I have been working in the jewelry industry for the past few years and have compiled a list of things that I thought would help eliminate some of the language barrier that I have witnessed on multiple occasions between the jeweler and you; the client. This post is an attempt to answer some of the things you may have wondered or better yet, may not have realized when it comes to your jewelry!
- Gold is not forever. What does that mean? Simply that even though you may not have been wearing your piece as much as you have thought, over time gold can become porous (or have impurities) and therefore can contribute to problems down the line (for example, your ring splits open somewhere along its bottom or usually referred to as its shank). Not to say this is likely to happen but it could be a factor to how your ring wears. Most importantly, the thing to remember is that the more you wear an item the more likely it is to wear down (and it will). Therefore, the tips (the part of the stone setting that holds your stones in place) should be checked at least once to twice a year by a professional to ensure that you have enough gold securing your stones. Typically, we highly recommend adding new gold (tipping the tips) if you are at 50% or less of tip gold left.
- There is a limit to how much a ring can be sized! One might assume that a ring sizing is simple, but depending on the style of your ring it could mean a very extensive repair. Why? First of all, your ring needs to have enough gold at its bottom (shank) to allow for sizing to even be doable, typically rings overtime wear down at the bottom, compromising this. One needs at least .8mm-.9mm thickness of gold at bottom of shank to allow for a sizing. This is because when a goldsmith goes to cut or stretch, whatever the case, you do not have the likely-hood of the ring splitting and or compromising the integrity of the entire piece. If you do not have the required amount of gold left then we will usually recommend a new shank (be it half or full, depending on the case, this is where it may begin to get pricey as replacing a shank means a fair amount of new gold). Usually, if you have enough gold for a sizing to take place one is able to safely manipulate up to 2 sizes (again depending on the intricacy of the design).
- Do not assume your size. Fingers are tricky, very tricky. Why? Because they change overtime and so many factors affect them; it could be arthritis, or maybe it is an injury, or perhaps you are pregnant, whatever the situation it is always best to be professionally sized. Remember that our fingers swell in the heat and are smaller in the cold, things we eat can affect this too, saltier foods can cause swelling as well.
- Take your rings off. Why? Many, many reasons. Most important: it is good practice to take off your rings before bed and before the shower to allow for less wear (this goes for all your jewelry)! While we understand the sentimentality behind your pieces it is something we suggest for prolonging your jewelry’s good condition. This also allows you to know and to make sure you do not need to think about sizing (it is always sad to have to cut a ring off because it cannot come off as it has not been taken off in decades).
- Clean your jewelry. This is an obvious thing but I wanted to expand on this, when you do not clean your jewelry often what happens is build up. Typically this build up is either soap or lotion, etc. and over time it can become what is actually holding your stones in place and so, when we go to clean your jewelry and put it in our ultrasonic machine there is a chance of your stones falling out as the build up gets cleaned away! Do not be afraid to go to your trusted jeweler and see if they offer cleaning services.
- Clean your watches. Same goes for your watches, take them in to be serviced or simply to be cleaned. In some cases, with years and years of wear without cleaning it may not be possible for the back of the watch to be placed back on properly because, again, build up is in the way. Another fun fact: do not pull out your crown in hopes of saving the battery life, this may be counter productive as it does not actually conserve your battery power but rather adds to the chance of dust particles entering your watches’ movement which could cause internal issues!
- Diamonds can crack/chip. While this is rare it does happen, this may be caused due to inclusions, the way the stone was cut, and usually (with the help of the first two factors) if it was hit hard in some very particular way. Same goes for gemstones which are much more brittle and are prone to abrasions.
- Silver tarnishes. You may have known this but to elaborate it depends on many factors such as where you store it, whether you wear it or not (typically it tarnishes less when you do wear it), and due to the levels of alkaline in your skin (we are all different and react to different metals differently because of such factors). Also, do not go into a pool or hot tub with your jewelry on as this will for sure cause your silver to turn pretty much black. While we are most likely capable of cleaning it/buffing it off, sometimes when left too long it could make it very difficult to come out!
- Plating is not forever. Be aware that yes, a plated piece of jewelry will eventually show its true color as over time and with wear plating will wear off. How long it will take depends on how and how often you wear it as well as the quality of the plating itself.
- Chains break. Yes, another obvious one but again to elaborate if you would prefer to try and prevent this take it off before bed as especially finer chains will stretch over time with the weight and wear put on them allowing for a chance to break. If you have a very fine chain and wear it a lot there may come a point when it will break and even worse, be too thin to repair.
Hopefully you found the list to be useful! And disclaimer: this post was not designed to turn anybody off from wearing their jewelry; rather the opposite, encourage you to continue on caring and loving it even more! Please do not be afraid of us jewelers, we are here to help and if you have further more specific questions please do not hesitate to ask. I would love to hear if you enjoyed this post and want to hear more about jewelry and my experiences within the industry!