Jewelry should be the last thing on before heading out the door and the first thing off when returning. Why? Because most jewelry can’t withstand exposure to everyday tasks like cleaning, bathing and even doing hair and makeup. While it’s true that karat gold jewelry won’t tarnish, that doesn’t mean it can be exposed to chemicals or excessive “wear abuse” if you want it to look as good as the day you got it.

Some of us like to wear our jewelry all the time and that’s okay if you’re able to distinguish the times that you should actually remove it to protect it.

Store in a clean, dry place

Store your jewelry in a pouch or cloth for safekeeping. Avoid storing multiple items together in a dish or bowl. Never store jewelry in a bathroom or near where hair and makeup are done.

Avoid harsh chemicals

Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolor precious metals and may harm colored gems. Everyday substances like hairspray, lotions, perfumes, skincare, and cosmetics contain chemicals that can and will permanently damage the surface of your jewelry over time. This includes chlorinated pools and of course, household cleaners.

When in doubt, take it off

Jewelry has no business being in a swimming pool. Chlorine can damage stones and is particularly harmful to gold. Chlorine can also cause a chemical reaction on jewelry with oxidation (black patina).

Jewelry should be removed when bathing including hand washing. Soap residue can build up on the surface of your jewelry and result in damage. Soap can also cause chemical reactions on the surface of the metal making it appear pitted or a different color.

Strenuous activity
Remove your jewelry when doing strenuous activities. Some examples include working out, gardening, moving heavy objects around, cleaning, sports, etc. Silver and gold are both very soft metals and are susceptible to scratches and dents.


To remove light dirt, fingerprints, or makeup from jewelry use a small amount of unscented dish soap in warm water with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The bristles in the toothbrush are a great way to get into small crevices. Make sure to dry the piece completely before storing it. Canned air can help untrap water from small crevices and minimize water spots. Polishing clothes work for shiny jewelry only. It’s important to never use a polishing cloth on matte, textured, or oxidized finishes. Never soak pearls or turquoise. No commercial jewelry “cleaners” will be safe to use. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners to clean pieces that have stones.