By Cynthia Sliwa
I attended a party last weekend at which a Swiss skincare line was being promoted. One of the women demonstrating the products went around to each guest and pumped little samples of lotions and serums onto the backs of our hands, instructing us to massage the potions into our skin. She distributed tissues with which we could wipe off any excess lotion.
While I removed the ring I was wearing and was careful to avoid getting the rich emollients on my wristwatch and sleeve, I noticed that my colleagues were blissfully rubbing the lotions over their hands without removing their wedding bands and other rings. I was shocked.
Skincare product parties aside, culturally we have a collective awareness of the need to protect our skin with sunscreen. If we take this message to heart, we should regularly wear sunscreen on our faces, necks, ears and hands – the places where skin is exposed, and many of the very same places we typically adorn with jewelry.
This brought to mind other personal care products that many people use regularly, such as hairspray and perfume, and the potential damage to jewelry they may cause, especially to soft, porous materials.
Things that may seem to be common sense to jewelry retailers may be lessons that are only learned the hard way by customers. I wasn’t comfortable exposing my jewelry to the “active ingredients” in the Swiss beauty potions, but others at the party didn’t give it a thought, at least until they saw me remove my ring and, in some cases, following suit.
Perhaps this scenario is similar to that of patients ignoring their dentists’ directives to floss regularly. But while I can remember my dentist and my dental hygienist both urging me to floss regularly, I cannot remember ever hearing instructions from a jeweler to avoid getting lotions, creams and sprays on my new jewelry. Wrapped up in the excitement of the purchase, the issue of jewelry care never arose.
If the subject of jewelry care doesn’t come up during the process of making sales, provide this helpful information when a customer brings in her jewelry for cleaning. Consider using the sunscreen lotion issue as a draw to bring customers into your shop during the dog days of summer to have their jewelry cleaned and learn some tips on jewelry care. Sell your expertise along with your beautiful jewels.