Shopping for a new accessory can be stressful. Oftentimes, unless you specifically ask, jewelers aren't going to volunteer up information about which pieces may turn your skin green or how to tell the difference between cubic zirconium and the real deal. Unfortunately, not all jewelry pieces come with a “handle with care” booklet to fill us in on how to best care for what could be the most expensive pieces in our lives.
After working as a publicist in Hollywood and making jewelry as a form of catharsis, Ariel Gordon decided to make designing jewelry her full-time gig. She attended Revere University in San Francisco, California, launched her first line for Ariel Gordon Jewelry in 2009, and is now a wealth of knowledge in all things dainty jewelry, including a few things your jeweler won't tell you. And yes, Ziploc bags are involved.
Really, your safety is in your own hands. Gordon, whose pieces can be seen on Karlie Kloss on the September issue cover of Flare Magazine, shared nine tips your jeweler might not share — unless you specifically ask them of course. If they still won't give you the proper info about the points below after you inquire? It's time to find a new jeweler.
1. By Definition, Silver will Tarnish.
And, unfortunately, Gordon says there's not much you can do about it. But, fortunately, it is reversible, with a little bit of elbow grease and a polishing cloth.
"Some people, depending on the pH of their skin and when they wear the jewelry, will notice that their jewelry tarnishes more quickly," Gordon tells me in a phone interview. She suggested avoiding any sort of chemicals — including chorine, lotion, perfume, and even air — to reduce the speed of the oxidation process.
2. Ziploc Bags Are BAE
Gordon admits to storing all of her jewelry, especially necklaces, in Ziploc bags. Instead of placing all of her jewelry in a bag, fastening it, then traveling, Gordon keeps the clasps hanging out of the bag, and Ziploc-ing it up. That prevents the jewelry from clumping and tangling. Of course, Gordon says she will then occasionally put those bags in a travel tote or her purse, for style reasons.
3. You Should Consider Your Lifestyle Before Buying A Piece of Jewelry
When she is customizing an engagement ring for couples, Gordon says she inquires about her clients lifestyle. If he or she is active and uses their hands often, she realizes they don't want something that will catch on things.
If that's the case, Gordon will "set the ring as low down as possible to the finger so that there’s less to kind of bump on thing." If the ring fits snugly, it's less likely to snag as you run around doing all your activities.
4. Keep Jewelry Away From Chemicals
Although gold is hardier than silver, Gordon recommends keeping both types of fibers away from chemical solutions (that means cleaning fluid, too) in order to reduce tarnishing or oxidation. Anything 14-carat or 18-carat, according to Gordon, won't change color. Unfortunately, however, as stated earlier, the pH of some skin types will cause the jewelry to change skin color.
"You just want to be careful if you’re working in the garden, or using your hands, banging a ring around, it can get dented or scratched," Gordon says. "But I feel like that’s part of the price of wearing jewelry and I don’t worry too much about that."
5. Plating Is A Decent Solution... But Only Temporarily
"If it’s plated, that’s a whole other story, because actually the plating wears off, [rather than the actual metal wearing down]," says Gordon.
Like silver, plating on a piece of jewelry will wear off, which means that eventually the metal beneath will eventually tarnish as well. While jewelers may try to use this as a selling point, its better to just get solid gold or silver of higher quality.
6. How The Ring Is Set Matters
For someone leading an active lifestyle, Gordon recommends a double-setting engagement ring as opposed to a prong set. Gordon explains that the double setting includes a strip of metal around the diamond, whereas the prong setting has four prongs that can catch on things, dent, and possibly cause the stone to fall out.
7. Keep Dental Sticks On Hand
If she can't find her Ultrasonic, Gordon uses interdental cleaners to shine up her rings on the go.
"I just use a little bit of warm water and a mild hand-soap. I just scrub around the diamond, and scrub underneath the setting using that little dental sticks. it works in a pinch to kind of bring the shine back," Gordon says.
8. Keep Jewelry Out Of The Bathroom
Much like the oxidation process, keeping jewelry in the bathroom will only speed up eventual tarnishing. If you have a cute jewelry hanging sculpture standing next to your medicine cabinet, either retire it or move it to your bedroom.
9. Breaking A Piece Of Jewelry Is Not The End Of The World
"I want to be able to swim in my jewelry, workout in my jewelry and sleep in it and not have to worry about it changing color on me," Gordon says. She will help clients clean jewelry, but says it's also something he or she should be able to do on their own. And, if it does break, Gordon says to fix it and move on, regardless of how much you paid for the piece.
Images: Ariel Gordon Jewelry (10)