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Lots of people seem to view jewelry, especially metal jewelry, as indestructible, but there are plenty of chemical reactions that can cause the metal to weaken or affect the finish. I’ve written before about the disastrous effect chlorine can have on your jewelry, but jewelry can also be scratched, bent and broken.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to take care of your jewelry:
Chemicals: Whether you’re cooking, cleaning or lounging in the pool your jewelry is exposed to chemicals. Sunscreen, hairspray and perfume can cause damage to your jewelry. Pearls, gemstones and metal are all at risk.
Work: If your job entails working with rough surfaces or using machinery, leave your jewelry at home. It’s important to take off your ring, and any other jewelry, that might become entangled in something or rub against something. This helps protect the jewelry and it may protect you! A hairstylist friend has a ring that is flat on the bottom because she wears it daily and the repeated use of holding the hair dryer and brush has flattened it. I could round it out for her, but we decided there was no point since she would just keep wearing it to work!
Leisure: Lifting weights, gardening, cooking (in particular baking) and lots of other hobbies can damage your jewelry. Even if you think you’ll just clean the jewelry later, you might forget, or might not clean the jewelry as thoroughly as you think! Grit and grime can cause problems.
Cleaning your jewelry: I’ve already said it, watch out for chemicals. A friend was wearing one of my bronze rattlesnake rattle pendants and I noticed the finish looked odd. She had used baking soda to “clean” it. I tried restoring the original finish, but the piece just reverted back to the way it looked when she “cleaned” it. I’ve heard horror stories about people cleaning jewelry by soaking it in bleach! Bleach can destroy the metal and your gold ring will be in pieces.
I’ll write a post soon to give tips on how to clean your jewelry.
Jewelers can work wonders to repair bent and twisted jewelry (I’ve seen some wrecked jewelry. Check out the picture above. That’s real-life stuff right there!), but try to take care of your jewelry. Sometimes there’s just no fixin’ it. Remember that the laws of physics and chemistry apply to your jewelry!