As an Cornish jeweller, I’m sure you’re making a slew of errors with your work that I wish you weren’t making. It might be due to a lack of time or bad habits, but the most common reason is that you don’t have enough knowledge to recognise the issues.
So, for your own benefit, I’m here to assist you right your mistakes by identifying my top 12 jewellery blunders and how to prevent them. They’ll save you time and money while also ensuring that your jewellery (and you!) look beautiful.
Let’s get this party started:
- FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND THE MATERIALS USED IN THE MAKING OF JEWELLERY
When buying for jewellery, it’s important to know what the items are composed of. If the materials aren’t specified, the designs aren’t likely to be constructed of silver, gold, rose gold, or other precious metals. If you’re not sure, always inquire before you buy, especially if the item is expensive.
Simply because a piece of jewellery is gold or silver in colour does not indicate it is composed of those metals. If a piece of jewellery seems to be gold but is cheap, it is almost definitely not gold at all: at most, it will be thinly plated. Gold is a costly metal, and there is no such thing as inexpensive gold jewellery. Learn about gold and the many varieties of gold used in jewellery.
Base metal jewellery, such as brass or nickel, will not last long and will colour your skin black or green. It might potentially trigger allergic reactions or worse – particularly with nickel, which we highly advise you to avoid wearing. Thinly plated jewellery can soon corrode and expose the base metal beneath.
You should also know what kind of gemstones you’re looking at: whether they’re lab-grown or natural, or whether they’re completely phoney. In the appropriate circumstances, any of these alternatives is good, but it pays to be conscious of what you’re spending your hard-earned money on.
Of course, low-cost costume jewellery has its place, and if you’re comfortable with a design being a relatively short-lived fashion item and your skin tolerating the materials, it’s OK.
Always remember that information is power. Read our informative articles to learn more about gold and sterling silver, as well as why these precious metals are so valuable and helpful in jewellery. Also, have a look at our jewellery dictionary, which contains over 100 meanings for jewellery terminology and will help you keep up with the lingo while you’re out shopping.
- WEARING THE SAME JEWELRY ON A DAILY BASIS
Even I know how simple it is to get into the habit of wearing the same outfits every day and seldom changing them. However, there are a few reasons why it’s a healthy habit to break.
To begin with, your everyday jewellery will become filthy in areas you can’t see or in ways you don’t realise since the alterations are gradual. This is especially true with stud earrings, as a portion of them is buried behind your ear lobe, collecting chemicals from your hair and potentially causing infections.
Take off your usual clothes on a regular basis to clean them with warm soapy water and a soft bristles brush. This is something I recommend doing every 1-2 weeks. For further information on how to clean your jewellery, see the sections below.
Second, you’ll be dull, which no one wants! So consider your jewellery collection and how you may incorporate more of it into your daily routine.
If you don’t have much jewellery or if there are any gaps in your collection, make a strategy to add more items over time (including dropping big hints to loved ones at the right times of year, of course).
- FAILING TO BE CREATIVE WHEN IT COMES TO JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES
Don’t be boring, which is related to advice 2.
When the seasons change, it’s a perfect opportunity to play around with new clothing and accessories, especially jewellery, in front of the mirror. Make notes of what works for you while you get dressed for work or other situations, and be as creative as you can with combinations.
Make a list of any articles you wish you possessed in order to expand your wardrobe. Investing in the proper jewellery and accessories may give your outfit a boost of creativity and adaptability for years to come.
More guidance on how to make the most of your jewellery collection while without losing yourself in the process can be found in our 15 top jewellery style suggestions.
- FAILING TO CLEAN YOUR JEWELRY
As previously said, this is a significant event. Many people do not clean their jewellery on a regular basis, if at all. It’s easy to overlook the accumulation of general filth and tarnish, but believe me when I say that it will be there and obvious to others.
Because you wear jewellery on your skin and clothing for long periods of time while doing a variety of activities, it will, like your clothing, require cleaning from time to time.
At least twice a year, I recommend having your jewellery cleaned thoroughly (or more often depending on how you wear and store your pieces and if you live in a humid location). It’s a fantastic time to do it as the year progresses from warmer to cooler months. Depending on the items, this can range from a simple wash with a light soap to more intricate tarnish and dirt cleaning.
It’s a good idea to learn how to clean your jewellery safely and correctly. If you’re in a rush, start with our 10 easy suggestions for cleaning jewellery, but you should absolutely go further into our entire jewellery cleaning and maintenance guide.
Remember to make cleaning your jewellery a recurrent item in your calendar.
- APPLICATION OF INAPPROPRIATE JEWELRY CLEANING TECHNIQUES
While it is preferable to make an effort to clean your jewellery rather than not cleaning it at all, not all cleaning procedures are made equal, and some may permanently harm your valuables. So be cautious!
It is not a good idea to clean your valuable silver or gold jewellery with toothpaste. It’s abrasive, and it’ll wear down the metal over time, reducing the value of heritage pieces. It may also cause permanent harm to finishes. The same may be said about rubbing baking or bicarb soda paste against metal to clean it: don’t do it.
This is especially incorrect advice when it comes to gold vermeil, gold filled, or gold plated substitutes to genuine gold. You’ll probably remove the valuable gold from the surface of your jewellery, which will be difficult or impossible to replace. To further understand why, learn more about the many varieties of gold.
Using any type of alcohol with gemstones is probably a poor idea as well. In fact, if you’re like that sort of stuff, my favourite recommendation is to just consume alcohol for the sake of drinking. More permeable stones, such as pearls, opals, turquoise, and lapis lazuli, require extra care.
