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The Ultimate Guide to Preventative Jewelry Maintenance

jewelry maintenance, preventative jewelry maintenance, jewelry cleaning, LGBT jewelry, alternative jewelry, unique jewelry - Ilah Jewelry Blog

Treating fashion and fine jewelry with the utmost care by practicing easy-to-follow steps helps preserve the value and beauty of your most treasured pieces. Taking care of your unique jewelry with preventative jewelry maintenance will extend its life, making it look pristine and brand new every time you enjoy it. Preserve your jewelry for longer by incorporating these basic rules into your daily routine. 

This informative blog post will cover the following areas of jewelry maintenance:

  • Gold and Platinum
  • Gemstones
  • Opaque Stones
  • Diamonds
  • Pearls
  • Sterling Silver
  • Sleeping
  • Swimming
  • Exercising
  • Key Takeaways

This article also covers alternative jewelry maintenance for some unique jewelry designs. Having a hand in jewelry maintenance, cleaning, and proper care will help your fine jewelry look its best for years to come.



Fine jewelry refers to jewelry created with precious metals (platinum, 10/14/18/24 karat, and colors of gold and silver). Fine jewelry may feature natural diamonds, artificial diamonds (lab-created diamonds), and simulated diamonds (moissanite).

Genuine semi-precious and precious colored stones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds, quartz, pearls, and gems in fine metal mountings are part of this category. Fine jewelry also includes fine metals with synthetic colored stones (synthetic sapphires, rubies, emeralds), faux pearls, and opaque stones (turquoise, malachite, for example).

So what doesn't count as fine jewelry? Costumes and fashion jewelry are not fine jewelry. Rather, they're an affordable alternative jewelry option for budget-conscious people. Fashion jewelry is composed of zinc, aluminum, brass, and copper alloys with no fine metals. Simulated gems (plastic or glass-colored stones), cubic zirconia, and epoxy resin look-alike stones are a part of this alloy metal fashion jewelry category.

You can protect gold and platinum jewelry with a few simple jewelry cleaning methods:


Warm Water

Jewelry cleaning using warm water, diluted non-abrasive mild liquid detergent/soap, and a soft brush/cloth. Help keep your fine jewelry clean by wiping out debris. Run under cool water and pat dry to wash away build-up and bacteria.


Professional Evaluation

Take your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler for evaluation and professional jewelry cleaning or using an ultrasonic if applicable (practice with caution).



Consider tightening the prongs, re-tipping the prongs, and checking to see if any other stones are loose in their settings. This examination will keep all of your stones secure and properly placed in the mountings, providing an easy alternative jewelry method for jewelry maintenance.


Resizing and Cleaning

A professional jeweler can fix broken locks or chain links, buff out scratches, and repair broken designs. They can resize a ring using several methods for a more comfortable and proper fit and replace or reset the stone/diamond. In special cases, they can even change the color of the metal and remove tarnishing.



Gemstones refer to minerals, rocks, and organic matter (pearl and shell), chosen for fine jewelry designs based on their physical attributes and jewelry-making suitability. Gemstone suitability must include being durable enough to be set into a mounting. The Mohs hardness scale ranks the scratch resistance of gems from 1-10. One is talc (the softest), 10 is a diamond (hardest), with many gemstones ranked in-between.

Heating, fracture-filling, and other treatments enhance or change the color of the stones, minimize the inclusions, and increase their innate natural beauty through technological advancements.

Do not place gemstones into an ultrasonic as this may damage the stone's exterior or interior treatments. Gemstone jewelry should not be exposed to saltwater (the beach), cleaning agents, and chlorine. These harsh agents can dry out or fade the stone when you practice jewelry cleaning.



Opaque stones are stones that are not translucent or transparent and do not allow light to pass through. This category includes turquoise, malachite, lapis, howlite, jade/nephrite, and all chalcedony varieties (jasper, agate, onyx, and carnelian). Both fine jewelry and fine-fashion unique jewelry (gold plated) utilize these versatile stones.

Because these gorgeous stones often receive treatment, they should not sit in an ultrasonic or liquid jewelry cleaner during cleaning. Opaque gems should not be exposed to saltwater (the beach), cleaning agents (bleach, household cleaners), and chlorine.

Wiping your opaque stones with a warm water cloth and patting them dry is the safest method for keeping them clean and pristine. Contact your jewelry if your stone needs repair.



Jewelry maintenance for fine jewelry is effortless and has many alternative jewelry options for care! Diamonds can be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner, liquid jewelry cleaner, or washed with warm soapy water using the method described in this blog.

Diamonds may need to be repronged and set - and yes, a diamond can chip or break if it succumbs to accidents or harsh treatment. Taking care of the setting and gingerly handling your diamonds will alleviate any possible calamity for your collections.



Treated pearls use enhancing methods like bleaching or dyeing to achieve your desired appearance. Through different enhancements, the pearls exhibit colors displaying a "naturally" beautiful or vibrantly sophisticated (bright blues, pinks, and greens, for example).

Pearls have a nacre exterior and are easy to dent or scratch because they are so soft, destroying their luster and beautiful overtones if you handle them improperly.

