(Updated May 28th, 2016)

Your favorite jewelry and accessories sparkle and shine when you first get them. But that luster doesn’t last forever on its own, and you’ll need to perform a little maintenance to get the most out of your items, no matter what they’re made of. We’ve put together a guide packed full of the best in jewelry and accessory care resources available on the web. Check out easy cleaning and maintenance tips from the experts for everything from diamonds to plastic jewelry and more. 

Caring for ANY Type of Jewelry and Accessory 

How does jewelry and accessory care vary depending on the material? Find out everything you need to know with our comprehensive guide.  

Chapter 1: Jewelry & Accessory Care Fundamentals

Chapter 2: Incredibly Easy Ways to Keep Your Silver Shiny and Untarnished

Chapter 3: Gold: Keeping this Soft Metal in Shape  

Chapter 4: Diamonds are Forever…if You Follow These Easy Care Tips  

Chapter 5: Glass Jewelry and Accessories: Keep them Chip-Free and Crystal Clear 

Chapter 6: Easy Care for Your Sustainable and Stylish Wood Accessories  

Chapter 7: How to Treat Your Gems With Respect and Care  

Chapter 8: Your Plastic Jewelry Needs TLC Too--We'll Show You How  

Chapter 9: The Best Methods for Preventing Cracks and Scratches in Leather  

Chapter 10: Keep Your Nickel and Copper from "Greening" 

Chapter 11: Style Resources: How to look great anywhere, anytime


Chapter 1: Jewelry & Accessory Care Fundamentals  

Whether you’re wearing $1000 diamond necklaces or $10 costume jewelry, experts advise a few basic tips, like wiping down your jewelry with a soft cloth after each wear, and properly storing it in a jewelry box to protect from damage. If you’re looking for the basics of jewelry cleaning and care, these resources will help you protect your favorite pieces.  

Experts Weigh in on Popular Jewelry Cleaning Methods

Diamonds, and pearls, and gold, oh my! There are so many different types of jewelry out there, and so many different DIY ways to clean them with household items, but we don’t want you to rush into anything blindly! This article will provide you with expert opinions from Silpada Designs, Jewelry Television, and more on how to properly care for your jewelry with household items like Woolite, and dish detergent.

 Common Jewelry Care Mistakes

We all make mistakes, of course, we’re only human! But our jewelry shouldn’t have to pay the price. During the course of our lives we’ll probably make a billion or more mistakes, but if we take care of our pieces, our precious jewelry might outlive every single one of them. In order to make sure, though, you must be aware of these three common jewelry care mistakes that almost everyone makes...

 Easy Steps for Cleaning Jewelry (of Any Material)

Some of us just aren’t into those harsh chemical cleansers when it comes to anything, be it cleaning around the house or cleaning our jewelry. While they may be necessary for some of the more precious materials, this comprehensive list shows you several ways to care for and polish up all types of jewelry without any unnecessary chemicals. Be it brass, glass, lucite, polymer clay, or even feathers (that’s right, feathers), this guide has you covered.

 Summer Jewelry Care

Whether you’re swimming, surfing, or just catching a tan, it is imperative that you take care of your jewelry during the hottest months of the year. Why? Because chipped, emaciated jewelry equals no fun! In this article you’ll be given A TON of great tips on how to keep your gems safe during the summer such as: how to properly store your jewelry during travel, how creams and lotions affect your pieces, and how to properly clean them after a fun day at the beach or pool.

 6 Jewelry Cleaning Tips Jewelers Don’t Want You to Know

As a rule of thumb, taking your jewelry to get professionally cleaned a few times a year is good practice. Of course jewelry stores would rather you buy something new, or come in for a cleaning once a week, it’s good for business! Lucky for you we’ve got some awesome tricks for keeping the pieces you already own looking great. From Alka­Seltzer to consumer grade cleaners, this guide will show you the way so you can keep your pocketbook from being drained.

