Your jewelry will last longer with proper care. This means not only using caution and common sense when wearing jewelry, but also making sure it is cleaned, repaired, stored and packaged in a proper manner. This section has a lot of good advice on jewelry care.

Regular professional cleaning is the best way to care for your jewelry. Not only does it keep your jewelry looking its best, but it also allows a trained professional to detect any early signs of wear or damage. Between professional cleanings, there are also ways you can clean and care for your jewelry.

Use a soft-bristled, non-metallic brush and a solution of mild ammonia and water. Gently scrub away any grime, especially around the prongs or setting where buildup is likely. Even a clean-looking diamond often has a thin layer of skin oil and will shine better after a cleaning. Avoid touching the diamond as much as possible.

Cleaning gemstones is easy. Simply soak the piece in a bowl of warm, soapy water for several minutes and then use a soft, non-metallic brush to remove any grime. If you use a jewelry cleanser, make sure it is non-abrasive. Do not use harsh chemical cleaners and do not clean the item in the sink because too often it ends up down the drainpipe. Keep in mind some gemstones may have been treated or enhanced by heating, oiling, irradiation or diffusion. Heated and irradiated stones generally don’t require special care when cleaning, but diffused stones could become lighter if scrubbed too hard. Also, the oil on an emerald can be stripped away by cleaning, making the emerald change appearance. If this happens, simply bring it to us for re-oiling.

Because pearls are an organic compound, they are also easily dulled or even eaten away by chemicals and alcohol. Wash cultured pearls in very mild, soapy water and nothing else. Do not use alcohol on any kind of pearl jewelry. Bring your cultured pearls in for restringing every couple of years, especially if you wear them often.

For mountings, you can use rubbing alcohol to dissolve some of the stickier grime. Soap, water and a soft brush will take care of most of your cleaning needs. Make sure the brush is extremely soft when used on metal, especially gold, which can be scratched relatively easily. Use a soft cloth that won’t leave fuzz or threads behind to dry and buff your jewelry once it is cleaned.

We do not recommend that you repair your own jewelry unless you have been professionally trained to do so. Take damaged jewelry in for professional repair as soon as possible, especially if small pieces like stones or links of chain have fallen out; the longer you wait, the more likely small pieces will be lost. We offer repair services at a competitive rate.

The best thing you can do for your jewelry is preventative repair. Schedule an annual cleaning with us every year to make your jewelry last a lifetime.

There are a few simple precautions that can make sending jewelry less stressful.

Package your jewelry securely in an appropriately sized box. Wrap each piece individually in cloth (not plastic) and fill empty spaces in the box to keep the jewelry from shifting. When possible, use a box designed to hold the specific type of jewelry you are sending since this will hold it most securely.

Use a shipping method that allows tracking, such as FedEx or UPS, so you will know when it arrives at its destination.

It is best to buy insurance, especially for extremely valuable jewelry.

Jewelry is vulnerable while it’s being worn, but it can also suffer damage if it isn’t stored properly. Diamond is the hardest substance on Earth, but it can be scratched by another diamond. Diamond jewelry can also scratch softer stones as well as gold and platinum. For this reason, it’s important to store your jewelry so the pieces don’t come in contact with each other.

Wrap individual pieces in tissue or cloth, or put them in separate compartments in a jewelry box. Be extra careful with pearl jewelry, since it is soft and scratches more easily than gems and metals.

Often jewelry comes in a special box, bag or wrap. Keep these; they are often the best means for storing or packaging the jewelry and will provide protection from damage and dirt.

Caring for your jewelry starts with proper wear. That means knowing when to put your jewelry on and when to take it off.

Put jewelry on after applying makeup, perfume and hairspray. Handle gems and pearls as little as possible since skin oil can build up over time and dull their appearance.

Remove your jewelry if you’re going to do any manual labor, including housework. A bracelet can be easily broken or bent if it catches on a hook. Gems, even diamonds, can chip or crack if they’re knocked against a hard surface. Another danger comes from the harsh solvents used in cleaning, which are not good for any kind of jewelry and particularly harmful to pearls.

If you wear earrings, it’s usually best to remove them while you’re having your hair styled. That way the stylist’s comb won’t catch them. Never wear pearl earrings or necklaces while you’re having your hair colored. Some of the coloring agents contain alcohol and other chemicals that can mar the luster of the pearls.

If you’re right-handed, think about wearing a bracelet or watch on your left wrist since you don’t use it as much as your right. The opposite applies if you’re left-handed.