Pearls should not be exposed to salt water, jewelry cleaning solutions (bleach or other household cleaners), and chlorine, which will permanently damage the color and luster.

Helpful Tips: Placing your pearls AFTER applying cosmetics, hairspray, perfumes/body sprays, glitter, body oils, and lotion will help preserve the pearl's beauty. Removing your pearls BEFORE everything else when you undress and BEFORE you go to bed helps prevent damage.

Over time, pearls may loosen on the string. Re-stringing and knotting your pearls will help keep them properly aligned on a fresh cord. Seeking alternative jewelry options for maintenance? Contact your local jeweler for other ways to prolong the life of any jewelry.



Sterling silver is appreciated and loved for its glowing appearance change, called patina. It is perfect for those who love to make a statement in style with alternative jewelry designs, ranging from grunge to vintage, and your much-loved LGBT jewelry that says something about you.

Did you know that wearing silver jewelry keeps it looking bright and shiny because it absorbs natural body oils? Silver frequently oxidizes, turning your much-loved piece black. Not wearing silver will increase oxidation.

Using liquid silver cleaner is appropriate if there are no porous stones, black antique detailing, and ornate patterns often featured in silver.

Jewelry cleaning silver with a silver jewelry cloth, warm soapy water, or by a professional jeweler helps keep it fresh. Buffing out scratches and polishing the silver jewelry restores its beauty.

Keeping your silver away from harsh cleaning chemicals and body care reduces the possibility of damage, tarnishing, and discoloring.



Taking your fine jewelry necklaces and bracelets off before sleeping is the best way to keep them from breaking or getting lost. Here is a brief list of things to keep in mind when sleeping with your jewelry:

Certain chains, including cable chains, Figaro links, box chains, and Cuban/curb chains, are all durable, sturdy links, withstanding frequent wear during sleeping, exercises, and work.

Rope chains, herringbones, omega, snake, and lightweight chains can pop or break because of their delicate link structure.

Sleeping with stones or diamonds may cause them to loosen or come out of the setting.

Pearls are too soft to be slept in and may be damaged or dented overnight.
Sleeping in diamonds, gemstones, and fine jewelry is safe, provided there are no points or sharp prongs on the ring.



Swimming in your fine jewelry is dangerous because you could lose it in the vast ocean or sand. Delicate styles of earrings, stacking or diamond engagement rings, and face/body piercings can slip off during swimming.

Swimming in a chlorinated pool or saltwater while wearing your jewelry and gemstones can wreck your much-loved jewelry pieces, unable to fix the irreversible damage even with jewelry maintenance.

Leaving your jewelry in the house or car BEFORE swimming is the best preventive measure to keep your jewelry safe. This precaution offers a fool-proof alternative jewelry maintenance option.



Wearing your fine jewelry during exercise may cause it to tarnish, loosen the stones, break a chain/clasp, and more. Here is a list of things to remember:

Sweat can cause gold-plated jewelry to discolor or corrode.

Vigorous exercise may cause the stones to loosen or pop out of the mounting. Pave settings, and other delicate designs that do not secure the stone are especially vulnerable.

Engagement rings or wedding bands with prong settings are safe to exercise in, provided clothing or other exercise equipment doesn't get caught in the setting, hurting the wearer or dislodging the stone.

Swimming in chlorinated water with your jewelry can damage the metal or treated stones. Removing your jewelry before swimming or in a hot tub is the best way to keep it safe.



Storing fine jewelry in a drawer, a jewelry box, or a bag keeps it safe from getting lost and harsh environmental factors (cleaning products, dust particles).

Hanging your chains and necklaces up or lying in a drawer from top to bottom, or using kitchen ties to keep them together are different methods for keeping your necklaces and chain from getting tangled.

Certain stones are softer than others, causing them to easily scratch if they are in a single bag or box together.



Fine jewelry and fashion jewelry are the two main categories, with some sub-categories. Fine jewelry uses fine metals and high-quality synthetic and natural stones (gold, platinum, silver, diamonds, sapphires, quartz, synthetic sapphire, etc.) for the design.

Taking care of gold, platinum, and other fine jewelry is easy to remember with proper jewelry cleaning steps. At-home methods, including warm diluted soapy water with a soft brush or soft cloth, are the safest way to ensure your fine jewelry will not get destroyed by any harsher substance.

Taking it to a jewelry professional for evaluation, tightening the prongs, buffing, and polishing keep fine jewelry looking pristine.

Do not place colored stones into an ultrasonic or jewelry cleaner, as this may damage the structure of the stone, fade a treatment, or dry out the surface.

Avoid sleeping or swimming with most jewelry in saltwater or chlorine. Lastly, store your fine jewelry away from sunlight and environmental stresses to keep it looking brand new.



Questions about taking care of your jewelry? We specialize in unique, hand-made, responsibly sourced custom jewelry, alternative jewelry, LGBT jewelry, and lab grown diamonds as the top independent jewelry store in Worcester, MA.

Radically Personal. Unapologetically Human. Made with fierce love.

-Ilah ♥ / IG: @ilahjewelry

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