 Three Steps to Re-Organize and Store Your Jewelry

Organization is always a pain. If you have organization skills, you could probably charge a premium to organize some of the messes we call jewelry boxes. But for the rest of us, in hopes that our rings don’t disappear and our chains don’t end up in knots, we have to be extra vigilant about keeping our storage spaces organized and tidy. If you’re looking to store in your dresser drawers, on your dresser top, in your closet, or anywhere else, it has to be done right, and these three steps make it easy.

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Chapter 2: Incredibly Easy Ways to Keep Your Silver Shiny and Untarnished 

Sterling silver isn’t 100% silver… but it’s close. The biggest problem with silver jewelry is that it can get black with tarnish if it’s not cared for properly, just like Grandma’s silverware. No worries: the experts have easy tips for the dos and don’ts of silver care that are a cinch to follow. 

Everyday Household Items for Removing Tarnish

We don’t buy silver so it can go dull and look anemic, we buy it so it can shine—preferably forever! And forever can be a possibility, as long as you give your silver the love and attention it needs. It’s easy to get lost on the web, stumbling into many different jewelry cleaning tips that don’t actually work, but who wants that? Here are thirteen weird ways you can use household items to clean your silver and make it sparkle like the day you bought it!

Preventative Silver Care and Cleaning

The more you know about your jewelry, the easier it will be to care for it. One of the best forms of care is preventative care—why wait for something bad to happen! This article goes in depth to teach you everything you need to know about metal purity and oxidization, and how they affect the way you clean your silver. From vinegar and baking soda, to aluminum foil, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make sure you are polishing your silver in the correct way, so you’ll not only keep it clean in the moment, but prevent future wear­ and ­tear. Because when it comes to jewelry, wear and tear value is a myth.

“Green” Silver Polishing

Want a better way to polish your silver? These simple instructions show you how to clean your silver without robbing it of any of its natural shine. In this post Sheryl Ryan shows us a different take on silver polishing, sans chemicals—and she’s serious. She explains in a way we can all understand how to reverse tarnish on a molecular level, using just a few key ingredients. You’ll be like a kid in science class again, as you get to actually watch the tarnish disappear.

Storing Your Silver to Prevent Tarnish

Preventative care doesn’t stop at the cleaning stage. If you want your jewelry to stay shinier, longer you have to know how to store it properly as well. Remember, with proper care, silver jewelry maintains its quality for many years. When it comes to storage, there are long­term and short­-term methods, and which methods you use will be determined by how frequently your jewelry is worn and/or stored. These four steps will help you properly store your silver so it won’t tarnish.

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Chapter 3: Gold: Keeping this Soft Metal in Shape  

Gold’s great—it’s pretty, versatile, and usually doesn’t cause allergic reactions or skin changes. The bad side of gold? It’s soft. Below, we’ve put together a list of expert advice for keeping your gold jewelry in shape and shining bright.  

Beer: an Odd (But Effective) Cleaning Solution for Gold

You’ve heard the urban myths about cleaning your gold with beer, but are they true? Well according to this post all you have to do is use this one type of beer to get that gold to shine like new. The natural acids will do all the work! You can also use it to clean wooden furniture or you can even try this on tarnished copper pots as well. In addition to the jewelry tips, there are also eight other special uses for beer that you didn’t know about

Keeping Gold Shiny and Bright

There are a multitude of ways to keep your gold jewelry shining bright, but in this post we’ll cover six unconventional ways to do so. Whether the dirt and grime is caked on heavily, or there’s just a few unwanted blemishes, there are various ways to get it all nice and clean. From buffing, to a light rinse, keeping your gold shiny and bright is as easy as pie.

Bent Ring? How to Fix and Prevent

Bent ring? Ugh, the worst! We all like to think that gold and platinum rings are indestructible, until we take them off for a cleaning. If you’ve ever been surprised by this before, this post tells you exactly why it happens. In addition to that, it also fills you in on a few ways to fix and prevent bending. Don’t be naive and think that your rings are unbreakable—everything is bendable up to a point. Also, fun fact: most jewelers will fix a bent ring for free, read the article to find out why

The Best Ways To Clean Gold Jewelry

If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not you should clean your gold yourself, or take it to get cleaned professionally, then this guide is for you. With something as valuable as gold jewelry, you should already be aware that it’s not smart to go into things blindly. While it will be necessary to occasionally clean your gold jewelry, the less you do so the better. However, before you decide to take it in or do it yourself, consult this guide first.

