A Magazine’s Troubling Advice on How to Clean Your Jewelry

I found troubling some advice about how to clean jewelry in the June 2009 issue of Glamour magazine, quoting the namesake and “image whiz” of an iconic crystal company.


Essentially the crystal company expert is quoted out of context. Under the broad headline “Jewelry shouldn’t get sprayed” which in itself is great advice, she cautions that jewelry shouldn’t be sprayed with perfume “as it can affect the metals used to coat certain pieces.” She then proceeds to advise: “Wash in warm soapy water to get rid of any residue on the piece. Then use a chamois cloth to dry and polish.” In other words, don’t spray perfume on your jewelry, but when you do it anyway, here’s how to fix the problem you’ve created.


Except that the broad statements quoted may prove to be disastrous advice in certain circumstances.


Her mention of metals used to coat pieces is a crystal-centric comment, and what follows in the way of cleaning advice should be limited to crystal jewelry. Plunging a rhinestone piece into warm soapy water is a recipe for disaster, as it could deaden the stones and essentially destroy the jewelry.



[Would the necklace worn by Renee Zellweger on the cover of the magazine

be ruined if the jewelry cleaning advice is followed? Tom Binns Design sometimes
incorporates rhinestones, sometimes crystals into their necklaces.]


Rhinestones look similar to crystals and are especially popular in current jewelry styles that recycle vintage elements. And think about it, when it comes to costume jewelry, how savvy are consumers as to what is made of rhinestone versus crystal versus yet another material such as cubic zirconia or even a genuine gemstone? Designers such as Tom Binns Design label some of the materials composing their designs “diamante,” which could mean anything bearing some vague resemblance to white diamonds. Costume jewelry doesn’t come with material identification and care instructions etched into the pieces.


I urge Glamour to print a clarification for its readers, expanding on the topic of how best to clean various types of jewelry. (Yes, of course, I’d be happy to help!)  Something as critical as the proper care of jewelry, a key accessory for every fashion-savvy woman, should not receive short shrift.

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