Tips: Caring for Handcrafted Jewelry

Roslyn Jewelry Care & Tips Handmade Jewelry

We are not immune from the wear and tear of life and neither is your gemstone jewelry. Knowing more about caring for handcrafted jewelry will give you a lifetime of wearing pleasure and enjoyment. A semi-precious stone, also referred to as a gemstone, is a portion of a mineral and when refined is cut into the 130 types of stones, minerals and crystals classified and fashioned into beads for jewelry making. Many stones are susceptible to scratching and chipping, therefore proper care is needed to ensure their lasting beauty. The materials used at Earth and Moon Design are mainly semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal, glass from Czechoslovakia and artisan blown glass.  

Wearing handcrafted jewelry is fun, colorful and fashionable, and it evokes treasured memories of occasions when it was worn or purchased. Being thoughtful by taking a few daily steps can keep your beaded jewelry scratch free and looking like new; prolong the life of your jewelry.

What NOT to do with your Handcrafted Beaded Jewelry and WHY 

ABOUT DON’TS: If we know the reason for taking or not taking an action, we are more likely to remember it and follow the advice.

  • Avoid contact between your jewelry, chlorine, salt water, sand and other chemicals. WHY– It can alter the finish on your semi-precious beads and cause a breakdown (scratching & abrasions) of precious metals and stones. However, if unavoidable, rinse jewelry with fresh, lukewarm water and dry with a soft polishing cloth before putting away. 
  • While sunscreen is good for your skin, it is not good for the string, wire or thread used on pearls and beaded jewelry. WHY– It can weaken the material your beads are on and eventually the string or wire will break.
  • If using insect repellent on a hike in the woods, in a park or on a run, DON’T wear jewelry.  WHY– It can erode the metal, stones or string.
  • Don’t wear rings if going for a swim.  WHY– Ocean cold water causes shrinking fingers and off goes your ring.
  • Don’t store Pearls in a plastic bag or close to other jewelry.  WHY– The surface is soft and can get easily scratched.  Best to store in a silk bag or a velvet lined box.
  • DON’T store your jewelry in the bathroom. WHY-The humidity can ruin the materials.
  • Don’t use a tissue or paper towel to wipe off your jewelry.  WHY– Like an eyeglass lens, the gemstone’s surface is scratchable so always use a soft polishing cloth or 100% cotton cloth.
  • Don’t use commercial jewelry cleaner on your handcrafted beaded jewelry. WHY- Chemicals are too abrasive.
  • Don’t stack or pile several necklaces on top of one another. WHY- Some stones are soft or porous, like Pearls, Lapis, Malachite, Turquoise, Amber and Opals and can be easily scratched by the clasps and edges of other jewelry. Protect them by wrapping with a soft cloth and store separately.
  • Don’t bend your wire wrapped jewelry back and forth.  WHY– It will weaken the wire and eventually break.

The Do’s: How to Care for Handmade Jewelry

  • Always put your  jewelry on AFTER applying your makeup, styling your hair, applying perfume and lotions. A nice RULE to remember: Jewelry is the LAST thing you put on when dressing and the FIRST thing you take off when undressing.
  • Do take your fine jewelry for a professional cleaning yearly as a jeweler will check settings. Beaded jewelry can be cared for at home with proper wiping before storage. If a necklace is worn frequently, over time the string or wire can weaken and you might want to have it restrung before it breaks.
  • Do always keep your accessories easy to see and accessible.  WHY– When tucked inside drawers you are less likely to enjoy wearing them. Each piece of jewelry should be stored separately and here are just a few ways you can choose to do this:
    • Items, like bracelets and earrings, can be grouped together and stored separately- using little pretty dishes or trays with small compartments.
    • Necklaces should be hung to keep them from tangling. 
    • You can make your own storage by hanging a towel rod on the wall, sliding S-hooks over the rod and hanging your jewelry on the S- hooks keeping necklaces, earrings and bracelets each in their own areas. 
    • A clever product similar to a shoe bag organizer can be purchased from the Container Store.Cool way to store jewelry
    • Or consider a handmade jewelry holder made from wood by a Facebook artisan friend.