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Chapter 4: Diamonds are Forever…if You Follow These Easy Care Tips  

It’s pretty hard to damage a diamond, but it’s easy to let them get dull and dirty. Diamonds are great for everyday wear, but they do need some cleaning and TLC to keep them in tiptop shape. Top blogs have the tools you need to care for your diamond jewelry, though when it comes to repair, you’ll want to trust an expert with your fine jewelry.   

The Dos and Don’ts of Taking Care of Your Engagement Ring

Picking out an engagement ring is a tall order, not to mention the whole marriage thing that comes along with it. That being said, you probably spent months (maybe even years) looking for the perfect ring. So after all is said and done, you absolutely must know the most common “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to preserving the most important and precious symbol of everlasting love you will ever own.

How To Take Care Of Your Diamond Jewelry

It’s no secret that diamonds are considered one of the hardest natural substances in the world, but they are not insusceptible to damage. Taking care of your diamonds, especially those in jewelry settings, should be a top priority when it comes to caring for your most prized (not to mention expensive) pieces. Before you jump into anything, though, read this quick guide to better understand how to do so more efficiently. It covers multiple topics such as how to correctly clean mountings, and how to prevent future wear and tear from everyday exposure.

Traveling with Diamond Jewelry 

Whether you’re planning a surprise vacation proposal or dreaming of the perfect destination wedding, it is so important to keep your jewelry safe and secure while you travel. There are several things travelers don’t think about when it comes to their jewelry, such as insurance and getting pricey pieces through customs. It’s also important to know when it’s best to just leave your jewelry at home in a safe. These are the top tips for traveling with your jewelry.

How to Clean a Diamond Ring in 3 Easy Steps 

How many times do we need to tell you, keeping your diamonds clean is so important! And we’re not talking cover it in ketchup important here... In the three easy steps covered in this post, you’ll learn how to make an educated decision about when to clean, and the best way to go about doing so. Plus the best way to clean your diamond ring(s) with homemade solution and a toothbrush.

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Chapter 5: Glass Jewelry and Accessories: Keep them Chip-Free and Crystal Clear  

Glass jewelry may be hardier than it seems, but that doesn’t mean it’s not vulnerable to chips and scratches. Sunglasses can’t be practical OR a fashion statement if they’re all scratched up or bent. Of course, you’re gentle with your glasses and glass jewelry already, but we’ve found the best tips for keeping glass clean, crystal clear, and undamaged.  

Can You Protect Your Shades’ Lenses from Scratches?

You’d think taking care of sunglasses would be easy right? Well, anybody who’s owned a pair for more than a few days knows how quickly they start to get dirty and scuffed up. Just like your favorite piece of jewelry, the best way to go about preserving your shades’ beauty is by practicing preventative care. Your glasses should be stored, handled, and cleaned properly—just like your jewelry. Read this post to find out the best way to care for your sunglasses.

Cleaning and Care of Sea Glass Jewelry

When it comes to sea glass jewelry, there are two main things to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning: maintaining the color, and, the frost that comes with these particular pieces. You’ll want to know best practices, like when to use ultrasonic cleaning and how to go about cleaning those finer pieces set on silver. This guide is a great place to start, and has some amazing tips on how to care for those frosty bits of joy with things like furniture polish and a hair dryer.

How to Keep Your New Watch in Tip-Top Shape

Watches are sometimes considered as having more sentimental value to us. They’re heavier, have actual moving parts, and in turn they require a bit more care than say, earrings. Of course this is all dependent on what kind of watch, but the consensus is that if you’re not a watch expert, you need to do your research. Luckily for you in this post from Hammer + Gem, Deanndre the author goes over best ways to keep your luxury watches in tip­top shape—from the inside out.

