String Cleaning

Lei Chic On behalf of the Department of Accessory Management, we regret to inform you that your jewelry box has been classified as a Clasp B hazard zone.

Upon a recent visit, our inspector found the following violations:

a) exposed heaps of tangled chains,
b) tarnished metals capable of endangering any outfit,
c) dozens of orphan earrings (Styled Protective Services has been notified).

You have two weeks to restore order. If you fail to comply, we will be forced to condemn your entire dresser.

Donna Shimazu, senior designer for Maui Divers of Hawaii and jewelry instructor at Honolulu Museum of Art School, has been appointed to assist you in this matter. She offers the following guidelines.

Store pieces separately to prevent scratching. Silver can be kept in treated jewelry bags or plastic bags with tarnish strips to absorb sulfur fumes. Gold should be stored in soft, breathable bags and pearls in non-scratch boxes and trays. Do not hang jewelry with heavy pendants or anything strung on a cord, which can lead to permanent kinks and stretching. Treat costume jewelry as you would real jewelry.

Don't leave jewelry in direct sunlight, hot lights or bathrooms. Heat can damage organic materials, like pearls, wood, shell and coral, and crack oil- and resin-treated gems and composites. Ultraviolet rays can fade dyes and stones like quartz, kunzite, carnelian, chrysoprase and turquoise. Costume jewelry and metals are prone to tarnish and discolor when exposed to moisture and heat.

The best and safest (not to mention budget-friendly) cleaner is mild soap, with warm water and a soft bristle brush or cotton cloth. Periodically remove body oils, soap and cosmetic residue, and dry jewelry completely. Avoid harsh, abrasive commercial cleaners and be careful with ultrasonic cleaning, which can damage treated gems and delicate stones.

Apply makeup, hairspray and perfume before putting on jewelry. The chemicals can damage, dull, discolor and corrode your jewelry. If you accidentally spray your jewelry, wipe it immediately with a soft cloth.

Do not wear jewelry while swimming, cleaning and gardening. Salt water, chlorine and acids can discolor, etch and pit precious metals, while excessive abrasion can erode plating.

Check settings, prongs, clasps and other moving parts that are exposed to friction. Rings and bracelets take the most wear and tear. If settings need tightening or repair, take them to a reputable jeweler.

Keep a small container, like an empty Altoids box, in your purse to carry necklaces or earrings on the go.

Some materials will inevitably change over time. Body chemistry can dissolve calcium-based pearls and corals and tarnish metals. Leather will eventually deteriorate and eventually need to be replaced.