My jeweler friend Casey Gallant, of Stephen Gallant Jewelers wrote this up and is letting me share. This is as good an excuse as any to share pictures of messed up jewelry. Which jewelers love to do. I'm calling this post the jewelry hall of shame because I'm proud of all these great broken jewelry pics.
TOP 3 REASONS YOUR JEWELRY BROKE....hint....it's usually not the jewelry's fault. -- Casey Gallant
Folks, we're serving up some tough love today.
We saw over a dozen pieces of jewelry come in this week whose damage could have easily been avoided.
Since our customers acted surprised when we told them how, we thought we'd share some tips on how to get the longest life out of your jewelry.
Three Reasons Jewelry Broke
- Sleeping in it. Yep, seems harmless, you're just resting for hours, right? But prongs can snag in sheets and hair gets tangled around chains overnight EVERY night and can cause them to break.
- Wearing it to the gym (or golfing, or mowing the lawn, or tennis, etc). Any activity where you are lifting or pushing a heavy object is going to damage the back of a ring (see Photo). These activities are the perfect time to pop on a Qalo silicon band to protect your finger AND your fine jewelry rings.
- Dirt. The #1 thing we hear is "I wear it all the time." And that's ok, but you need to clean your jewelry, and not just so it LOOKS pretty. Dust from the air (or dirt from your garden, sand from the beach) and oils from your skin (lotions, sunscreens, bugspray) can combine to act like a sandpaper and wear away at the metal links in your bracelets and necklaces, and between rings to wear them thin.
Can We Talk About Wearing Jewelry 24/7?
"My ring is getting hung up on my clothes. I think I need a new prong. Do I have to leave it? I never take it off. I can't live without my ring!" Name left off to protect the innocent.
It's a good idea to take off your ring at least once a month and clean your ring . Uncleaned rings can lead to contact dermatitis or other irritated skin reactions. Dirt gets between prongs and gems, changing the position of your prongs and months later that dirt comes out. Yay, your ring is clean. But your setting is now looser, this lays the groundwork for you to lose your gemstones.
Just because no gemstones have fallen out of your ring, or it's not showing breakage, or catching on your clothes, doesn't mean it doesn't need a tune-up. This intricate vintage ring is in dire need of help, but it is valiantly soldiering on in spite of its need.
What Can You Do to Avoid the Jewelry Hall of Shame?
Listen, there's no law against wearing your jewelry 24/7. And we certainly don't suggest you put your jewelry away and not wear it; you should enjoy it! Just set the correct expectations if you do.
The more you wear it, and the rougher you wear it, the more you will need to maintain it. Remember, we always do checking when we do cleaning, so don't hesitate to get a cleaning.
Remember diamonds are forever, but the metal holding them needs care and maintenance!
Avoid Putting Your Jewelry Down Near a Garbage Disposal
I thought I'd add a few tips from the archives of, "I never saw this before!" My friend Sako of Cicada Jewelry sourced and cut the opal needed to return this ring to loveliness. My hat is off to him. If you'd like to see more garbage disposal craziness check out my blog post, Ring vs Garbage Disposal Story. I've been dying to see this ring in the jewelry hall of shame. Do check out the blog, it had a happy ending.
Avoid Running Over Your Jewelry With Your Car
I've seen more than one ring run over. Full disclosure, I ran over an earring that fell off my ear. Still not sure how I managed that. Luckily it was a round brilliant diamond and thought the setting was toast, I reset the diamond which didn't even get chipped.
Antique Jewelry and the Damage That Can Happen
Sometimes jewelry just gets so worn that simple repair isn't good enough. In the case of this sweet ring the filigree hearts broke after years of wearing. Happily the right jeweler lovingly brought it back to life. It's now being checked yearly and doing well.
The Jewelry Hall of Shame - Your Ring's Prongs
When I was a young jeweler, I had no idea how prongs can wear out, twist around or snap off. After thirty six years, I've learned my lesson. Now I tell everyone, get your prongs checked at least once a year.
I love this picture of the bent and broken off prongs. You look at it and you think, "Oh, I'd totally notice that." But even people who regularly look at their jewelry regularly can have disasters like this happen. It's like we glance at it and see a picture in our minds from when it was cleaner and in good working order.
Older rings need to be checked more often because there is more wear on their settings. When one prong breaks off it is often a great idea to check all the other prongs and have others preemptively fixed at the same time. When you have more gemstones it's easier to miss that problems are developing. In the pictured multi-diamond ring shown it suffered from weird previous repairs as well as worn down prongs.
Prongs don't always snap off. Sometimes they bend outward. Warning signs are catching on clothing. It's not always as obvious as this runaway prong.
Eternity Bands Can Get Damage on All Sides
Daily wear can wear down your metal. This is a very worn platinum eternity band. It's amazing how much the bottom of your ring gets beat up. This is my excuse to find a place to show what happens to a ring on the bottom of your hand. For my eternity band lovers who wonder, "how did that happen?" It just does. Since every part of your ring spends some of its time on the underside of your hand, it will get dinged up the most there. When that part works its way to the top it won't look great.
Knowing the Strength of Your Gemstone Helps You Wear it and Care For it Successfully
When you receive a ring for a gift, consider finding out about that gemstone. Most people know that opal is soft, but not everyone knows about tanzanite, or other easily scratched gems. An ounce of prevention and knowledge can help you avoid a sad situation like this one. There is a scale of gemstone hardness I write about. It is called the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
My Fellow Jewelers, Beating Back Broken Jewelry, Turning Tears to Smiles Every Day
I want to thank my jeweler friends, most of whom are in Jewelers Helping Jewelers, who generously shared pictures for my jewelry hall of shame:
Sako Khatcherian at Cicada Jewelers, Los Angeles California,William Cano, owner of Cano's Diamonds in San Angelo Texas,Timothy Hunter Hawkins, West Main Jewelry in Dothan Alabama,Deborah Rember Faubian, of Jay's Jewelry, Chickasha Oklahoma,Jen Hollywood Showell, J Hollywood Designs, Exton Pennsylvania,Dawn and Todd Nickel, Owners at Weigal Jewelry in Beatrice Nebraska,Lily Bieling,Aladar Solymosi, at Youngs Jewelry in Cleveland Ohio,
Charles Norton and Chuck Norton Designs, Dunwoody Georgia,Jessica Ioerger, of Lucky Hunter Jewelry in Eureka Illinois Luisa Valeria Smith, at Cornerstone Jewelers in Colorado Springs, Colorado,Alex Artinian, Designer at Facet Grade Jewelry, in Boston Mass,Scott Isaacs, Owner at Belle Meade Jewelry and Repair in Nashville Tennessee.
You make me smile, you answer my questions and you are my tribe. We jewelers love to share our pictures of jewelry in distress. One of our wacky pastimes. Let me know if you enjoy it as well.
Your Personal Jeweler,