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The term "jewellery" covers a vast range of items including very hard minerals, organic items, brittle items, polished stones, carved shells, and many more. There is no simple, one rule fits all, answer, so there are many factors which must be considered.
The hardest known natural mineral, yet they are susceptible to hard knocks, resulting in scratching, chipping and splitting. So how do you save your most precious Diamond from damage? Whilst wearing the stone there is always the chance that it will be accidentally damaged by collision with a sharp or hard item, so the first thing to arrange is Insurance (see below for link).
So you have purchased your Diamond from a reputable source (see below for link for advice on how to buy a Diamond), and you have insured it, now what do you do? The first thing, if it is a ring, is to ensure that it fits correctly, not too tight but not able to swing around the finger.
The ring now fits correctly and you have to take it off at night, where do you store it? The obvious place is a jewel box, which has sections specifically for rings. This will ensure that the rings do not touch each other.
To keep a Diamond demonstrating it’s natural beauty requires a little attention. Any gemstone will attract deposits from wear that will attach to the back of the stones. Diamonds in particular, but also other gemstones, rely on the reflection and refraction of light. The “fire” of Diamonds is a result of light entering from the table (top) of the stone, and being reflected around the back facets and out through the table, showing the fire. If the back of the stone has deposits attached to it then the light will leak out, making the stone look dull. This is easily rectified by cleaning the back of the stone and the best way of doing this is with a toothbrush and diluted washing up liquid. Always check the setting and claws to ensure that they are secure, then gently clean the back of the stone with the soft toothbrush. Or have it cleaned by an expert jeweller, you will be amazed at the difference!
The next check to make on the jewellery is to have the setting and claws checked. This is probably best done by a jeweller, with a 10x lens. The claws may look ok as they wear on the top and not the sides. The thickness of the claws is the important thing as, if they are thin, then catching on a woolly jumper can accidentally tear them off. The claws can be easily replaced.
As time goes by, generally, Gold, Diamonds and most jewellery will increase in value, which cannot be forecast by linking with the RPI (Retail Price Index), to lift the price in line with inflation. Jewellery is, and always has been, special. It is advisable to have your jewellery valued by a National Association of Goldsmiths, Registered Valuer (see link below). This will ensure that the correct value is placed on the jewellery in case of loss or theft. After an item goes missing is not the time to find out that you cannot replace the item of jewellery for the amount that it is insured for (In the past 12 months to August 2006, the price of Gold has risen by over 50%).
Pearls, opals and coral are all organic materials and can be susceptible to staining. They are quite soft and need to be stored away from other jewellery. In the case of pearls, if they are strung into a necklet then they should be cleaned and re-strung regularly. If wearing pearls then they should not be sprayed with perfume or deodorant as this will damage the nacre.
Some points to be aware of for most jewellery:-
By simply following the above guidelines you should be able to enjoy your jewellery for many years.