How to Guide | Caring for your Jewellery

How to Guide | Caring for your Jewellery

Our guide to caring for your jewellery

So now that you've bought your jewellery from auction, or even if you're looking at heirlooms and presents; whether you wear them every day or just bring them out on special occasions, it's important to take care of your jewellery - after all, you want it to last a long time.




Learning to clean your jewellery is easy, and can often be done quickly, safely and efficiently at home. The classic choices of diamond, ruby, and sapphire, can usually be cleaned with a combination of washing up liquid, lukewarm tap water, and a soft toothbrush. Jewellery dip can also be bought relatively cheaply, and can be a great way to get these stones sparkling again in no time. Diamonds attract oil and dirt but repel water, so unfortunately every time you wash your hands, cook, garden, or go about your every day life, the stones can attract things that can build up over time, making the stone look dull and lifeless if left too long.



Luckily this does not cause any damage, and can easily be cleaned away. If you have other coloured gemstones, it's important to know how to handle them; some gemstones can be more easily abraided (worn down) than others, meaning that in some settings that leave their corners or surfaces open to damage, they are not always suitable for everyday wear. Emerald, aquamarine, opal, zircon, and some other stones need gentle treatment. Pearls can be wiped gently with a damp sponge and some household soap, but do not submerge the necklace in water as this can weaken the threads. Use a soft toothbrush to remove build-up and dirt from behind gemstones, never use sharp or metallic implements as these could potentially scratch the stone. Jewellery can also be professionally cleaned by a jeweller, but it is a good idea to ask an auction house if they have a jeweller they can recommend; after all, you wouldn't want to find that they put an amethyst necklace or a filled diamond into a sonic cleaner, as this could shatter the stone - choose a jeweller who has good recommendations, is trusted, and preferably a gemmologist who will know how best to look after your jewellery.





Some gemstones scratch more easily than others. Over the years we get familiar with our finer pieces of jewellery and after a long day it's just to toss them into the jewellery box alongside costume or everyday jewellery; however, it is important to make sure that the stone and claws are kept in good condition. Where possible, invest in a jewellery box with a ring tray, so that you can keep your rings neatly lined up with gaps between them. Chains can easily knot if they are heaped in the bottom of a jewellery tray, so try and lay them out or find a jewellery box with fasteners to hold the chains in place. Pearls should be the last thing you put on, and the first thing you take off; keep them wrapped in a soft fabric so that their surfaces cannot be scratched or damaged. If you have a particularly expensive or emotionally valuable piece of jewellery, it is best to keep them in their own individual boxes. Talk to your local security company or auction house on recommendations for metal storage safes.



Things to Avoid

Remember, whilst diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are fairly hardy stones, some softer gemstones won't benefit from being overworked; for things like gardening, horse-riding, contact sports, it's a good idea to remove rings and or earrings that could be damaged. Don't allow chemicals, soaps, or perfumes to come in to contact with your jewellery. With pearls, the rule is always that they should be the last thing you put on, and the first thing you take off. A soft, clean cloth can bring a lovely shine to gold and silver, but be careful not to clean them with anything abrasive.



Repairs and maintenance 

To keep your jewellery sparkling, for you and others to enjoy, it's important to keep an eye on its condition. Diamonds are forever - but not necessarily the case with the claws they're set in. Examine your jewellery now and then to make sure that claws are still crisp and strong, and have a good grip over the gemstones; likewise, clasps, safety chains, and chain links need to be checked to make sure that they're secure. If you're not sure, we can have a look for you, and if necessary advise on any maintenance or repair work. However, accidents do happen, and should you lose a stone from a piece of your jewellery, we can recommend reputable local jewellers who can carry out the repair.




As your jewellery collection grows, it's important to make sure that should the worst happen, you have financial cover. Nothing can replace the sentimental attachment of a much-loved family heirloom or gift, but in the event of loss, damage, or theft, it will give you peace of mind to know that you are covered. An insurance valuation includes specific details, measurements, photos and a full description of your items. It is also important to determine which sort of valuation is best suited for your items, ie New Replacement Value (NRV) whereas an older or antique item’s value could be based on the Second Hand Replacement Value (SHRV) or Antique Replacement Value (ARV). It is worth reviewing your household insurance policy to see what is and isn't covered and the single item cover limits stipulated. Insurance companies recommend that valuations are updated at least every 5 years.


Our team of jewellery specialists is always on hand to give advice on buying and selling jewellery, and are pleased to offer complimentary auction valuations. We also provide professional written insurance valuations and probate valuations on all types of jewellery, watches and valuables.

Contact us today on: 0207 431 9445, or email us:


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Rachel Hutchinson

Rachel Hutchinson

Jewellery is her passion and Rachel has many years’ experience working within this sparkling gemstone-filled area of the auction world. She has also graced TV and Radio on many an occasion. Her expertise has helped many a Dawsons customer to achieve wonderful results at auction – whether they be selling or buying Jewellery.

Jewellery Silver & Objects of Virtue