Precious jewellery and expensive watches are not just a purchase you'll enjoy for a long time – they're also an investment. Just be sure to take care of them.
The most important advice that jewellery expert Joachim Duenkelmann can give is to make sure certain products don't get on them. Make-up, deodorant or even face and hand creams can all harm the sensitive surfaces of your jewellery. You should also not clean real jewellery with strong chemicals.
"You have to remind yourself: hands off," says the Managing Director of the German Federal Association of Jewellers, Jewellery and Watch Retailers. "But proper maintenance begins with exposing precious jewellery to as few mechanical irritants as possible, as well as avoiding strong temperature differences."
This includes not using a brush for mechanical cleaning. It's better to use a soft, damp cloth. However: "Never clean pearls with a cotton cloth, the lustre can get worn down," explains Duenkelmann. The lustre is the ability of a pearl to reflect light, which gives it its natural shine.
Duenkelmann therefore advises using warm water and a little liquid soap when cleaning jewellery. "It is important, however, that you use warm water, not hot."
Special cleaning products for jewellery are best used only after getting advice from a specialist. "They can tell you exactly which product is suitable for which kind of jewellery. Cleaning products for silvery cutlery, for example, are not suitable for jewellery."
Jewellery shops also offer professional cleaning tailored to the specific material. When you visit, show the jeweller your pieces and they will check them for flaws – for example, whether a diamond ring is still flush, whether the clasp of a bracelet still closes properly or if the band of a pearl necklace might to about to break.
Regular checks like this protect from unpleasant surprises such as a lost gemstone or pearls rolling around the house.
Watches also need to be taken care of, especially since many timepieces are also a valuable investment. "With watches, the focus is on cleaning the watch crystal and strap," explains Guido Grohmann from the German Federal Association of Jewellery and Watches.
Wiping both with a damp cloth is usually enough. But don't forget to properly clean the back of the watch, as well, as it comes into contact with the skin. – dpa
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