 

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Chapter 6: Easy Care for Your Sustainable and Stylish Wood Accessories  

Wood is natural, sleek, and sophisticated—but it’s also sensitive. Common problems with wood accessories are shrinking or swelling, scratching, and discoloration. Follow these easy tips to keep your wooden jewelry and accessories looking brand new longer. 

The Guide to Storage and Cleaning for Wooden Jewelry

Let’s be honest, wooden jewelry is where it’s at. Even if you don’t own one of our handmade, wooden watches (which you probably should), we’d still like to hope that you are in the know about the best ways to care for pieces made out of wood. Wooden jewelry is all the rage right now, being sold everywhere from Macy’s to Forever 21, and for good reason, it’s beautiful! However, wood needs to be cared for in a special way—read this post to find out the best way to make sure your wooden jewelry never loses the character that comes along with it.

Wooden Ear Gauge Care

We love organic wood jewelry! One of our favorite types in particular are gauge earrings made from wood. Because wood is so versatile and can be carved into so many different styles, it is one of the more ideal materials for making gauge earrings. But it’s also one of the most delicate materials when carved down to into those stylish pieces that you love to flaunt. This one tip will make sure your gauges don’t warp, and that they live longer and maintain their brilliance.

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Chapter 7: How To Treat Your Gems With Respect and Care 

Diamonds continue to be popular, but they’re not the be-all end-all of jewelry anymore. If you favor colorful stones like sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, and amber, you’ll want to keep them clean and scratch-free. Some gems are fairly soft and need to be treated with care. These resources from the web’s experts on gems will show you how.  

General Gem Care

Jewelry with set stones requires its own special care. With all the different types of stones it’s important that you do your research. Knowing what to do when your stones come loose is essential to great care as well. Check out these quick and easy tips to help you better care for your gems.

Gem Grooming Tips 

It doesn’t matter if it’s rubies, sapphires, pearls or opals, your gemstones need to be cared for just like everything else. Although most are extremely durable, it’s important to know the differences between them, and when it’s safe to use certain cleaning methods and when it’s not. You also need to know what the effects will be on your more porous stones when it comes to household cleaning methods, as those can get damaged more easily than the some of the more durable stones. Consult this guide to help point you in the right direction.

Care for Specific Gem Types

Effy Jewelry put together a treatment and care guide which will help you keep your jewelry in the best condition, and make sure your gemstones retain their natural beauty. It is important to note, that, they treat and enhance some of their gemstones, which is a common practice that’s used to make some pieces fuller and brighter. This comprehensive list provides a wealth of knowledge on gem care according to type, and is very well laid out—you’ll definitely want to give it a look.

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Chapter 8: Your Plastic Jewelry Needs TLC Too--We'll Show You How  

Just because some of your jewelry and accessories are plastic doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to them. We’ve found the best tips for cleaning and maintaining plastic jewelry, including vintage costume jewelry from Grandma’s jewelry box or the thrift store.  

Vintage Plastic Jewelry Cleaning

Cleaning costume jewelry is one thing, but when cleaning a piece that has aged a bit and has visible enamel wear, you have to know what you’re doing. There are several ways to clean your vintage costume jewelry with things from around the house. All you need is a steady hand, some patience, and an informed mind when it comes to the different obstacles you’ll encounter when cleaning your jewelry such as: weak settings and brackets, different types of adhesives, etc.

DIY Jewelry Repair

You might be able to easily repair your own jewelry when you have all the right tools handy at your home or in your car, but what about when you’re on vacation or out and about? Quick jump rings, and ways to sew in a pinch—among other tips—are included in this post which shows you how to repair your jewelry when you’re on the run with limited time. There’s even a neat trick to help you quickly mend some of those annoying enamel chips!

