It’s clear COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, so the more we learn to live with it, the better. It’s great that we are all getting used to social distancing and relentlessly washing our hands. We have new-found discipline when it comes to not touching our faces or fingernails and I am even enjoying the warmth that a facemask provides in winter!
However one thing that isn’t often talked about is keeping your jewellery clean. Jewellery that is worn every day is wonderful for harbouring bacteria. As well as getting into the small crevices of rings, bracelets and watchbands, bacteria and viruses are also known to sit on hard surfaces for longer than other surfaces. For example, studies suggest COVID-19 may last up to three days on stainless steel. So as well as washing your hands regularly it’s a good idea to clean your jewellery and metal watch bands separately.
The good news is that diamonds and precious metals are quite resilient so with a little attention to detail, caring for them between professional cleans is not too tricky. Here are some tips on how to clean some of the most common everyday gold and silver jewellery:
To clean a diamond engagement ring at home put some very hot water and dishwashing liquid into a heatproof bowl or cup and leave to soak for about ten minutes. After it has been left to soak, take an old, very soft toothbrush and gently brush your ring, paying particular attention to the nooks and crannies around the setting. Rinse with warm water and wipe with a soft cloth. Take note not to use a hard toothbrush or scrub too vigorously or this could cause scratch marks on the metal. Similarly, dry with a soft cloth, not paper towel as paper towels can also leave scratches.
If the ring is particularly dirty, you can also add a few drops of household ammonia. This will help remove badly built up grease and dirt without the temptation of scrubbing too hard! Be careful not to add too much as ammonia is a strong and corrosive chemical. Also always add ammonia to the water, not water to ammonia; this is important to avoid a strong chemical reaction.
If you have an engagement ring (or other rings) with other stones, it is important that you understand the properties of those stones before you start cleaning as many stones are quite delicate and require special care. Here’s a few extra tips on some other common stones:
The links on bracelets can collect dirt, dead skin and bacteria. However providing they don’t contain lots of delicate stones, they tend to be quite straightforward to clean. As with a diamond ring, you can simply place them in container of very hot soapy water and leave to soak for about ten minutes. After it has been left to soak, take the bracelet in your hand and use an old very soft toothbrush and gently scrub the links. Rinse with warm water and wipe with a soft cloth. It’s super simple, and your bracelet will thank you for it with a vibrant shine.
Watches can be similar to bracelets for collecting bacteria and dead skin. For a watch band, obviously don’t submerge your watch in water but use a toothbrush that has been dipped in warm soapy water and very gently use the brush on the grooves between the links to release any trapped dirt or dead skin. Carefully wash away the soapy water and dirt with a clean wet cloth and then follow up with a dry soft cloth.
A final tip – if you heat damp sponges or cloths in the microwave for a minute, it will kill any residual bacteria. Toothbrushes you’ve used for cleaning can also be simply sterilised with boiling water.
When it comes to making a fashion statement, you should always dress in a way that makes you feel fantastic. It's also lovely to get compliments on how wonderful YOU look rather than on just the pieces you are wearing.
So how do you choose items that bring out your best features? When it comes to statement earrings, the best way to create an impact is to ensure that you choose earring styles that suit your face shape and features. Find out your face type and tips on earring styles to complement you.
Why choose precious metals? Many of us wear our favourite jewellery day in, day out. This means that it needs to be constructed of materials that will stand the test of time and will be comfortable to wear. Silver and gold are particularly prized for their durability as well as their hypoallergenic properties. While jewellery made from base metals such as brass may be cheaper, these metals are less durable and much more likely to create an allergy. That's why it's important to look out for hallmarks, or metal "fineness" or "quality" marks when buying jewellery.