As warmer weather approaches, more and more people will be packing up their beach bags and making the trip to sandy beaches and sunlight. While packing the beach essentials in your new trendy straw bag, you should also be thinking of ways to protect your beloved jewelry from the harsh summer elements. According to jewelry expert Jerry Ehrenwald, President & CEO of the International Gemological Institute (IGI), below are the top 6 summer jewelry care tips in order to make your cherished jewels last. IGI is the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and evaluating gemstones and fine jewelry. With that said, Ehrenwald knows all the necessary steps for keeping your jewelry sparkling all summer long!
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1. Pack with care. While traveling, it’s easy to throw everything together, right? However, a diamond can scratch a pearl (and other gems), so IGI recommends storing fine jewelry in individual soft cloth pouches or lined jewelry boxes to prevent scratching, dulling and tangling of chains. Running out the door for a quick one-night trip and can’t find a pouch or box? Keep bracelets and necklaces from tangling by threading them through a straw. You can also wrap each item in tissue for added protection.
2. Leave the sand castles to the kids. Abrasion from sand poses a risk to jewelry as it acts like coarse sandpaper on gems. When selecting jewelry for the day, consider your schedule of activities. Thinking through your plans may remind you to leave your jewelry items safely stored away.
3. Sunbathe sans sparklers. Sunscreen can coat a gemstone, reducing the refractive and reflective light, resulting in loss of the stone’s brilliance. It can also bleach certain materials. To avoid this, clean your gemstone regularly with an easy-to-pack ultrasonic cleaner (available at IGI’s e-store). Also keep colored gems out of the sun, as light and high temperatures can fade the color over time, particularly those that have been treated.
4. Strip down before you swim. Beaches can be an easy place to lose jewelry. For example, hands can become cold in ocean waters causing fingers to shrink and rings to easily slip off, which you are likely to not notice right away, meaning the item will be gone for good. If going to the pool, remove any jewelry items before you take a dip, as swimming pools contain harsh chemicals such as chlorine that can harm your jewelry, specifically, causing the gemstone to erode and lose its polish and/or finish.
5. Protect your investment. Never leave fine jewelry unattended on a lounge chair or in a hotel room. If you are packing valuables make sure when selecting lodging that a safe deposit box will be available. Safeguarding your jewelry applies when cleaning as well. Cleanse items in a secure location away from the rim of a sink, where items can easily slip down the drain.
6. Evaluate then celebrate. If commemorating your vacation with a new fine jewelry purchase, insist on an independent grading or identification report from an accredited gemological institute, such as IGI, prior to purchase. Along with providing an unbiased evaluation of the stone’s qualities, a report informs you if the stone is synthetic or has undergone any treatments, which can dramatically affect value. Further, if you plan to give the item to someone else later down the line, all gemstones should only change hands when accompanied by a certificate attesting to its quality.