Types of Vintage Jewelry Plastics

There are six types of plastic, vintage jewelry—but does it matter? You bet it does. In this amazingly informative post, the author educates you on the two categories of plastic, and which one each type falls under. Every vintage item falls under one of the six types of plastic, and, if you’re serious about caring for your plastics, you’ll want to know exactly how and where they came from. Not only that, it’ll be nice to know why certain types of plastic look and feel a certain way, and you’ll be much more informed the next time you make a purchase. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing!

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Chapter 9: The Best Methods for Preventing Cracks and Scratches in Leather  

The golden rule of leather is to keep it away from water at all times. Cracking and scratching is the most common problem in leather bracelets, watch bands, and other accessories. The best way to prevent this is with proper cleaning, conditioning, and handling. We’ve assembled some resources for the dos and don’ts of leather care—including a few videos on how to clean and even take off your leather accessories without causing damage.  

The Strap Smith – Videos for Cleaning Your Leather Watch Band—and Taking it Off the Right Way to Prevent Damage 

Leather is tough, but it’s not that hard to care for if you know what you’re doing. Leather watch bands in particular can come under a lot of distress, since you’re constantly readjusting them and/or taking them off. Lucky for you The Strap Smith has a ton of posts and videos on the topic! From how to clean and condition your leather watch strap, to how to determine what length you need your watch strap to be, he’s got you covered when it comes to all­things­watch­strap. And not just leather too, you can learn more about watches and their straps in general, just click on the links above and check ‘em out!

Caring for leather bracelets

Just like watch straps, leather bracelets endure a lot of friction due to everyday use, and preventative care is necessary if you want those tough little guys to last very long. Whether your bracelets are smooth or braided, there is one obvious tip to keeping them clean: keep them away from water at all times! But what about when they start to get a bit dirty, how do we go about cleaning them? Read this post to learn the best way to care for your leather bracelets. 

Cleaning, Storage, and Care of Leather Accessories & Bags 

If you own a leather bag or accessory, I hate to break it to you, but scratches to leather cannot be prevented. So you can either stay away from sharp or metallic objects your whole life, or stay away from leather bags. But they’re so pretty! So let’s go with neither and learn how to best care for our accessories. Natural water splashes, dirt, dust, extreme temperatures—it is all covered in this post about caring for your leather accessories.

10 Great Tips for Keeping Leather Shoes from Cracking

Among the many great things made from leather, shoes are one of the best. Leather shoes are—just as leather itself—durable, beautifully stylish, and usually constructed by hand with quality workmanship. There are a few caveats, though, since you know, we wear them on our feet and all! You can run into a handful of problems with leather shoes such as cracking and spotting. Here are ten great ways to make sure your shoes last a lifetime!

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Chapter 10: Keep Your Nickel and Copper from "Greening" 

Believe it or not, jewelry made from everyday metals like copper and nickel actually require more care than their more expensive counterparts—often turning green or black without proper attention. Because most people can’t afford to have an accessory wardrobe of big-ticket items alone, you should know the basics of maintaining your less expensive pieces for as long as possible—even if that’s just a year or two. Look to these resources for information on keeping your costume jewelry and nickel or copper pieces bright, shiny, and functional.  

The Guide to Cleaning (and Refinishing) Costume Jewelry 

Is your costume jewelry changing colors? Is it worth being replated? Why does it change color in the first place? This post covers these common questions and more, as well as how to clean your most prized pieces of costume jewelry, how to store them, and what combination of chemicals is best for cleaning. You’ll also be given tips on how to prevent damage and wear when getting ready for a night out.

The Trick to Keeping Inexpensive Jewelry from Turning Your Skin Green

If you’ve ever been out and about and had your inexpensive jewelry turn your skin green, you know how embarrassing it can be! There is however, one little trick to keeping yourself safe from the green circle of death, and it is so easy you won’t believe it

Fixes for Broken Costume Jewelry

Broken costume jewelry, it’s almost inevitable. It happens to everyone, so don’t beat yourself up! Instead of rushing to the store and buying another piece for your night out, there’s a quick fix so simple that you’ll be surprised is so easy. All it requires is a few twist ties, some ingenuity, and an open mind.