I recommend avoiding harsh chemicals from getting into touch with your jewellery unless they are explicitly advised by specialists for cleaning the sort of jewellery you own. For further information, see the care and cleaning articles referenced in tip 4.
- JEWELRY WEARING WHILE SWIMMING OR SHOWERING
There are a few reasons why you should not wear your jewellery in water.
For starters, it’s easy to misplace your jewellery, especially when showering. If the thought of your priceless gold ring falling off and disappearing down the drain makes you nervous, it’s not a smart idea to take the chance. Instead, make it a habit to store your jewellery in a secure location while you’re bathing.
Additionally, the residue from shampoos, conditioners, and soaps is likely to gum up your earrings, necklaces, and gemstone rings over time. If you do wear jewellery while showering or bathing, make sure to remove it every few weeks to clean it: stud earrings, in particular, as described above.
Pearls and opals, in particular, should not be frequently wet, since long-term contact to water and other chemicals can irreversibly damage and discolour these stones.
Finally, if you’re going swimming, I recommend leaving your valuables at home.
It is never a good idea to swim in a pool or the sea while wearing precious metal jewellery. Chlorine in swimming pools and jacuzzis may discolour silver and numerous gemstones, as well as damage gold. Salt water may corrode soldered pieces in metal jewellery and dull diamonds. That is something that no one desires.
- FAILING TO STORE YOUR JEWELRY PROPERLY
Avoid putting your jewellery in places where there is a lot of dampness, such as restrooms. In humid environments, sterling silver jewellery tarnishes more quickly, necessitating more time spent cleaning it.
You should also keep your priceless jewellery away from open air. It will get dusty and dirty in part, but sterling silver and other metals will tarnish much more quickly if kept unused in the open air.
Metal jewellery that becomes tangled and may readily rub against other metals, jewels, or harsh surfaces can also be harmed. Scratching and scuffing silver and gold, as well as softer gemstones, should be avoided.
I recommend keeping your jewellery in a specialised jewellery box, a jewellery roll, or even a little cushioned box for each item (or pair). This will reduce the amount of time you are exposed to moving air and humidity. It may also assist to avoid scratching and tangling, depending on your storage setup. The gift boxes that accompany with orders from our online jewellery store would be ideal.
If you want to hang your jewellery from a necklace tree or something similar, be prepared to clean it more frequently – and don’t forget to dust it!
- REMOVING NECKLACES WITHOUT CLASPING THEM
In relation to number 7, you should always fasten your necklaces while removing them. This will prevent tangled chains, which can be tough to untangle. I spend a lot of time as a jeweller untangling lengths of chain, and I can promise you that it’s not enjoyable.
If you’re still having difficulty with tangles, try utilising straws or other tubing as a solution. You may thread one end of the necklace through the straw before clasping it, thereby eliminating tangles for most necklaces.
- BUYING JEWELRY WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE ETHICS BEHIND IT
This is a suggestion I’m particularly enthusiastic about since jewellery may be an ethical quagmire (and we genuinely work hard to be as ethical and eco-friendly as possible).
Here are some things to think about when you’re shopping:
Is it feasible to employ recycled precious metals in the jewellery industry? Is it possible for it to recycle its own metals?
Are gemstones ethically sourced, particularly diamonds and other high-value stones that might come from conflict zones?
When is it OK to utilise lab-grown or artificial gemstones? While still of great quality, they are typically more ethical and sustainable than mined stones.
Does the vendor create and design their own jewellery? If not, where do the components come from and are the working conditions safe?
Is the vendor transparent about the materials they utilise in their designs?
Are the pricing reasonable? Someone is almost surely getting ripped off somewhere along the line (and it may even be you!) if something is too inexpensive.
Check out our post on how to properly support independent designers and why shopping small, local, and handmade is so important.
TEN. PURCHASING JEWELRY AT CHEAP RETAIL CHAIN STORES
I’m not going to name any names, but you’re familiar with the sorts of businesses I’m referring about: they’re the large jewellery chain stores that can be found in many shopping malls and online. They offer a world of nostalgic glitz for a little price.
Their items are sometimes acquired from individuals working in deplorable conditions, and the workmanship is sometimes bad, to the point that their jewellery is unrepairable if and when something goes wrong.
Find a smaller scale manufacturing jeweller with a strong reputation if you’re searching for high quality ‘traditional’ jewellery, especially if it’s intended to be a valuable emotional item. This type of jewellery is definitely worth the money.
Find independent designers you like (ideally including Simone Walsh Jewellery) and patronise them as much as you can to help them stay afloat if you’re seeking for more contemporary, artisan type jewellery.
These ways to jewellery purchasing can help you make a far better investment. You’ll also get the benefits of the feel-good factor by purchasing from companies that you can confidently support and help grow.
- FAILING TO SELECT A NECKLACE THAT COMPLIMENTS YOUR NECKLINE
Instead of continually wearing your favourite necklace or pendant with practically every ensemble, consider the various styles and lengths of necklaces that would complement various necklines. You’ll notice that it gives your clothes a lot more appeal and style.
In your jewellery collection, it’s a good idea to have a variety of necklace lengths. Necklace extenders are also a good investment because they allow you to simply change the lengths of your favourite necklaces and pendants.
Thankfully, we’ve put up a necklace lengths and style guide with a helpful chart to assist you. Thank you very much!
- NOT DETERMINING YOUR RING SIZE BEFORE GOING RING SHOPPING
When it comes to buying rings, not establishing your ring size accurately can only lead to irritation, delays, and potentially more costs: it’s best avoided. Before you go shopping, make sure you know your ring size and what the problems are.
For more information, see our ring size measurement reference page and our ring size conversion chart. The most crucial piece of advice is to obtain a ring sizer before you buy, or go to a jeweller in person to get an exact size.