While the modern woman tends to have a few spur-of-the moment baubles tossed into her jewelry stash, there is a definite trend toward thoughtfully buying classic, quality pieces that will last for years. When you choose to invest and care for jewelry that you love, rather than spontaneous throwaway pieces, you can feel proud of accenting your beauty with adornments that are sustainable -- that can last for generations to come.
Research before purchasing. The first step to making your jewelry last a lifetime, of course, is investing in quality pieces from the beginning. Make sure that the metals and stones are sturdy and will retain their luster over time. Consider factors like nickel allergies or plated pieces (ask which metal is underneath to make sure that it will last too!). Doing a bit of research ahead of your jewelry purchases will go a long way in ensuring quality over quantity.
The pieces you’ve chosen will gain sentimental depth over the years. But once you've chosen your pieces, the task is not complete! If you’ve already curated your personal collection of precious metals and gems, consider our next steps on how to keep it beautiful as time goes by.
Storage and Organization. The most important factors when choosing where to store your jewelry are keeping the jewelry both separate and protected. Anyone who has spent a frustrated hour untangling two filigree necklaces know why a jewelry box with individual compartments is a must! Not only does this keep chains from tangling, but it also keeps gems from inadvertently rubbing against one another, causing tiny scratches that dull the gem’s surface over time.
Aside from being organized, our recommendation is that you invest in a controlled environment like a dry box with a lid that can be closed. This will keep your jewelry free of humidity and dust, which will keep your metals shining their brightest over time.
A note on everyday pieces: It might not make sense to have a storage compartment for the rings you wear each day -- so consider a pretty little bedside dish or tray for storing your frequently worn pieces when you sleep at night.
Cleaning. We carefully clean our clothes after wearing them, so why not our jewelry? Many women forget to wipe off their jewelry after wearing them, causing oils and dust to build up over time. For regular cleaning, gently rinse your pieces in warm water, then dry them with a soft cloth. This is especially crucial to keep silver from tarnishing.
For more seasonal cleaning, consider buying a specialized jewelry cleaner. Do note that certain gemstones will be affected by harsh chemicals that are sometimes contained in jewelry cleaners, so always check with your jeweller before cleaning your jewelry with chemicals.
Security. For antiques, family heirlooms, or individual jewelry pieces that are of great value, we recommend storage in a separate, secure place. Some families keep a small safe in the house for valuables such as these, while others prefer to keep precious heirlooms in a safe deposit box. Wherever you choose to house them, we suggest researching insurance options for pieces that are truly irreplaceable.
Protection. We know that you likely have well-loved pieces -- the ring that's always on your finger, or the studs that rarely leave your ears. It's important to note, however, that everyday pieces require some degree of protection as well.
We recommend taking jewelry off for sleeping, showering, and swimming. The chlorine in a pool can react with your precious metals and affect them over time. Even soaps can eventually make your stones murky and dirty. And then it's also important to remove jewelry before tasks like gardening or dish-washing. Dirt lodged between ring prongs can eventually cause stones to loosen, dislodging the stone from the setting over time. Remember to consider each activity, and whether or not it would be best to remove your jewelry to retain the longevity of the metals and stones.
Each of these tidbits of advice is simple, and we hope it shows you how taking just a few extra measure can ensure that you pieces stay bright and beautiful forever. Here at Lucy & Mui, we believe in crafting jewelry that’s meant to last. We’re not the only ones, of course; but if you choose to invest in pieces that are created with quality in mind at the start, we believe you can keep your adornments looking lovely for generations to come.