Blog - vintage jewellery

Simple Tips to Care for Your Jewellery

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 All jewels are precious, be it emotionally, sentimentally, historically or financially and therefore require due care and attention. Most of our suggestions appear to be common sense but that does not reduce their importance and a few moments care will preserve your special pieces for years to come.

Substances that are used every day such as perfume, cosmetics, hand and body lotion can cause permanent damage, especially to porous and soft gemstones such as pearls, turquoise and opals as these substances can be absorbed into the gems causing them to lose their natural lustre and even change colour. Natural perspiration can have a similar effect and a soft clean cloth or soft makeup brush may be all that is necessary to give a gentle wipe after wearing before returning the item to its own box or pouch. Hairspray is especially dangerous to use close to jewellery as it coats the piece with a fine film that excludes air and causes almost instant dulling of the item. Wash gently in warm soapy water if this does occur and try to make a general rule not to wear necklaces or earrings to the hairdresser!

18ct Yellow Gold Necklace with Snake Link Chain, circa 1880, Wrapped in a Clean Soft Cloth

Excessive heat and light can cause damage to some gemstones by causing them to dry out and change colour or crack and sudden temperature swings can even fracture the gem.

Chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia may harm not only gemstones but may also discolour and pit precious metals, so make a habit of removing jewellery before swimming!

The golden rules are;

  1. Wash jewels in warm water with a pure soap, no detergents.
  2. Always use a bowl so that any loose stones or even the item itself cannot be lost down the sink.
  3. Dry the articles with a soft clean cloth and in the case of a pearl necklace allow the silk to dry completely before wearing so that it does not stretch or attract dirt. Pearls that are worn often should be restrung every twelve to eighteen months.

Commercial jewellery cleaners should be used with caution. Do not leave any items of jewellery immersed in cleaning fluids longer than five to ten minutes and be sure to rinse really well in cool running water to remove all traces of the cleaner. It is advisable not to use a cleaner for porous gems such as pearls, turquoise and opal, and if in doubt ask your jeweller or contact La Vogue Vintage for advice.

If jewellery is stored or kept in a safe for long periods of time place a small dish of water inside to maintain humidity especially where pearls are concerned. Pearls retain their lustre far better if they are worn regularly, do not lock away for too long as they can become dull and lack lustre.

1950's Cameo and Fresh Water Pearl Necklace in a Gauze Bag for Protection

1950's Cameo and Fresh Water Pearl Necklace in a Gauze Bag for Protection

Jewellery should be stored carefully in individual boxes, pouches or wrapped in an acid free tissue so that the pieces do not rub together and scratch. Neck chains and bracelets should be fastened closed before putting away and non- flexible chains should be stored flat and straight as they can snap quite easily and in some cases are not able to be repaired invisibly. Your jewellery box should not be a jumbled mess if you wish to maintain the lasting beauty of your special pieces. It is not a good idea to shower or sleep with earrings or neck chains on and in fact the very best discipline is to make sure that you put your jewellery on last of all when dressing and remove it first of all on returning home.

Hand Crafted Sterling Silver, Vintage Tortoise Shell and Jet Link Necklace Wrapped in Acid Free Tissue

Hand Crafted Sterling Silver, Vintage Tortoise Shell and Jet Link Necklace Wrapped in Acid Free Tissue

A regular visit to your professional jeweller is essential to check wear and tear on the settings of precious stones so that a worn or broken claw may be detected and repaired timeously. A current updated valuation is important for insurance purposes and it is a good idea to keep a list of all items even if they are not considered to be important enough to insure, just for your own information!

The La Vogue Vintage team wishes you many pleasurable years wearing and caring for your precious jewels.

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