How to Spring Clean Your Jewellery Box

Sarah Hutchings, the owner of Orsini Fine Jewellery, talks us through how to care for your jewellery so you can cherish it for years to come.
With some extra time on your hands, now is the perfect opportunity to get those jobs done that are always hard to find time for. One of those jobs is sorting the jewellery box! It’s a task that always seems to be put to the back burner as there are always more important things to be done, so why not make the most of this time to get your jewellery in order? 
Get started by examining your jewellery to check for the following: 
  • Are there any stones missing or loose? Pay close attention to small pavé stones.
  • Do the butterflies on the back match? Do they work? Are they a tight fit? A faulty or worn butterfly is how earrings are easily lost!
  • If you have diamond or gemstones in rings, are the claws still looking thick and durable or have they worn down? 
Give your jewels a clean
You may have silver dips or cloths that can help with any tarnish. With gold, it is best to use a proper gold jewellery cleaner. You may see a cloth at the supermarket when you do your emergency top-up visit. 
With gemstones and diamond rings and pendants you can easily clean these at home using an old soft toothbrush and a mild liquid detergent you would use to wash the dishes, you just need to use warm water. Soak them for a few minutes and then use your soft toothbrush to clean in all the nooks and spaces behind the gems, this is where dirt and build-up of soap can gather. Avoid using this technique on delicate items or porous jewellery, for example, pearls. 
Make sure all your jewellery is thoroughly dry before placing away again. And avoid using harsh solutions on your jewellery. Chlorine or abrasive chemicals should never be used when cleaning jewellery. These erode some of the metals and may loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal.

Untangle pieces and store them correctly


There are tricks to storing chains so they do not tangle. Using a thin soft fabric cloth, lie the necklace long ways over it and then gently fold or roll the necklace as you would an item of clothing. This will then lie neatly in your jewellery box and be super easy to unfold when you go to wear it.

It is a good habit to always store your jewellery items separately so they do not scratch any other items. Consider folding earrings in a soft cloth or storing them in little plastic bags separately. Make sure you do not put in something like tissue and accidentally throw it away! We can supply you with soft pouches for easy storing of your jewellery. Individual fabric pouches are a perfect way to safely store your jewellery.

Reassess your insurance

If you have some spare time on your hands it is a good time to check your insurance policy and make sure your jewellery is covered.  We supply valuations for our branded jewellery free of charge. If your jewellery item is a custom made engagement ring by Orsini we use an independent valuer to carry out these valuations using proper gemological equipment. We like to do this externally for transparency with our clients.

It will depend on your individual insurance policy whether you need an individual valuation for each item and what that limit is. This is a very good task to get done for peace of mind. Also, check with your insurance company to see whether a safe is required for your jewellery. 

While you won’t be able to get the valuations done at the moment, it is a good exercise to get the items that you believe need valuing together (remember to store safely in the meantime) and drop them off to the valuer when they are back up and running again. You may also need to get items revalued if they have not been done for some time, again this varies with insurance companies. There are a number of very credible jewellery valuers and it is easy to view their credentials if you search online. They are also happy to assess whether an item is over your limit before carrying out the valuation, as often my clients are not sure if they are worth the expense of valuing if they are not above the minimum value listed by your insurance company.
And finally, and the best piece of advice I can offer, carry out the inspection of your jewellery away from the kitchen sink. I have a number of clients inadvertently lose their jewels down the waste disposer, in the bin, down the plughole each year. It is surprisingly easy to do this so I would recommend using the dining room table with tea towels laid out as your safe space. You can then use a couple of bowls of water, one for your cleaning and the other for rinsing. 
Feel free to visit Orsini Fine Jewellery for a free jewellery clean using their specialised cleaning equipment when they reopen. For now, you can browse their breathtaking range right here and find out more for caring for your jewellery right here
For more jewellery advice or help with coordinating a trustworthy valuation contact [email protected]

New Report Calls for Immediate end to Fast Fashion

The fashion industry must undergo a system-wide transition to sustainable practices according to a new report. A global review published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment is calling for fundamental changes to the fashion business model, including an urgent transition away from fast fashion.

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries, with the textile dyeing and finishing industry the biggest polluter of clean water after agriculture.

Despite the growing awareness of the enormous impact that the fashion industry has on the environment, fast fashion – which relies on cheap manufacturing, short garment life and frequent consumption – continues to dominate the industry.

Three in ten Australians have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once, a 2017 study from YouGov revealed. An additional four in ten admitted to throwing unwanted clothing in the rubbish, while 38% of millennials have bought more than half of their entire wardrobe in the last year.

“Fast fashion pieces are viewed by the consumer as disposable garments since they are cheaper to produce and often made from poor-quality material,” Associate Professor Alison Gwilt, one of the review’s co-authors, says.

“Normally they are designed to be on-trend, which means that new products are constantly arriving in store all the time” and superseding them, the fashion and textile design researcher from The University of New South Wales Art & Design says.

Academics from Finland, Sweden, USA, the UK and The University of New South Wales identified the environmental impacts of the fashion supply chain, from production to consumption, focusing on water use, chemical pollution, CO2 emissions and textile waste.

For example, the industry produces over 92 million tonnes of waste and consumes 1.5 trillion tonnes of water per year, with developing countries often bearing the burden for developed countries. During the lifecycle of a 250g t-shirt, 88% of its total water footprint occurs in cotton-growing regions to cultivate the raw fibre where water is scarcer. This is in stark contrast to the amount used for laundering the t-shirt in Europe where water is in abundance, despite 52% of CO2 emissions being produced during this phase.

fast fashion

“As we look to a deceleration in fashion manufacturing it means that brands and retailers need to look at other avenues and opportunities for growth,” Gwilt says.

“Currently there is a real interest in the fashion rental and subscription service. For example, Rent the Runway, the US clothing rental service, has grown exponentially. While repair and remanufacturing services enable consumers to keep their garments for longer.”

“When a garment is sold on the shop floor, quite often producers feel that that’s the end of their relationship with the product,” Gwilt says. “But there is a discussion about whether producers should actually be responsible for the waste that they produce, and how they can they better support the extended life of garments through repair services, for example.”

Innovative sustainably minded textiles that are currently in development could solve part of the problem researchers believe. Very recently new fibres and materials have emerged from easy-to-grow crops such as hemp, and waste by-products from crops (bio-based fibres) such as pineapple (Piñatex), citrus fruits (Orange Fiber), milk (Qmilk), mushrooms (Mylo) and kelp extracted from seaweed (Algikit).

“Slow fashion is the future”, Professor Kirsi Niinimäki and co-authors conclude, but “we need a new system- wide understanding of how to transition towards this model, requiring creativity and collaboration between designers and manufacturers, various stakeholders, and end consumers.”

It seems that a collaborative approach will be the answer to an industry that has to change and has to do so quickly. The report believes that for this to happen the textile industry needs to invest in cleaner technologies, the fashion industry  needs to develop sustainable business models and policymakers need to modify legislation.

The report also calls for consumers to play their part too – we must change our fast fashion consumption habits and be prepared to pay higher prices that account for the environmental impact of fashion.

Here are five easy ways to overhaul your wardrobe right now.