Whether you’re rocking your gemstone jewellery pieces every day as part of your work wardrobe or saving the pieces that contain lesser-known gems, like agate, citrine or green quartz, for a special occasion, they’ll need to be taken care of correctly.
Most gemstones can be maintained easily with a little warm water, a mild detergent and a soft brush. However, some gemstones require specialist care to stay in tip-top condition. Wearing them with care is also important. Here we talk you through the dos and don’ts of wearing gemstone jewellery.
Don’t expose gems to too much heat or light
Whilst we believe in keeping the gemstones we use in our collections au naturel, heat is used widely in the treatment of gemstones, and can have some pretty dramatic results as GIA Graduate Gemologist Antony Zagoritis explains:
“Heat can lighten, darken, deepen or change a gemstone’s colour entirely. It can eliminate inclusions or it can form them. It all depends on some important factors including pressure, temperature, rate of heating & cooling, and chemistry. Heat usually affects a material’s colour by altering the chemical state of some of its atoms and thus its light-absorbing pattern, but it can also change appearance in other ways.”
It’s not just during gemstone treatment where heat has a profound effect. Exposure to excessive heat and light during wear can affect a gem’s colour and durability over time. Just as your skin needs protection from the sun, so too do certain gemstones.
More delicate gemstones like pearls can become bleached if exposed to too much light, whilst amber stones become much darker. Fractures, drying, cracking, and other damages are also more common after heat exposure or sudden temperature changes.
Do keep gemstone pieces away from chemicals
Removing your gemstone jewellery before you handle chemicals during tasks like cleaning and even completing your daily skincare routine is another must.
Chemicals can cause permanent damage to the surface of your gemstones. The chemicals found in hair products, daily moisturisers, perfume and makeup do their fair share of damage to softer or porous gems.
Household cleaners, especially those that contain ammonia, have a more dramatic effect on gemstones and their precious metal setting.
Don’t wear your gems at the gym or pool
Whilst we’re on the subject of chemicals, the chlorine found in swimming pools should be avoided at all costs, especially if you wear fine gemstone jewellery daily. Chlorine can dull and pit the surface of delicate gemstones, damaging your jewellery beyond repair with continuous exposure.
The acids and oil produced by the skin, especially after a hard workout, can also affect gemstone jewellery without regular upkeep.
Do indulge in regular jewellery cleaning
To keep your gemstone jewellery clean, pristine and usable for the long haul, it’ll need the right care. Thankfully, you don’t need specialist equipment or knowledge to get the job done correctly.
A high-quality jewellery cloth is great for quick cleaning after wear. You should also indulge in a deeper clean every now and then with hot water and some liquid soap. Simply soak your gemstone jewellery in the solution then polish to a sleek shine with a soft-bristled, baby’s toothbrush.
Remember not every gemstone is suitable for such treatment, pearls require gentler cleaning. For further information on taking care of delicate stones like pearls, read this handy guide to pearl care.
Don’t forget to store your gems correctly
Storing your gemstone jewellery correctly is another habit you should get into. Use a jewellery box or tray to keep your gemstones well organised and free from damaging dust and dirt. You should also avoid storing different types of gemstones together. Try to separate your pieces by type to prevent gemstone damage and metal tarnishing.