It’s a new year, and with all things new, we need to first “clean out” the old as well. So here are some general tips on managing your collection of jewels that you have bought and inherited.

Over a period of time, we inevitably gather jewels – precious, semi-precious, synthetic, that have been handed down to us from generations past and we simply do not know whether they are of much value. Or they may be jewels that are purchased over many years and we have outgrown them.

Who hasn’t got a few strings of pearls (or at least we believe them to be “pearls” as opposed to “pearl-like” beads); some diamond or gemstone rings – again we assume them to be genuine stones; jewellery where a stone or two has fallen out, or the rings are too tight to be worn; or their design and setting is from a generation past that no longer appeals and has been put away at the back of the drawer.

Just like a closet full of clothes yet we never seem to have the right outfit for that special occasion.

But jewellery is a luxury, or at least, precious jewellery certainly is. It is often gifted by loved ones on a special occasion.

So, with the advent of the new year, why not take out a little bit of time to look through our collection.

Separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’

In the first instance, separate the precious jewellery – what we ‘believe’ or ‘know’ to be precious – diamond, gemstone, gold, from the synthetic and fashion jewellery. I deliberately use the words “believe” and “know” because it is one thing to know for certain that – “this is a diamond ring which my husband bought for me on my birthday” as opposed to – “I believe that this is a diamond in this ring which belonged to my grandmother (but I have not had the time to get it assessed)”.

Whether or not you like the design and setting of the jewellery, need to get the claws checked, or whether or not it fits you are totally different issues.

Once you have got together all your precious jewellery, give it a good clean. You cannot assess and make decisions on dirty pieces of jewels. Cleaning jewellery should be done with a medium sized bowl placed below, not in an open sink with running water. Use a soft bristle brush and mild soapy water (you may put a few drops of eucalyptus oil and cloudy ammonia which you can obtain from the supermarket).

It is now time to assess your precious jewellery.

Review your precious jewellery

Here are some issues that you need to consider:

  • do you know for certain whether the stones and pearls are genuine? When was the last time you had an insurance valuation done?
  • is there any jewellery that you do love but it does not fit or there is some or the other minor repair that needs attention? The string of pearls is a bit tight or the threading and knotting of the pearls has come loose over time? There are stones missing and have not been replaced? This should be jewellery which you still enjoy wearing but just have not gotten around to sorting out these little issues.This jewellery needs to be taken to a good professional jeweller who will be able to re-thread that string of pearls, or check over the claws and overall condition of the jewellery and re-size the ring, as the case may be. These would be repairs which are relatively minor and would enable you to enjoy wearing those pieces again.
  • I have often come across customers who know for certain that their jewellery contains precious stones or pearls but do not like the design and setting. The jewellery may have been handed down through the generations or you may have purchased it some years back and your tastes, likes and dislikes have changed over time. That jewellery is just not you anymore. It can also be as basic as liking white gold settings at one point but now you like yellow gold or rose gold settings.Take some time out of your busy schedule to go to a professional jeweller with these pieces of jewellery. A good professional jeweller will be able to (a) determine what it is that you do and do not like; and (b) make suggestions to use your pearls / precious stones to design and make a totally new piece of jewellery that you will love and enjoy wearing. It is a process of restoring old to new. You will end up with a new design and setting, one that contains your precious stones / pearls which are obviously of sentimental and emotional value to you. So your memories now live on and you enjoy wearing them.
  • That leaves us with those pieces of jewellery which we “think” contain a precious diamond or gemstone or pearls but we are not quite sure. Take these pieces to a professional jeweller who will advise you whether or not they really are real and valuable.
  • Do not forget to ensure that you get a current valuation for insurance purposes. Good precious jewellery should be re-valued at least once every two years. This is because the value will change depending upon metal prices and exchange rates. And in the unfortunate scenario of a theft or loss of precious jewellery, your insurance company will want to see a reasonably current insurance valuation not one that is out dated. Worse still, jewellery that has no proper documentation of its condition and value can fail to be accurately assessed for value in times of loss.

At the end of this process, you will have a well-documented stock of your precious jewellery that has been restored and that you will love wearing again. It can also be a good idea to get your family members who may be thinking of gift ideas for your forthcoming birthday/anniversary to share in the cost of this process. I am sure that they will welcome the concept because you are being wise with your money and making the most of jewels that were otherwise lonesome at the back of the closet.

  • I always advise my customers to invest in opening a small safe deposit locker to put away their precious jewels and insurance valuations. Go through the ‘hassle’ of bringing what you need to wear and then returning it back to the locker. That way you not only keep proper stock of your valuables but also ensure that they remain safe.

Have a sparkling 2019!

This article was submitted and published in the British online magazine