To truly enjoy your fine jewellery, you may want to do more than simply wear it on special occasions. Enjoyment may also come from knowing it is protected from damage or theft and that it looks its best at all time. To get the most from your jewellery, consider these tips for caring for your jewellery, getting it appraised, and finding the right insurance.
How to care for your jewellery
Whether you own a million-dollar ring or jewellery that is far less valuable, consider this jewellery care checklist:
- Store it safely
Don’t keep your most valuable pieces in your bedroom. Install a secure home safe with the appropriate fire and theft rating for jewellery or keep valuable items in a bank vault.
- Keep it close when travelling
If you take your jewellery on trips, keep expensive items with you at all times, or use a hotel safe (not the safe in your room). Don’t pack jewellery in your luggage or wear valuables to the pool or beach.
- Caring for watches
Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately. Even hairline cracks can let dust or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy. Check your watch clasp periodically to prevent accidental loss.
- Caring for diamonds
When cleaning diamonds, use mild detergent or a sudsy ammonia bath. Never let your diamond touch chlorine bleach, as it can pit and discolour the mounting. Have your prongs and mountings checked annually, since wear and tear can loosen a stone. Diamonds can scratch all other jewellery, so store them separately.
- Caring for pearls
Make sure your pearls are cleaned and restrung regularly to prevent pearl strings from becoming stretched, weakened or soiled. Wipe pearls with a soft cloth after each wearing. Over time, perfume, cosmetics, hairsprays, and oils and chemicals on your skin can erode the quality. To protect pearls from scratches, store them in a soft cloth pouch.
- Caring for gemstones
Guard against loose stone settings by having prongs and mountings checked annually. Remove gemstone jewellery while outdoors during intense sunlight or under tanning lamps, which can fade the stone. Because each gemstone is different, discuss specific care and cleaning procedures with your jeweller.
What to look for in jewellery insurance
Obviously, it is never pleasant to have a prized piece of jewellery stolen, lost, or damaged. But the right insurance, you can turn a horrible situation into a happier one. Here are a few things to look for in a valuable articles policy:
- Worldwide coverage, whether the item is being worn, in transit, or in a safe
- No deductibles, so you don’t have to pay to have your piece replaced or repaired
- Automatic coverage for newly acquired items
- Coverage for pieces on loan or consignment to you
- Coverage for works in progress
If you lose a piece, you’ll want to know that, even if it has appreciated in value, you’re covered for the loss.
In Canada, Chubb covers jewellery items for up to 150% of their insured value. That means that if the market value exceeds the scheduled value at the time of loss, Chubb will provide up to a 50% coverage enhancement. The problem, according to jewellery specialists at Chubb, is that many people are shocked when they find how underinsured they are. With a sharp rise in gold prices, for instance, a gold band purchased before the price spike may not be fully protected, even with 150% coverage. That’s why getting regular appraisals is so important.
What to look for in a jewellery appraisal
The wholesaler price of a two-carat diamond ring can vary wildly – from colourless ‘D’ at $95,400 US to an ‘M’ colour, highly included stone that wholesales at only $2,000 US. That’s why it is wise to have a professional appraisal performed for each and every piece of fine jewellery you own.
How do you make sure you’re getting a quality appraisal? First consider the credentials of the appraiser. After all, you wouldn’t want a store clerk to appraise your fine jewellery. Look for a graduate gemologist or a diamond gemologist. Then, make sure your appraisal includes the following:
- The type of jewellery, what it’s made of
- The type of gemstones and how they’re graded
- Appraiser’s signature and the date
While you’re there, have the appraiser do a condition check to make sure there aren’t any prongs lose or chips in the stone.