Handcrafted wooden jewelry organizer

Fun Bonus Tips:

  • If you have necklaces with chain, run the chain through a straw and clasp or place in a zip lock bag, keep about 1” of the chain, clasp end out of the top of the bag.  WHY- To keep your chain jewelry from tangling.
  • Store a silica packet or a piece of chalk inside a bag with a piece of jewelry. WHY – It absorbs the extra moisture.

The finish and color of the stones in a gemstone beaded necklace is what probably attracted you to buy  it; let’s keep them clean, scratch free and glistening. At EarthandMoonDesign.com we are always available to answer your questions.

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Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 74

  1. Another fabulous post! I have wondered about how to care for jewelry properly, especially handmade pieces. This post goes above and beyond in answering that question for me. I’m telling my daughter about the straw trick, too. She is always getting necklaces tangled.

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      Thanks, Lisa Mason for your thoughtful comment and compliment. The more I delved and pondered, the more information I wanted to share. I don’t have chain jewelry but thought it would be a handy tip.

  2. I still remember with a shudder when I ruined a lovely necklace which was studded with pink pearls and zircons in a butterfly shape choker not because I did not follow the rules for jewelry maintenance but because I had gone for a wedding which was out in the open and the humidity made my makeup and perfume run on the neck! It hurt more because it was a gift from my mother who promised to get the damage undone but still…….

    I love the tip about the straws for chains. It is a nightmare when the chains get tangled. Thanks for the tips, Roslyn.

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      So sorry Vatsala Shukla to hear about the damage to this necklace. Unexpected things do happen that we did not anticipate. Would love to share your experience, maybe in a FB post or would you want to create a post in future & share it to my Page?

      I thought the straw & chain tip was a home run.

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      I’ve been thinking Vatsala Shukla about your ruined pearls and did some additional research. I’m wondering if you have tried the following: Dirty (meaning lotions and makeup) pearls can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution (try Ivory flakes)?
      Other info. Never clean your pearls with solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents and don’t put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner.

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  3. This is a great article for jewelry owners, Roslyn. I admit I am a bit cavalier with my jewelry, as I do keep it on the counter in my washroom, which is really a powder room so not a lot of humidity to interfere with my bracelets. I always take my jewelry off before I go to sleep or before I go swimming though. There are many cleansing and reenergizing tips I have heard relating to precious and semi-precious stones. That is always interesting for me to hear. So have to do with infusing the necklace or bracelet with under the full moon, something I have yet to do. Thanks for the “whys”, as I agree it does help to understand, which leads us to be more likely to actually take the action. Great article and something all of us who love our jewelry needs to hear!

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      Appreciate your thoughtful response Beverley Golden. Serious jewelry designers cover this topic & I was thinking what content could I provide that would be different and perhaps make a difference. That’s when I came up with including the reason’s WHY. Hope it helps readers retain the info so their jewelry can last and be treasured.

  4. Roz, these are really great tips. I had no idea about some of them and am so glad you mentioned them. I wish I had taken my rings to the jeweler on a regular basis because I recently noticed that one of the diamond chips is missing.

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      Sorry to hear that Julie Latz. Perhaps a jeweler could replace the chipped diamond. I focused this piece on the tips for the type of materials we use in our designs. Glad I threw in the suggestion how to care for precious stones. Glad some tips were new information.

  5. Great post! I also make handmade jewelry and I’m amazed at some of the ways people mistreat their jewelry. I’ve even received e-mails where people have told me that they never take off their jewelry and want to know if my jewelry discolors if they go swimming. You have some great tips that I’ve never thought of.

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      Nice to know I can provide information to a fellow jewelry designer. A common practice from some people is to shower, swim etc cause ‘they never take their jewelry off’. They might alter this practice if their jewelry gets damaged. I focused on tips for handcrafted jewelry for the materials we use in our designs.

