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Jewelry is the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble. There are likely pieces you wear every day while others you may only wear for special occasions. But no matter which piece you choose to adorn you, you should always take care of it to ensure it stays as stunning for years to come.

The following 5 tips will help you keep your heirlooms in perfect condition.

1. Watch out for heat and light
The sun’s rays aren’t just damaging for skin. They’re also damaging to our jewelry too. The light and heat can affect gemstones in both color and durability. With enough exposure, they can be damaged for good. Pearls and ivory bleach when exposed to extreme sunlight too. With heat, some gemstones may even crack. It’s best to keep them in a place safe from the sun’s rays and in a cool climate. When venturing outdoors in hotter months, be careful with your jewelry and how you expose it to the sun.

2. Stay away from chemicals
Jewelry should be the final touch you put on before you head out the door. Some things you may use every day could affect the quality of your favorite jewelry. Hairspray, lotions, and perfumes can ruin the surface of porous gems and pearls. Never take a swim with fine jewelry for the chemicals in the chlorine can destroy them, not to mention you could lose them at the bottom. Don’t clean while wearing your engagement ring or wedding band either. Make sure you stow it in a safe place, and for the sake of your skin, wear rubber gloves.

3. Be cautious with ultrasonic cleaners
Professional ultrasonic cleaners can be helpful, but some jewelry and gems can’t be safely cleaned with them. Organic gem materials and heat-treated gemstones may be ruined in an ultrasonic cleaner. Additionally, the vibrations of the machine can often chip gems or shake them loose.

4. Easy cleaning methods are the safest
Believe it or not, you can clean most colored gems with just a little warm water and mild dish soap. All you need is a soft brush to polish it up. You may also use a dental cleaning appliance that pulses water along with a soft, lint-free cloth. Do all rinsing in a glass of water or bowl so as not to drop it down the drain. For soft gems like pearls, use a brand-new clean makeup brush with warm, soapy water, then lay it flat on a towel to dry.

5. Store your jewelry safely
In addition to keeping jewelry out of the sun, you should always store it properly. Throwing it into a drawer or atop your dressing table will only cause scratches and ruin your pieces. Save the pouch or box that it came with, or invest in a jewelry box with ample padded slots for rings and earrings, and posts that allow you to hang necklaces and bracelets.

When you take care of your jewelry, it will look brand new even decades later. It’s a beautiful investment, one that can tell the story of love, family, and weave a rich history of the past into the future.

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