Jewelry Q&A

How do I know what jewelry of mine needs to be insured or appraised?

This is a question that comes up often, and I think there are a few things to consider. I always recommend finding out what your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy deductible is. Then, if your item is worth more than the deductible, it is a good idea to have it appraised and insured. That being said, I would still consider having an appraisal done for any item that—even if it doesn’t hit your deductible—is sentimental and/or impossible to replace. This way, if something should happen you would have a detailed description and photos of the item for your records as well as to show your insurance company. If you don’t want to spring for formal appraisals on all of your items, at least spend some time photographing your jewelry from many different angles. Also, keep notes (and receipts) on your jewelry and keep everything in a safe place!

Why is my finger turning black from my ring?

This is a question that comes up every so often, and it can be tricky to answer. I think that this happens for a number of reasons. It can be due to the ph levels in our skin, and how we react to the alloys used in gold. If it is a costume ring with a plating over brass or copper, the plating will wear off over time to expose the base metal layer that can in turn cause discoloration of the skin. It can also be something as simple as the lotion, makeup, or skincare that is coming in contact with the metal and causing a reaction. If this is happening to you, have your jeweler thoroughly soak and clean your ring, as well as give it a good steam clean if possible. Then see if the discoloring effect continues. If so, it might be time to add a fine platinum (sometimes called rhodium) plating on the inside of your ring. While the plating will wear off over time, it often helps to keep your finger happy! The plating is also a good remedy for those who are allergic to certain metals.

How do you know when it’s time to restring your pearls?

Pearl necklaces are traditionally strung with silk cord, and often knotted between each pearl. When you wear your pearls, the cord will slowly start to stretch over time due to the weight of the pearls. This is why you should never store your pearls (or beaded necklaces) hanging from a hook. The weight of the necklace stretches the cord, and you will end up having to restring things more often. Over time, you will notice that the pearls will wiggle between the knots. The knots may also show signs of fraying. These are signs that it is time to have your pearls restrung.

What do you think of opals for an engagement ring?

Opals are so fabulous, I can completely understand how someone would be drawn to having an opal for an engagement ring. They are like their own little worlds! However…there are a few things to consider when choosing an opal for an engagement ring. I am assuming that you will want to wear this ring EVERY DAY for the REST of your LIFE, and I’m hoping that you are right-handed. Otherwise, you will need to assume constant vigilance, and who wants to constantly be worried about their engagement ring?

Okay, so assuming you have dug in your heels and need to have a beautiful opal on your hand every day, please consider their delicate nature. Opals are soft (5.5-6.5 on hardness scale) and they don’t like extreme temperature changes. I don’t want you baking cookies and putting your hands in a hot oven and then washing your hands in cold water. 

I will hope that you wear your opal on your non-dominant hand (sorry lefties) and that the ring design protects the stone as much as possible. A bezel is a great idea!

 

Is it okay to stretch my ring to make it bigger?

Wedding bands that have NOT been previously sized may be safely stretched up a quarter of a size, and possibly a tiny bit more. Rings with gemstones can’t be stretched because it will pull on the settings for the stones and cause them to become loose.

My pearl necklace has broken. Can you simply reattach the thread where it has broken, or do I need to get them restrung?

If your pearls have been strung with knots between them, then it is more than likely that you will need to restring the entire strand. Having your pearls restrung with knots in between them is by far the safest way to wear your pearls. No one wants to be scrambling on the floor chasing after lots of rolling pearls!

My new gold bracelet is getting scuffed and dented quickly. What can I do?

I have discovered the hard way that I really shouldn’t wear my favorite gold bracelets on my dominant hand. My wonderful husband gave me a heavy gold bangle bracelet that I adore, and I had bruises on my wrist from clanging it on the counter while trying to write. He gets full credit for suggesting moving the bracelet to my non-dominant hand. Problem solved!

I swim a lot in the pool at my gym and also spend time in a hot tub on a daily basis. Can I wear my jewelry safely in the pool and hot tub?

While I completely understand not wanting to leave your jewelry in the gym locker, if you are regularly in chlorinated water, you need to be careful. Chlorine eats away at the alloys in gold, and I have seen many a spongy ring because of it. The chlorine over time will weaken the prong settings holding in your lovely diamonds and gemstones, and lots of stones are found in pool filters. If you have your heart set on wearing your baubles while you swim, please consider changing the prong settings for your gemstones to platinum, which will be safer. And please—do not wear pearls in the pool! They do not like chemicals of ANY kind.

The gold on my ring/bracelet looks brownish in color—what happened?

Often this is something that happens, and rest assured it can always be polished out. It is usually a chemical reaction to perfume, lotion, skincare, or possibly a reaction to a medication. Do not worry—it can be restored to its shiny self with a quick clean and polish.

 

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