Here's my list of 9 jewellery mistakes and how to avoid making them - for your own sake.
You Pick Up Your Brand-New Piece From The Jeweller - And Never Take It Back Again
When you see a cool vintage car driving around, it's because the owner treated it right from the beginning. And just like your car, You'd never go years without getting a service done so you shouldn't skip taking your jewellery in for a tune up too. It will help your jewellery look it's best and last for a very long time too.
2. You Don't Clean Your Jewellery Yourself, Either
Nope! Sorry, you're not off the hook with at home maintenance for your jewellery either. Many people fail to clean their jewellery regularly. It can be easy to miss the general build-up of grime and tarnish. Believe me, it's there and very noticeable to other people. A microfiber cloth is a great way to clean your jewellery as is a mild dish detergent with warm water. Use a soft child’s toothbrush to gently clean your pieces.
3. You Risk Damage With Iffy Jewellery Cleaning Methods
While it's better to make an effort to clean your jewellery than not to do it at all. Not all cleaning methods are created equal, and some may permanently damage your precious pieces. Dish soap is really the strongest thing you should use. There are some people who recommend using toothpaste to clean jewellery, we at Trendy Street Jewelry recommend you DON'T use it as toothpaste is too abrasive. It will wear down the metal over time and leave tiny scratches on your piece.
4. When You Take Your Necklaces Off, You Don't Clasp Them Before Storing
You should always clasp your necklaces when you take them off. This will help to avoid tangled chains which can be very difficult to pull apart. As a jeweller, I spend a lot of time untangling lengths of chain and I can assure you that it's not a lot of fun.
If you're still having trouble with tangles, then look at using straws or other tubing to help you out. You can put one end of the necklace through the straw before clasping it, which will make tangles pretty much impossible for most necklaces.
Still get nasty tangles?. Lay your chain down on the table, and while using 2 pins, gently tease the knot out .Don’t try to do it while holding the chain in the air — gravity will just keep pulling the knot back into place.
5. Not Knowing The Materials Used To Make Jewellery
When shopping for jewellery you should always be clear on what the pieces are made from. If the seller doesn't specify the materials then it's likely the designs are not made from Sterling Silver, Gold or Stainless Steel. If you're unclear, then you should always ask before you buy.
In particular, if a piece gives the appearance of being gold but is inexpensive, then it's almost certainly not gold at all, at best it will be very thinly plated. Gold is a very expensive metal and there is no such thing as cheap gold jewellery.
Non-precious metal jewellery is unlikely to wear well over time and may turn your skin black or green. It may even cause allergic reactions or worse. Thinly plated jewellery may quickly wear through to the metal beneath.
6. You Don't Educate Yourself Before Making A Purchase
This one I'm especially passionate about as jewellery can be a bit of an ethical minefield (and Trendy Street Jewelry works hard to be as ethical and sustainable as possible).
Here's some issues I recommend you consider when jewellery shopping
-Does the jewellery business use recycled metals where possible? Does it recycle its own metals?
-Are gemstones ethically sourced - especially diamonds and other high value stones, which may come from war zones?
-Are lab grown, or simulated gemstones used (these are generally more ethical and sustainable than mined stones while still being high quality)?
-Does the seller design and make their own jewellery pieces? If not, where are they made and are working conditions safe and ethical?
-Is the seller up front about the type of materials used in their designs?
-Are the prices appropriate? Too cheap almost certainly means that someone is being ripped off somewhere along the line (and it could be you!).
7. Not Storing Your Jewellery Appropriately
Avoid storing your jewellery in a place where humidity is an issue, especially bathrooms.
Also be aware that metal jewellery which gets jumbled up and can easily rub against other pieces will get damaged. You want to avoid scratching and scuffing your jewellery.
If you prefer to display your jewellery on a necklace tree or similar, then be prepared to clean it much more regularly - and don't forget to dust it too!
8. Wearing Your Jewellery While Swimming Or Showering
There a few reasons to avoid wearing your jewellery in water.
Firstly, it can be easy to lose your pieces - especially when showering. If the idea of your precious ring slipping off and going down the drain before you can save it terrifies you, then it's not a good idea to take the risk.
Also you'll find that your earrings, necklaces, and gemstone rings are likely to get gummed up by the residue from shampoos, conditioners and soaps over time. If you do keep some pieces on when you shower or bathe, then make sure you take them off occasionally to give them a good clean.
In particular, you should avoid getting pearls and opals wet repeatedly as long term exposure to water and other chemicals may permanently damage these stones.
Finally, if you're going for a swim, I recommend you leave your jewels safely at home.
Swimming in pools or at the beach while wearing precious metal jewellery is never recommended. Chlorine used in pools can discolour silver and many gemstones - and it can even potentially weaken gold. As for salt water, it can dull even diamonds and erode soldered parts in metal jewellery.
Jewellery made with stainless steel is safe to wear swimming and showering.
9. Buying Jewellery From Cheap Retail Chain Stores
I'm not naming any names, but you know the types of shops I'm talking about: they're the big jewellery chain stores you see in many shopping malls and online - and they promise a world of sparkles for not a lot of money.
Sometimes their pieces are sourced from people working in very poor conditions and often the workmanship is shoddy - to the point of their jewellery not being repairable if and when something goes wrong.
If you're looking for high end 'traditional' jewellery, then find a smaller scale manufacturing jeweller with a good reputation.
These approaches to shopping for jewellery will result in a much better investment for you. You'll also benefit from the feel-good factor by shopping from businesses that you can truly feel comfortable supporting and helping to flourish.