Jewellery Care

tangled-jewelleryWe often get enquiries from our customers at Chain Me Up as to how to properly care for their jewellery.

The first and most important thing we advise is to store their jewellery correctly. The worst thing you can do is just throw all your pieces into a box or drawer. This can lead to scratches as silver and gold are quite soft and are easily damaged by scraping on the much harder stones such as rubies, diamonds and even the glass stones in fashion jewellery.

It should also be noted that gold rubbing against gold or silver won’t normally cause any damage. Customers who are unaware of this will order a number of charms from our store and ask for them to be individually wrapped. They then have the charms fitted to their bracelet where they bounce against each other all day long and don’t get damaged.

It fact the last thing we do with our charms before shipping them is to polish them in a tumbler. This is a rubber barrel filled with stainless steel media, the jewellery, water and a few drops of detergent. The media is made up of balls, pins and saucers (like flying saucers) and this burnishes the surface of the jewellery to harden it and create a beautiful shine. The tumbler turns the barrel for about 8 hours and everything inside is constantly rubbing against and striking the media and each other. So no, your charms won’t be damaged by shipping them all together in one pouch.

If you own a number of necklaces and store them all together in a box, it is likely that you have found after time and digging through to find the necklace you want to wear, that the chains have all tangled together. Untangling a bunch of fine gold chains is about as much fun as trying to sort white sugar and brown sugar granules from a kitchen spill. The other issue here is that people get frustrated and can apply too much force in trying to untangle the mess and can damage the chains.

You should store your necklaces and bracelets individually in the box or suede pouch them came in. It will stop them tangling and being scratched by gemstones. You can also hang them one to a peg from a necklace tree and this also makes it easier to find the chain that you want to wear.

There are some beautiful jewellery boxes that have individual compartments for storing everything from necklaces to rings to pendants where everything can be easily seen as well as protected. The one down side to this is that all your precious jewellery can be picked up together in the event of a robbery.

Should you find that you need to untangle a mess of gold chains, then there are a couple of helpful hints to make it a little easier. Lay the chains flat on tea towel or table cloth; it is easier if gravity isn’t working against you. A light sprinkle of talcum powder works like a lubricant and helps to get the different chains to separate. A couple of dress makers pins can be used to pick fine chains apart, generally this works better than your fingers, especially with very fine chains.

One of the most common causes of jewellery losing its lustre is contamination. This may be soap, shampoo or conditioner if you wear your necklace or earrings in the shower. It is also common for people to apply makeup or perfume whilst wearing jewellery, this is not a good idea, put on your jewels last thing after getting made up.

Silver and sterling silver can be affected by sulphur compounds which cause tarnishing. This causes the surface of the silver to slowly turn yellowish. If it is left uncleaned it will eventually turn a very dark grey. This is the same effect as ‘antiquing’ or deliberately darkening silver using liver of sulphur (a mixture of potassium sulphides). A jeweller can clean it for you or you can easily do it yourself with a homemade recipe that we have on our website.