Christies Jewelry Blog

Interesting Facts About Jewelry

What exactly is jewelry?
According to Wikipedia, jewelry “consists of small decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks.”

Engagement Rings
Engagement rings date all the way back to the year 1477, when Maximilian the 1st, of Austria, gave one to his fiancé Mary of Burgundy.

Diamonds
Diamonds were first discovered in India, over 2400 years ago.
Surprisingly, diamonds are actually not as rare as you might think, at least not inside of the Earth. There is an enormous amount of diamonds inside the Earth. Some even claim that there are quadrillion tons of diamonds deep below the surface of the Earth.

The Cullinan Diamond
The largest gem-quality rough diamond that we know of, the Cullinan Diamond, was found in the year 1905 in South Africa. It was named after Thomas Cullinan who was chairman of the mine in which the diamond was discovered. The Cullinan Diamond weighs a whopping 3,106.75 carats (which equals 621.35 grams).

Caring For Fine Jewelry

The first thing to think about when trying to take care of your fine jewelry is where to store your jewelry. Now if you just have a few pieces you can store your jewelry in the boxes that it came in. Normally it will be presented to you in a way that is good to store it. The idea is to keep your jewelry away from heat, sun, and light. These are all things that can destroy jewelry. It also keeps your jewelry from being scratched. You want your jewelry in separate compartments or secured in a way that they’re not banging together. The worst thing you can do is throw it all in a box or a bin and have it banging together. That can damage jewelry.

The second thing is cleaning. The best way to clean your jewelry is to get a mild liquid soap-a mild dishwashing soap not a detergent. Put it in water. Create a sudsy little bath in a bowl. Put your jewelry in there. Let it sit for just a little bit, and then brush it with something soft like a makeup brush or a baby toothbrush. And then rinse it. Then empty that out and rinse it well. Before you do this place a washcloth at the bottom of the sink. This way you won’t lose your piece of jewelry down the drain. And if you do drop the jewelry into the sink it’s not going to hit a hard sink, it’ll hit a soft washcloth. The blue solvents that you often get at a big-box stores can be fine for diamond jewelry and gold, but a lot of stones will not do well in that solvent which is mostly alcohol. There are also ultrasonic cleaners, and those can be good or bad depending on your jewelry. Again, if it’s anything other than just diamonds and gold it could harm the jewelry. That shaking around if everything isn’t very secure can be bad for the jewelry. You are safest just with the warm sudsy bath and rinsing it out. This is also true of pearls, but pearls are a little bit of a different story.
There are also liquids that are meant to dip your silver in. Only do that for a short period of time – just dip it in and out. And only do it if you want your silver to be truly bright and shiny. A lot of times silver is meant to patina. The designer created it so that grooves and different aspects of it patina, get a little bit darker, which makes the whole piece richer. So be aware that you may not want to dip your jewelry. When it comes to cleaning there can be some specific things that you should know about a specific piece so it’s good to know what you have.
If you inherited the piece of jewelry or we’re gifted it, take it to a jeweler and ask them what you have. And then you can look up how that piece of jewelry should be cleaned and cared for.

The third point is that jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. There are several reasons for this. First of all, different solvents, different things that you wear, things like perfume and hairspray can ruin jewelry. It can make it dirty, or it can even harm some stones. Even soaps and lotions can get it dirty and may harm some stones. The other thing is if you take your clothes off before taking off your jewelry, you may rip a chain, yank a chain, or pull an earring out. It’s safest to just have the jewelry be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. If you’re out and about and you’re shopping and you decide you want to try on clothes, go ahead and try on the clothes. Just be very careful. If you have a little pouch or bag that you can put those things safely in and wrap them up do that. Otherwise like with a necklace tuck it into your shirt and then take it off. Just be aware of all your jewelry, and make sure before you leave any dressing room that you have accounted for every single piece, including your earrings and the backs of your earrings.

The next thing is not to swim or shower in your jewelry. In the shower the soaps can scum up your jewelry and you’re in danger of yanking something or bending a prong or ripping a chain. Also, chlorine is not good for jewelry. Saltwater is not good for jewelry. Sunscreen is terrible for jewelry.

The fifth thing is not to wear your jewelry while you’re exercising or doing sports. This is not only for your jewelry but also for you. Somebody can yank a chain, and it could harm you.

Another thing is not to sleep in your jewelry. This has to do with bending a prong, ripping a chain, but it also has to do with your own well-being. Earrings have been known to be found in people’s ears after a good night’s sleep.

One of the good things about fine jewelry is that it can usually be fixed. Prongs that are bent can be fixed. Chains that are broken can be fixed. If you ding or dent or even really bend your jewelry it can often be fixed. That’s the good news. If you lose a stone or scratch a stone that’s a little harder to repair. The stone can be replaced and, depending on the piece, you may have to have the stone cut specifically for that piece.
A good practice is to take your jewelry into a reputable jeweler about once every six months or so, especially the pieces that you wear often, and they will clean them. They will inspect them, and they’ll let you know if anything needs to be done to them.

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