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9 ways you are damaging your jewellery without realising

Posted by Danielle Harvey on 27 March 2023

hand with pink jumper and lots of silver rings

It’s no secret that we treasure our jewellery. Whether it’s a necklace from a friend which celebrates a milestone or an engagement ring that’s been passed down the family line, our jewellery carries some of our most precious memories.

However, accidents happen and it’s a heartbreaking moment when your favourite piece of jewellery gets damaged or worse, broken. 

To help reduce the likelihood of this happening to you, jewellery experts at Queensmith have pulled together 9 common ways you may ruin your jewellery without realising:

  1. Clapping your hands

It may sound unlikely but the most common damage we see with rings is when people clap while they are wearing rings on both hands. When your rings collide with the force of clapping, it can make the metal brittle and increase the risk of a stone coming loose or falling out altogether.

Next time, you might want to think twice before clapping too enthusiastically at a music concert or baby shower.

  1. Putting jewellery on first - not last!

As a general rule of thumb, your jewellery should be the first thing you take off at night and the last thing you put on in the morning. 

This is because everyday products like hairspray, makeup and skincare can cling to your jewellery and tarnish or deteriorate its look overtime. Make-up and skincare treatments, especially oil-based ones, can collect a lot of grime that may hide in the smaller nooks of your jewellery so try to work your jewellery around your getting–ready routine. Diamonds and precious metals like platinum or gold won’t get long term damage from your makeup and so on, but will require cleaning to break down the oils and keep them shining.

  1. Sleeping with your jewellery on

Many of us don’t bother to take our jewellery off before bed, whether that’s because we’re feeling a little lazy to or we wear our jewellery so often that it feels like a second-skin. 

When you sleep with jewellery on, especially earrings or necklaces, you run the risk of catching it on the fabric of your pyjamas or bedding, getting it tangled in your hair. Rings cause less issues, and most people prefer to keep their rings on while sleeping.

While it may feel like yet another step in your bedtime routine, it can be beneficial to remove certain pieces of jewellery and store them somewhere safe.

  1. Not storing your jewellery in a safe place

Having a safe place to store your jewellery will help to prevent it from getting tangled up, lost or scratched when you’re not wearing it.

There’s nothing more frustrating than a tangled necklace and a tip tip for avoiding that is by closing the necklace first and then hanging it up on a necklace tree for instance.

If you do happen to get your favourite necklace into a tangle, lay the strand down on a table and use two pins to gently tease out the knot. Be patient and don’t attempt to do it while holding the necklace in the air, otherwise gravity will keep pulling the knot back into place again.

  1. Following TikTok hacks for cleaning advice 

Some DIY cleaning hacks are safe to follow, but it’s important to be certain you’re using the right products first - avoid anything abrasive!

Washing up soap is the best cleaning product to use at home. Toothpaste is a big no because it can lead to discoloration and wear down metals and stones overtime. 

While bleach may appear to work at first, it’s more likely to damage the surface of your jewellery in the long run. Also, it’s also a good idea to avoid lotion to clean as it can compromise ring settings, and stay clear of acidic ‘home hacks’ like lemon.

  1. Gardening in your jewellery

If you want your more expensive jewellery to last even longer and continue to hold its shine, then you’ll need to know when is a good time to take them off and not make a habit out of wearing them for certain activities.

With the days getting longer and warmer, many of us will turn to jobs that need doing for Spring/Summer in the garden. However, gardening and jewellery, specifically our rings, are not a match made in heaven. 

Rings are very susceptible to damage while gardening due to the heavy lifting numerous ways in which you might knock your hands. Remember, when you put on protective gloves this doesn’t entirely remove the risk of damage. For instance, if you are tightly gripping a tool like a shovel or carrying a heavy object, this can cause your rings to become misshapen - or worse, they could even get lost in soil.

  1. Wearing your jewellery at the gym

Working out at the gym is arguably quite a sweaty affair and while your necklaces and rings no doubt help to make you feel your best self, consider whether the gym is the most appropriate environment for your most-loved jewellery.

Stud earrings might be safe, as long as you are confident they wont get stuck on anything. Necklaces and bracelets are a big no, because they can get tangled in machinery putting both you and the jewellery at risk. 

We always encourage people to remove their rings before the gym, and leave them at home or in a safe place. Rings will bend with heavy lifting, punching and other activities you might do at the gym.

  1. Swimming in the sea with your jewellery 

With the holiday season right around the corner, think twice before wearing your favourite jewellery - especially engagement rings - in the sea. 

When your hands hit the cold water, they may shrink and it’s safe to say that once your ring falls off in the ocean, it’s likely to be gone forever. To avoid ruining your holiday fun, the safest option is to take your most precious jewellery off beforehand.

Also, the salt in seawater can corrode metals and leave them weakened and tarnished which will ruin the appearance of your jewellery.

  1. Wearing rings that are the wrong size

If your ring isn’t sized properly by a professional and doesn’t fit your finger correctly, then it’s more likely to become misshapen and eventually break as a result.

It’s worth spending the time to get advice here if you are unsure, as it could end up being a costly mistake.

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