These instructions provide important guidelines for the care of your handmade piece. We recommend reading this entire guide for repair and warranty information.
Caring for your handmade fine jewelry begins with mindfulness: knowing when to put it on, when to take it off, and when to have it serviced professionally. Our instructions were created specifically for H.P.F, CHRISTOPHER pieces, but are applicable to all handmade fine jewelry. As a general rule, we advise our clients: If you would not wear your watch to do an activity, it is a good idea to set aside your jewelry as well. We are always available to consult with you about any care questions. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Depending on your lifestyle and occupation, consider removing your jewelry during working hours. Contact with potentially damaging materials can be a daily reality. Professionals in the food, art, or medical industries, for example, may use their hands much more actively than those with office jobs. Please consider our care instructions while deciding whether your workplace is an appropriate environment for your new jewelry.
Although it can be tempting to wear your jewelry all the time, please remove all pieces when:
• Exercising: any strenuous activity including cardio, yoga, lifting weights, swimming, etc. These activities, particularly ones using your hands, put pressure on your pieces, causing them to bend, warp, or for stones to become loose in their settings. Chlorinated water can also react chemically with metals, changing the color, weakening settings, or pitting gold. Something as simple as extended time in water can harm jewelry, even if the damage is not immediately apparent.
• Showering or bathing. Hard water, shampoos, and conditioners can become stuck behind settings, causing damage to your pieces. Soap scum can be hard to remove and causes jewelry to look discolored and grimy.
• Sleeping. The extended heat and pressure that occurs during sleep can wreak havoc on delicate and fine jewelry. Keep a jewelry-appropriate container next to your bed so that you can remove your pieces every night.
• Applying perfumes, lotions, oils, makeup, or hair products. Products can build up on the jewelry, damaging certain stones, dulling their appearance, and requiring more frequent cleaning.
• Cooking, baking, or doing dishes. These activities can cause debris to become lodged in settings and diminish the appearance of your pieces.
• Cleaning, especially with bleach or other harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals such as bleach can pit metals and weaken settings, causing stone loss.
• Gardening. The pressure from holding gardening tools can cause damage to settings even when wearing gloves. Removing your pieces before gardening also ensures that they remain free from dirt and debris.
• Painting, throwing pottery, or printing. These activities are best done with your jewelry safely out of the way.
Avoiding impact, pressure, and extreme temperatures is crucial to promoting the longevity of your jewelry. Gold, gemstones, and even diamonds can chip, crack, scuff, or become scratched if knocked hard enough. Special attention should be paid to stones in prong settings where the prongs can snag or bend on garments and other surfaces.
Do not wear your earrings if the backs are too loose from wear. H.P.F, CHRISTOPHER is happy to tighten loose backs free of charge. We also offer screw-back posts if you’d prefer a little extra security. Please inquire with our store staff for screw-back pricing.
Checking for loose gemstones For any pieces with stones, especially rings, we recommend having the tightness of the stones checked regularly by a professional. Depending on the amount of wear the piece receives, stones should be checked every four to six months. Stones should also be checked more frequently at home. You can use a simple pinhead to gently tap the surface and sides of the stone and see if they move. We also recommend listening for loose stones by holding your piece between your thumb and middle finger next to your ear while gently striking it with your index finger. We are happy to provide a virtual demonstration for these techniques upon request. If even one stone is moving, refrain from wearing the piece until it can be tightened. We are happy to provide a virtual demonstration of this method.
Micro pavé set stones require extra care from their owner to prevent loss. Stones should be checked at least every month, until you get used to the frequency with which your piece requires service. Never wear a micro pavé piece that has a loose or missing stone, as it’s highly likely that there is at least one other loose stone.
Caring for your precious stones
Precious stones are ordered in ascending levels of hardness from 1 to 10 on the Mohs' scale. Opals and turquoise, which range between 5 and 6.5 respectfully, are more easily scratched, whereas diamonds, at 10, are more likely to do the scratching. The Mohs' scale is a not a linear scale. Instead it ranks gems on a relative scale based on their scratch hardness; so although a sapphire is a 9, a diamond at 10 is many times harder.Being aware of the relative inclination towards scratching/being scratched is important when wearing and storing your jewelry.
Though it is valuable information, there is more to durability than just hardness. Gemologists define durability as a gemstone’s ability to withstand wear, heat, light, household chemicals, and low or high humidity. Since different gemstones have different properties, they have varying tolerances to these stressors. A gemstone’s hardness is a good indicator of how well it will resist scratches and abrasions. In evaluating a gemstone’s durability, gem experts consider three factors: hardness, toughness, and stability. No single gemstone scores a “perfect 10,” so you should weigh all three of these factors when choosing which gemstone or piece of jewelry is right for you and your lifestyle.
Diamonds fall at the far end of the hardness spectrum—they are among the hardest materials on Earth. In fact, they are so hard that they may cause damage to adjacent jewelry. We recommend not wearing a diamond ring next to, or on the same finger as, an opal ring. A loose diamond can also damage its metal setting, which is why it’s important to check for loose stones regularly and have them tightened as needed.
Emeralds are especially fragile due to naturally-occurring inclusions (imperfections in stones). Heat, chemicals, and even intense light can amplify these fractures. As with all fine jewelry, you should avoid impact, extended pressure, and extreme temperatures when wearing your emerald pieces. Emeralds are particularly prone to chipping under these conditions. Emeralds can be treated with oils to reduce the appearance of inclusions. To preserve the appearance of your emerald we recommend bringing it in as desired for re-oiling. Emerald pieces should be worn with meticulous attention to our care instructions. The safest way to clean an emerald is gently, with lukewarm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners, steam clears, harsh soaps, detergents, or acetone, even if the packaging says “jewelry cleaner”.
Opals are brittle stones, approximately as hard as glass. They should be worn with special attention to our care instructions, including storage. Opals can become dry and are more susceptible to damage if stored improperly. They are best kept in a soft cotton cloth, or with a piece of cotton wool dabbed with a few drops of water. Ethiopian opals, however, are an exception to this suggestion; they cannot get wet as it may damage them. Opals are also vulnerable to cracking if exposed to rapid changes in temperature.
As soft, organic gemstones pearls require special consideration in order to ensure that their nacre and luster do not become damaged or dulled. The standard rule for wearing pearls is "last thing on, first thing off". By putting your pearls on last it ensures that your perfume has a chance to dry and your cosmetics and other potentially damaging materials do not come in contact with the surface of your pearls. By taking off your pearls first it ensures that your pearls do not get scratched or caught on your garments.
Cleaning & Storage
Only polish your jewelry with a lint-free, 100% cotton cloth. Gentle cleaning with lukewarm water, non fragranced soap, and a soft toothbrush is also recommended. Always check the tightness of stones before and after cleaning. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner on micro pavé stones, opals, emeralds, or turquoise. Do not brush opals—use your fingers to clean.
Fine jewelry should be stored securely in fabric-lined or leather-lined boxes. Pieces can also be wrapped in soft fabric. We recommend keeping an up-to-date inventory of your collection, including photographs and any appraisals, in the event that an insurance claim or police report needs to be filed.