Vintage Jewelry Care

It is no secret that your vintage jewelry requires special care. Whether you’re looking to preserve your great­grandmother’s engagement ring or looking to collect antique jewelry, this is a wonderful place to start. With each piece being so unique and requiring different ways to be cleaned, this guide shows you how to care twenty two different kinds of jewelry!

Protecting Your Purchase with an Easy Hack

We shouldn’t buy our faux, gold jewelry just to throw away as soon as it starts to chip and turn our skin green. With this easy hack you’ll not only extend the life of your jewelry, you’ll make glossier and more shiny. Don’t let your pieces waste away, protect them and let them live long, healthy lives!

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Chapter 11: Style Resources: How to look great anytime, anywhere

Not sure how to make great combinations of clothing, jewelry, and accessories? No worries! We know there countless ways and now that you know how to care for your jewelry, let these bloggers show you how to wear it. 

The Jewelry Loupe

Since 2009 the Jewelry Loupe has been serving up some of the best content for jewelry enthusiasts. From jewelry made with alternative materials, to “high jewelry,” there’s a deep well of knowledge over on the site, and despite her blooming career as editor­-in-­chief at Accent Magazine, as well as being a contributor to various jewelry pubs, Cathleen still updates the Jewelry Loupe weekly.

Jewels du Jour

When it comes to auctions and events in the world of jewelry, Jewels Du Jour is where you can catch all of the action. They are at the top of their game with event reviews, the hottest news on exhibitions, and have a beautifully laid out calendar for you to peruse. Their jewelry dealer directory is also a handy tool as well.

Gem Obsessed

If you “dream of emeralds and alex and rites” then you’ll feel right at home over at Gem Obsessed. As I’m sure you gathered from the title, this site is all about those beautiful gems we all fawn over. With short succinct reviews of some of the hottest pieces out right now, and beautiful pictures to go with them, this site is a must­ see for any jewelry collector or enthusiast.

Moderosa

Roos­Anne van Dorsten is the founder and owner of MODEROSA, a great lifestyle and fashion blog. She writes about her looks and outfits, inspiration, interior and beauty finds. She’s got a great site, and a wonderful YouTube channel full of tips and tutorials as well. Lovers of monochrome style clothing and street­fashion should definitely check her out.

Accessories Gal 

Emily Kammeyer is your gal for anything and everything accessory. She’s a designer who lives in New York, and her posts about fashion and beauty accessories are super informative and insightful. Check her out on Instagram and Pinterest as well!

Teaching Mens Fashion

Teaching Mens Fashion is a YouTube channel started by two latino brothers who wanted to share their passion and enthusiasm for fashion. They are quickly becoming rising stars in the men’s fashion and development niche. Their videos include grooming tips, best practices for hair, and of course they’ve got plenty of fashion tips.

Clothes Encounters

Jenn is an awesome Korean American lifestyle and fashion blogger. She uploads weekly vlogs, as well as bi­monthly beauty and style tips. Her videos are very informative and creative. Check out her videos on chokers, sneakers, berets, and... trash bags?

From Head to Toe

Another great YouTuber with a plethora of makeup tips, and beauty reviews. In addition to her informative tips and reviews, she also has a great fashion look book collection, and her “Get Ready With Me” series is also highly recommended, and fashion friendly.

Hey Claire

Claire Marshall is an LA based makeup artist as well as a very successful fashion and beauty vlogger. Her channel “heyclaire” has a ton of stuff, but her fashion uploads are amazing. She’s got videos that are centered around her “Outfit of The Day,” as well as in­-depth reviews about seasonal styles—and tons of cameos from her adorable cat Bruce!

Sarah Belle

Sarah’s fashion vlogs are accentuated with her bubbly personality, and wonderfully creative and fun—just like her YouTube thumbnails. Her lookbooks and “Get Ready With Me” videos are just as fun to watch as I imagine it is to hang out with Sarah. She is knowledgeable about everything from brand names, to cheap street fashion that looks great.

 

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