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  6. Another great post Roslyn! I will add – “don’t wear your beloved jewelry out on the farm while training llamas or digging post holes.” I’ve done that! Eek. I’ve also lost a ring – temporarily – when it came off in my glove on a winter day with temps below zero F. My local jeweler who cleans/repairs my rings has gotten me convinced to take them off before going out to work on the farm. I appreciate your additional tips about cleaning/caring for jewelry.

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      Vickie Maris, wish I had thought of that to add to my BONUS Tips. I think that would have gotten a chuckle. Glad your ring loss was only temporary and you are now removing them before doing your farm work.

  7. I love these tips. And yes, I’m one of those “why” people. Don’t just tell me “do this or do that,” tell me why. Not because I think you’re lying, but it just makes it easier to remember. And now you’ll have to excuse me: I need to put my freshwater pearl necklace I recently purchased from you and put it back in it’s bag. I don’t want it scratched!

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      Thanks so much Jackie for picking up on the feature I felt extra good about providing. Really wanted to have this information stick in jewelry lovers minds so they follow them. I noticed as I’m learning social media marketing, I can follow a tutorial but when I know WHY, it sticks. Glad you are loving your new pearl necklace and putting it safely inside its pouch. The boys might want to play with it so keeping it on your neck or pouch seems wise.

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  8. What great tips! I especially love the one about keeping chains in a straw to keep them from getting tangled. I just wish I read this post a few days ago, I was JUST at the container store!! 🙂

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      Lisa Swanson, the chain tip was really an after-thought as we don’t do many designs with chain.You can click on the image in the post for details about the jewelry holder from the Container stre or take a peak at it next time you are there. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. I always put my jewelry on last when getting dressed. And with the exception of a gold necklace that I almost never take off, I take everything off first thing when going to bed.

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  10. Awesome advice, Roz. I hang my necklaces on a clothing rod in the closet and cover it with a pillowcase to keep them dust free. Do you have any suggestions for cleaning stabilized turquoise? I have a necklace that seems to have collected a coating of lotion.

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      Carol Rundle, what a great way to take care of your jewelry. Love the idea of covering them to keep them dust free. The method for cleaning your stabilized turquoise necklaces is to clean your turquoise in warm, sudsy water and dry it immediately with a soft cloth.Don’t use commercial jewelry cleaners. The stabilized means that the stone is no longer porous, so the lotion is on top/ Use a 100% cotton cloth, not paper towel or even a bath towel. An old hubby’s T-shirt should do.

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      Welcome to our blog Karen Grosz. Mostly we just love wearing our jewelry and if during the process all is well, we are ok. Including the reason not to do something helped make sense of the don’t. I love your add to especially use the straw chain tip for travel. Chain necklaces can sill get knotted even if placed inside travel designed storage, so the chain idea is looking better all the time.

  11. Great tips Roz. I have been doing many things wrong and I suspect I may have even blamed the beautiful Goddesses for broken bracelets when maybe my lack of care had caused the string to become weak.

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      I hear you Tamuria. I think it natural to not ponder wear and tear on jewelry similarly with clothes. Suddenly our favorite tee is looking worn or a hole popped up cause we were gardening often on our knees. See if you can try applying one or two of these tips.

  12. I really appreciate your tips about the storing jewelry in a bag that is visible! I am totally guilty of putting all of my jewelry in a drawer-type box and then forgetting what I have!! I know what to ask for for Christmas now 🙂

    Thank you!

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      Welcome to oir blog Erin and I’m so glad you found these tips useful. Hope you get a stand up jewelry storage holder that you can keep on a wall or dresser, so you get to enjoy your treasures.

  13. I had no idea you’re not supposed to stack jewelry one onto another. I just learned something new. As for storing, I have a nice place in the closet with some drawers where I store it. I open it every day and TADA here they are, all my beautiful necklaces ready to be worn.

    Thanks for your great tips, Roz!

