Being raised by an Asian mother, jewellery has always featured heavily in my family. Heirlooms passed down through generations and yellow gold galore abide in my treasure stack, but it’s not until recently that I really appreciated its beauty. More than monetary value, fine jewellery needs to maintained and given some TLC every now and again so it can really dazzle at its finest and be passed onto future generations for added sentimental value.
Image: Tiffany, piece from the Tiffany Masterpieces collection, 18-K yellow gold with rose cut diamonds and rock crystal
I remember my mother and aunties laughing at my obsession with costume jewellery when I was younger, telling me that one day I would tire of the green skin marks that rust-prone metals give and the easily snapped bead bracelets of my youth. As always, they were right! But costume jewellery can still be fun and look expensive if you’re savvy with your purchases (and remember to take off rings before washing your hands). Read on for 8 game-changing jewellery hacks and pieces to buy:
#1 How to clean gold and silver jewellery
Beer cleans gold, ketchup cleans silver (due to its high vinegar content), yes you read that right! Opt for lighter coloured brews to shine your karats!
22-karat yellow gold bangle, price unavailable, from Poh Heng
Ketchup will, believe it or not, get rid of the grit and grime on any of your silver pieces. Use an old toothbrush to apply and lightly scrub if necessary. For pure or sterling silver pieces, soak them in a mixture of half a cup of white vinegar mixed with two tablespoons of baking soda for a couple of hours and you’ll have your Tiffany T looking as good as new!
Narrow sterling silver cuff, from Tiffany stores nationwide
#2 How to clean diamonds and other gemstones
Pop your diamonds, sapphires and other gemstones in a glass of club soda overnight, and see how sparkling they are the next day! You can also crack open the vodka ladies, (if you needed an excuse), it’s all in the name of cleaning! Soak a flannel in the spirit and use it to give your diamonds and crystals a polish until they’re as bedazzling as can be. The most simple and lazy girl’s method? Bathroom soap and a toothbrush, brush until satisfied.
Diamond and 14-karat rose gold sleepers, $510 from Poppy Finch
#3 What to avoid when wearing your rocks
Remember to avoid these substances when you’re wearing your finest jewels: Perfume, sweat and salt water! Spray your perfume before you put your daily pieces on, take off all jewellery when exercising and don’t take a dip in the sea with your everyday earrings on, got it?
#4 How to make cheaper jewellery look uber expensive
Avoid shinier, bling-looking metals when shopping for cheaper pieces. The more bling the cheap metal, the more likely it is to look tacky! Matte and darker colours in heavier (not easily malleable) styles look more expensive when shopping on a budget.
Rose gold-plated and cubic zirconia bracelet, $29 by Jemsa from SheShops
#5 The best way to store your jewellery when travelling
Thread your necklaces through a straw when travelling and clasp to avoid tangle mares when you reach your destination.
#6 How to untangle a necklace easily
In case you read tip 5 too late, here’s how to untangle a necklace easily: Slather on some baby oil, use a straightened out hair grip to unknot the tangle and then sprinkle on some talcum powder to enable you to pull the chain apart.
#7 How to measure your own ring size
You’ll need to measure your own finger using a strip of paper or a tape measure. Wrap it around your finger (like a ring) and mark where it ends. It’s best to do this at the end of the day, when your fingers are at their largest through use and heat expansion. However never measure your fingers when you’re super hot or cold as it will give you an inaccurate depiction of your true size. Then use the measurement and check it against Cartier’s online ring size guide, the master jewellers know what they’re talking about!
Another method is to take an existing ring you own which fits perfectly and print out Cartier’s ring size chart to measure up. They provide Asian, UK and US sizes so you’ll know what to look for wherever you’re shopping.
18-karat Love ring in pink gold, price unavailable, from Cartier stores nationwide
Remember that your left and right hands differ slightly in size and shape, so measure the exact finger that the ring will sit on the correct hand.
#8 How to best organise your jewellery
Use transparent boxes to keep your jewellery visible and with a compartment for each piece! This will help prevent tangles and mean you can see everything on display, speeding up decision time in the mornings and before big evenings out.
Stackable acrylic case, $39, from Muji
Looking for pieces to invest in? See our picks of entry level pieces from Tiffany, Cartier and more!