Homecare for Your Fine Jewelry

homecare and cleaning for your jewelry


Your jewelry should last! When you purchase a piece of fine jewelry, you expect it to be with you for a long time. A lot of the time, your jewelry is bought for an important purpose – an engagement, a birthday, an anniversary – and you want it to be everlasting. We all do! So, if you’ve had trouble in the past with jewelry; if you’ve taken your pieces to a jeweler several times and it just seems like you can’t keep your favorite accessory from breaking: this is for you. Here’s some things to remember when you’re wearing and caring for your fine jewelry.

First, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

Get your jewelry checked by a jeweler!
  • This means going into a jewelry store and asking them to check the safety and integrity of your stones. Here at McGee’s, we will use a small magnifier, called a loupe, to take a look at each prong that keeps your stones in place. If your stones are safe – great! We can clean your piece (for free!) and you’ll be on your way.
  • Prongs are small bits of metal that hold your stones in their prospective spots – when we take a look at your jewelry, these are the first things we check, because they tend to take the brunt of force when you wear your piece. All metals wear down eventually! Checking on your jewelry should be treated like an oil change in your car – you need to keep up with the wear and tear if you want it to last.
  • Go in every 6 months, at least, if you wear your jewelry often. We use our hands every day, so if you always wear a ring that’s special to you, it’s more at risk than any other piece. Prongs can break or stones (especially softer ones) can crack. Prevention is key!

Okay, so, what can you do while you’re not bringing your jewelry into a store to be checked? There’s a lot of simple mistakes that everyone can make, and it’s difficult to know what you can and can’t do with your jewelry when there’s no guideline. Good news, I’ve curated a small list that will give you some important tips on keeping your pieces safe and secure!

Keep your jewelry clean!
  • If you work a dirty job, don’t wear your jewelry when you work. Dirt and debris are stubborn when it comes to the small cracks and crevices of your piece.
    If you’re unsure about the integrity or hardness of your stone, have a professional take a look before you scrub away at it. Some gemstones are very soft – opal comes to mind as one of the softest stones – and will crack or retain scratches if you’re too rough with them.
  • Use specific cleaners on those metals! If you have a silver chain, don’t use a cleaner made for gold on that chain. Some metals are more frail than others and need chemicals that others don’t. Dish soap and water doesn’t work for everything!
  • Toothbrushes and spoolies are a wonder. If you’ve got some gunk stuck behind your diamond, or some dust in the links of your chain – use the bristles to your advantage! Dip your preferred brush into your cleaner and gently scrub – you’ll be amazed at how well it works.
  • For even harder places to get to, fine-pointed tweezers are decent substitutes for our high-powered steamer.
  • Jewelry cloths will remove tarnish from your silver and will shine up your stones when they’re covered in fingerprints.
  • Speaking of tarnish – wearing your silver jewelry will keep it from tarnishing. When a silver piece sits in your jewelry box, unworn, it’s far more likely to discolor and need a shine-up. So wear your jewelry, it keeps it clean!
Some places and activities aren’t safe for your fine jewelry.
  • Don’t wear your jewelry in chlorinated water! The harsh chemicals in pools and the like aren’t safe for most metals and stones. Your piece can erode and wear down, making it more likely to break.
  • Exercising in your jewelry isn’t a good idea. Your piece can easily get caught in equipment, which can result in injury – for you and your jewelry.
  • Try not to sleep in your jewelry. Some of us sleep like the dead, but a lot of us toss and turn during the night and that can cause problems for your jewelry. You can snap chains, get prongs caught on your sheets, or bend links and posts.
  • Don’t shower or bathe in your jewelry. Hard water isn’t great for your pieces, but you’re also likely to catch onto prongs or chains while washing. You can also lose your jewelry down the drain!
  • Wait to put on your jewelry after you’ve finished your beauty routine. The chemicals from your lotions, hair products, and makeup can cause damage to your pieces – especially if they’ve been exposed to them a lot.
Store your jewelry properly!
  • Most of your jewelry needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. A box lined with a cloth material or a small cloth bag are great options.
  • Keep your pieces away from the sun. Just like us, they can only take so much UV. Sunlight can cause discoloration or dullness in your stones.
  • Hang up your necklaces! By having them spread out, it prevents the inevitable tangling that happens when you store a chain in a box.
  • Pearls are one of the only exceptions to a couple of these rules. A string of pearls shouldn’t be hung up – it can stretch the silk string and end up causing them to unravel. Pearls also love humidity – so lay out your pearls in an area that may be able to retain some water.
  • Stones can scratch other stones if they have different hardness measurements; they can easily cause abrasions to the surface of each other. Keep pieces in their own designated spot.


Hopefully, with this list, we can all keep our fine jewelry a little (or a lot) safer. Mistakes can happen, and I know that I, personally, will likely forget some of these things from time to time. Fortunately, there’s almost always ways to get a piece back to its original form. The best we can do as consumers is prevent!

If you’d like to have us check your jewelry, come on into our store! Here is our contact information and our address, so you can stop by. If you’re in need of a repair, no need to worry, we can do that for you, too! Our amazing jeweler can fix up that piece you’ve been missing.

This info was provided by: yours truly – as well as our wonderful owners, sales staff, repair team, and jeweler.


Lauren H. is the Social Media Manager at McGee & Co. Fine Jewelers. She is 27 years old and is from Columbus, IN. Her skills include photography, writing, and curating the best playlists. Her favorite gemstone is citrine, and she prefers yellow gold over white. She hopes to exude youthfulness and confidence in every aspect of her life!

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