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  14. Oh Oh.. I’m guilty of doing a lot of the “no no’s”… Going to get Joe to build me a behind the door jewelry box that’s 2′ x 4′ so they don’t touch. I do have a little wire frame mannequin that holds my jewelry, but they overlap. I have noticed that a lot of my black jewelry is turning copper and yes, I wore those during the summer. Wonder if there is a way to bring them back to the natural colour.

    I’m going to print out the section of the post and put it inside my jewelry box.

    Thanks Roz!

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      Gisele Grenier, Would love to help you restore your jewelry. Do you know what the material, stone or bead of your black jewelry is? Is it the necklace or the clasp that has turned color?

      1. The material, I have no idea. it’s some type of metal/aluminum. The chain, clasp and dangly thingy are turning a copper colour. Something in your body can turn jewelry a different colour right? PH or alkaline.. something like that?

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          Gisele Grenier, so it is not the beads but the metal and you are correct. It interacts with the oils in your skin, especially when sweating and turns the metal or tarnishes. There is no solution I know of and have experienced this myself. It is why I stick to beads, not chain.

  15. Great tips Roz – and thanks for including the Whys for us as you shared your knowledge. I was lucky this past year that I noticed a prong to my ring had broken before the stone fell out – will have it fixed and monitor it now!!

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      So glad you plan to have your ring fixed by a professional jeweler. Glad you like the inclusion of the WHYS. I did not see other articles including it. I know my own retention is better when I know WHY.

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  16. I love this list of tips, Roslyn. I’m gonna convert the perfect rod right away.

    You write the BEST blog on jewellery. I’m betting there would be other media would love to carry your blog, too.

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  17. Wow.. this must be like one of my favs… sooooo practical for everyone! GREAT advice Roz. My mom has some of those hanger things, however, they are in her bathroom… bad girl! And all jewelry is put on last… shower, lotion, makeup, hair then clothes then jewelry… cuz don’t want makeup on clothes and need to “match” the jewels and we know girls always change their clothes tons of times! lol

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      I see Kristen that you got the lesson. Please talk MOM into removing her dolls with jewelry from the bathroom to a bedroom dresser. Give her that quote:Jewelry is the LAST thing you put on when dressing and the FIRST thing you take off when undressing.

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  18. Roslyn, these are great tips – and ones I had never heard of; well, most of them. I knew about the pearls as my grandmother strung pearls for a local jewelry store and my grandfather was a jeweler. I love, love, love you handmade pieces and I look forward to the day I will purchase a few of your pieces; and now I’ll know how to take care of them! My favority tip was putting jewelry on last when dressing and the first thing to remove when undressing. Thank you for the tips!

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      Wow, Tamara MacDuff, you grew up amidst jewelry. I bet you had fun playing dress up when visiting your grandparents. I know you will be a great caretaker and hope you can choose something from our collection. Perhaps for the holidays. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. Wow, I don’t wear jewelry other than watch ( I’m not sure watch counts as jewelry..) but I know that you shared great information here in this blog. I like you reminded us that “Jewelry is the LAST thing you put on when dressing and the FIRST thing you take off when undressing.” Great tips Roslyn! Thank you for sharing!

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  20. I love these dos and donts list Roslyn! “keep your accessories easy to see and accessible” – a rule I haven’t respected for years. And I definitely enjoy wearing more jewelry now that they are stored at a more visible place…

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      Welcome to our blog Erika Kalmar and so glad you are enjoying your jewelry more. It makes a big difference to have them front and center when rushing around to complete a look.

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      Welcome to our blog Denyse Whillier and thank you for your comment. Happy to hear you took immediate action. It will be so much easier to select your daily necklace.

  21. Thanks for the advice on not cleaning my handcrafted jewelry with a cleaner. My husband just got me a nice beaded necklace and I wanted to make sure that it lasted for a long time. I will definitely follow your advice and not clean my necklace with chemicals.

  22. I really appreciate your tip to avoid wearing your ring in the water since the cold might cause it to shrink. My wife and I recently got a new house with a pool, and my wife really likes to relax in the pool. I will be sure to tell my wife that when she is in the pool, she should avoid wearing her ring!

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