With the dawn of Spring upon us, clearing out, freshening up and re-organising your wardrobe to prepare for the longer and warmer days ahead should definitely be on your to-do list. And just like giving your wardrobe a refresh by going through items to either care for or to get rid of, your jewellery box can also benefit from a good spring clean.
These essential tips will have you falling in love with your forgotten pieces hidden in your jewellery box all over again!
Invest in a decent jewellery storage solution that works for your collection. From drawer insert to trays, box, drawer units there is a wide range available on the market, make sure you pick one with plenty of separate compartments. Each piece should be stored separately to prevent scratching and stop chains getting tangled.
Sort and inspect
Empty your jewellery box on a table or desk, pull out every piece and go through your collection. Make 3 separate piles: one with the pieces you no longer wear, one with your broken or damaged pieces and another with your jewellery in need of a clean.
First pick out all the piece you no longer wear and put them aside for now. You will find out further below how these can be repurposed.
Take your time to inspect each piece for signs of damage or wear. If your piece contains gemstones, look at each prong to see if any of them are bent or broken. Gently touch each gemstone with the tip of a toothpick to check for movement and ensure that the stone is secure. For rings, look at the shank for any signs of wear or damage and check if the ring fits on your finger. Don’t forget that rings can always be resized by your jeweller. Look closely at chains, necklaces and bracelets for any broken links. Check each clasp and fastening to make sure they are closing securely. Pieces with any signs of damage should be put aside and taken to your jeweller to be professionally checked and repaired.
Finally, check the remaining pieces. Soap, hand cream, lotions and everyday dust and dirt are just a few things that can clog jewellery settings and make stones, chains and pearls appear dull and lifeless. Silver oxidises (tarnishes) when it is exposed to oxygen in the air, subsequently causing the surface to turn dull or grey over time if unworn. To revive your beloved pieces, follow the steps below. If you are unsure about anything always ask your jeweller before attempting to clean your jewellery at home.
Gold and Platinum
Clean your gold and platinum jewellery by soaking them in warm water (not boiling!) and mild soap or eco-friendly washing-up liquid for 10 minutes. Once your jewellery are sufficiently soaked, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently remove any dirt and build up. Rinse and then dry with a soft cloth.
Cover the bottom of a bowl with a sheet of aluminium foil. Pour some warm water and 2 table spoons of baking soda in the bowl covered in foil. Let your jewellery soak in this solution for 30 minutes – this gives enough time for the tarnish to transfer to the water through the magic of ion exchange. Rinse in clean water and pat dry. Use a good quality silver polishing cloth to revive the original lustre.
DIAMONDS, SAPPHIRES, RUBIES, AMETHYSTS, GARNETS, CITRINES & TOURMALINES
Use the method described above to clean gold and platinum to clean these gemstones.
EMERALDS, OPALS, TURQUOISES & OTHER POROUS GEMSTONES
Clean the setting with a soft toothbrush dipped in warm water (do not use soap) and dry using soft cloth to polish. These are porous gemstones so never immerse them in water.
Wipe each pearl using a soft cloth dampened in lukewarm water. You can add a bit of mild soap if necessary. Wipe them a second time with a clean damp cloth to remove all the soap. Finally, very gently dry each pearl using a soft cloth and allow your pearls to air dry properly before putting them away.
Repurpose, give or sell
There are several things you can do with your no longer wanted pieces of jewellery. But before doing anything with them, make sure you know their value.
The first option is to sell them. This is of course a popular choice. Be mindful though that the financial value of your rings will not be the same, and you’re not likely to get a good return. For the most part, second-hand jewellery’s value is in the metal that can be melted down or/and the gemstone that can be reused.
If the piece is in good condition, your second option could be to gift it to someone in your family or a friend which is likely to wear it.
And last but not least, if your piece has sentimental value, is an heirloom or perhaps contains some nice gemstones you can have it remodelled into something new you would enjoy to wear. The metal can be melted and refashioned into a new design and a gemstone in a ring you don’t like for example can be recycled and reset into a new bespoke piece.
Organise (think “capsule”)
“Choose well, buy less, make it last.” -Vivienne Westwood –
Have you ever heard of the term “capsule wardrobe”? The concept consists of having a small selection of quality items you can get a lot of wear out to simplify your life, and avoid clutter. It’s basically quality over quantity – slow fashion over fast fashion. Having a limited collection of clothes that coordinate well and can be worn in a number of ways will have you ready no matter the occasions.
The same can be applied to your jewellery collection. So, when re-organising, think “capsule”! Before you start shopping for new pieces, have a look at your collection, you may find that you are missing a type of jewellery you would like to have. The goal of a capsule is to have quality items that will last, so it may be a good idea to make a list of what you need and take your time finding the right pieces. A well curated capsule collection, is also one that suit your lifestyle. If you work in an office you are most likely to have the freedom to wear as many jewels as you like. But if you are a nurse for example and are not allowed to wear rings at work, consider having more necklaces than rings.
Here is an example of what a basic, minimalistic jewellery capsule would consist of:
- 1 x pair of studs
- 1 x pair of dangly or hoops earrings
- 2 x rings (perhaps one ring being a wedding or engagement ring)
- 1 x necklace
- 1 x pendant on chain
- 1 x bracelet
These few pieces cover the basics, and if the pieces are fairly simple, they can be mixed & match and worn with virtually anything. This capsule could then be doubled, with two contrasting items in each of the categories above —a simple necklace and a statement necklace that can make all the difference when it comes to transforming that little black dress for a night out.
And if you managed to get some cash out of your unwanted jewellery, why not use it to build or add to your capsule jewellery collection ?