9 simple things you can do to take care of your jewelry like an adult

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If you’ve never had nice jewelry before, caring for the nicer pieces you might acquire as you get older, like engagement rings, fancier necklaces or bracelets, or silver pieces (jewelry or not) you may inherit from family members, can be kind of a mystery.

Maybe you’ve never really needed to go out of your way to take care of your jewelry before, because it was mostly cheaper, trendier jewelry. If that’s the case for you (as it is for many young adults), it can be easy to inadvertently misstep when you’re trying to take care of your more grown-up pieces, even though you have the very best of intentions.

INSIDER consulted the experts for all the information you need to know about the right way to care for your jewelry so that you can avoid anything with potentially devastating consequences.

1. Simpler is best.
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Though you might think that you need fancy or expensive solvents and cleaners in order to clean your jewelry, that might not be the case. In fact, you might be better off not using those sorts of things and going with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled toothbrush instead.

“The issue with that blue solvent that a lot of jewelry places will give you when you buy a diamond ring or something is that that’s heavily alcohol-based, so while it cuts out grease, if you’re unintentionally putting something in there like, say, an emerald, emeralds are 99.9% of the time fracture-filled, even antique stones, with an oil-based solution or newer emeralds, because that oil eventually leaks out in all cases, are filled with a polymer, which also can become [unstable], depending on how you clean a thing,” Katherine Van Dell, the director of jewelry at Rago Arts & Auction Center, told INSIDER.

Van Dell said that diamonds are attracted to oils, which means that while you do want to use a liquid dish soap with a grease-cutter in it, you still have to be careful about cleaning it.

“But always, always good with colored gems to keep in mind that [they’ve] likely been stabilized or enhanced in some way that could leave them in sort of a bad—you could put yourself into a bad situation by putting them into an alcohol-based solution, so I just tell people to not use that at all and ultimately with a soft toothbrush you’re not going to hurt anything,” she added.

Not only that but if you have any antique pieces that you’re trying to clean, you need to keep in mind that having them professionally cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner probably isn’t a great idea. Van Dell said that this method “literally shakes the dirt off of it,” which can damage older pieces — definitely not what you wanted to do.

2. Don’t sleep in jewelry.
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Even though you may have slept in jewelry before without any issues, sleeping in your nice pieces is a definite no-no.

“Sleeping in jewelry can harm the jewelry or you,” Jill Maurer, a fine jewelry designer and YouTube creator, told INSIDER. “Not only can you break a chain or bend a prong causing you to lose a stone, but earrings have even been known to end up in a person’s ear. It’s generally safer for you and your jewelry if you spend the night apart.”

You can put it on again in the morning.

3. Store it separately.
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Storing your jewelry is important too because it can either help or harm your pieces, depending on how you do it.

“Always store your jewelry in a jewelry case or box and keep each piece separated from one another,” Donna Distefano, an artist, master goldsmith, and owner of Donna Distefano Ltd., told INSIDER. She added that harder stones can scratch softer ones, which you definitely don’t want to happen.

You’d be upset if something scratched something else, plus, if you have designated storage for each piece, you always know where to find it — and you don’t have to worry about necklace chains or bracelets breaking.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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