Buying Some Durable And Long Lasting Jewelry Pieces

Sterling Silver Peridot, Garnet, Amethyst, Blue Topaz and Citrine Pendant Necklace Set
How durable and long-lasting your jewelry piece would be, will depend on a lot of factors which would typically include the types of materials that your jewelry piece is made of, the scratch resistance of each material, how you use your piece and how you generally take care of it.

Having some idea about each one of these will help you in selecting the right type of durable and long lasting jewelries for yourself, and could possibly help you to preserve what you already own and make them last longer.

1.  Scratch Resistance

The scratch resistance of the gemstones and metals that are used in jewelries are generally measured on the Mohs scale of hardness, materials with low hardness values are typically less scratch resistant than those with higher values. The Mohs scale of hardness ranges from 1 to 10 with diamond at the top, diamond has a hardness of 10.

Scratches on natural gemstones will affect their looks. The scratches can make them to look less appealing, shiny or brilliant, that is, they may not look as good or as well as they did when you bought them. All metals can be scratched, in addition to this the gemstones and metals with higher hardness values/numbers can also scratch those with lower hardness.

Scratches on a metal (that is, both the precious metals and base metals) would typically mean that some part of the metal would also get scratched off, although the rate at which this may occur with each type of metal will vary.

The precious metals include gold, platinum and silver while base metals include stainless steel, titanium and brass.

Gemstones that are more resistant to scratches will generally take a longer time to become dull or lose their shine compared to those with less resistance. Jewelry materials that are more resistant to scratches are also more likely to be more durable and long lasting too than those that are not.

Some natural gemstones may have more than one hardness value because of their chemical composition or variety. The hardness of a jewelry metal may also vary too depending on the amount of the metal content it may contain and the type of metal alloys that may also have been used with it.

The Mohs Hardness For Some Gemstones Are

Pearl  -  2.5
Opal  -  5.5  - 6
Quartz  -  7
Aquamarine -  7.5 - 8
Beryl  -  7.5 - 8
Emerald  -  7.5 - 8
Topaz  -  8
Ruby -  9
Sapphire  -  9
Diamond  -  10

The Mohs Hardness For Some Metals Are

Gold  -   2.5 – 3
Silver  -  2.5 – 3
Brass -  3
Copper  -  3 
Nickel  -  4
Palladium  -  4.75
Platinum  -  4 - 4.5
Steel  -  4 - 4.5   
Rhodium  -  6
Titanium  -  6
Hardened Steel  -  7 - 8
Tungsten  -  7.5
Tungsten Carbide   -  8.5 - 9

2.  Natural Gemstones And The Precious Metals

All natural gemstones and the precious metals are generally durable and long lasting, however the properties of each specific type of gemstone or precious metal can make some of these to be more durable or long lasting than others.

3.  Treated (Or Enhanced) Natural Gemstones

Some natural gemstones may be treated to enhance their looks or to make them more durable, this is actually alright as long as a jeweler provides some full disclosure about it, and the type of treatment that may have been applied on the gemstone(s) in a jewelry piece before you buy. This should be stated clearly on the jeweler’s website for instance, as part of the information and details that are provided along with each jewelry piece or gemstone for everyone to see or preview.

A treated natural gemstone should ideally not cost as much as an untreated natural gemstone of the same type with similar weight and properties.

You will need to know if the treatment that was applied on a gemstone is permanent and stable or not and will also need to know how to take care of the treated natural gemstone for it to last long too. Some gemstones may have cracks for instances that may have been filled with substances like resins or oils.

The resin or oil may be removed when the jewelry piece is cleaned hence you will need to know how to deal with this when you actually buy such type of jewelries, it may be quite possible to re-apply some refills or oils. You will need to know if that will be doable for a jewelry piece before you buy too.

4.  Natural Gemstones With Some Very Visible Flaws

Natural (and enhanced/treated) gemstones that may have some very noticeable flaws may not be the best option or choice for most people. The gemstones with a clarity grade of Included (I) that is, I1, I2 and I3 will actually have some flaws that you can clearly see for yourself too when you look at the gemstone.

A gemstone with a clarity grade of Included (I) that look cloudy physically may still be acceptable by some people, however some gemstones that may have an Included (I) clarity grade may also have some type of flaws that would actually affect the appearance and the durability of the gemstone too.

There should be some clear indication or a description of how negatively the clarity grade of a gemstone with an Included (I) grade will affect the appearance and durability of the gem, in the grading report, certificate or information a jeweler may provide along with a jewelry piece.

Included (I) clarity grade for gemstones are usually interpreted as follows:

(a).  I1 (Moderately Included)

A gemstone with the I1 grade has some moderate inclusions or flaws that are visible that you can clearly see on the gemstone.

(b).  I2 (Heavily Included)

A gemstone with the I2 grade has some flaws that are visible that you can clearly see, that would also affect the gemstone appearance or durability.

(c).  I3 (Severely Included)

A gemstone with the I3 grade has some flaws that are visible that you can clearly see that would severely affect the gemstone appearance or durability or both.

So when you see the Included (I) grade assigned to a gemstone in a jewelry piece or to a gemstone on its own, you should be prepared to see some visible or physical flaw on the gem when you get the jewelry piece or gemstone, irrespective of whether you can actually see the flaw in the picture of the jewelry piece or gemstone on the jeweler’s site or not.

You may use some of the gemstones with these type of clarity grade as jewelries, however they should not be as costly as those with some better clarity grades of the same gem type, weight and color, and you should also expect gemstones with an I2 or I3 grades to only last for possibly some short periods of time. 

This will apply to any natural gemstone from the most expensive to the cheapest gem. Pearl uses a different set of grading that is different from the grading use for other types of gemstones. You can review the quality of a gemstone once you are familiar with how it is generally graded. You can also get some more information on clarity grades and how to determine the quality of pearl gemstones right now at Easily Determine If Your New Or Old Jewelry Piece Is Valuable Or Not.

5.  The Precious Metals

The precious metals are better than other types of metals for jewelry because they do not corrode or rust and could therefore last for a long time.

6.  For All Metals

Apart from the scratch resistance of metals, how strong each type of metal is will also affect their durability too. Metals that are generally stronger or harder in terms of metal strength may not bend, wear down or break as easily as those that may not be as strong as they are. Stronger metals are more likely to hold their gemstones in place or in their settings much more readily and for some longer periods of time too than those with less strength.

Platinum for instance is stronger than gold or silver, while tungsten carbide and tungsten are both stronger than the three of them. Some available hard metals that are used in jewelry will also include stainless steel (the most common type of carbon steel), iridium etc.

In addition to this, each jewelry user or buyer should also have some idea about the attributes of some specific type of metals that may affect their decisions when they shop too.

Silver jewelries will tarnish or change in color over time to a patina that may be re-polished to get the silvery look back, some people may or may not like this. Because of this, silver is generally not used for engagement or wedding rings, there is no law against this though, you may choose to use any type of metal for your own rings or for any other type of jewelry if you want.

When a platinum jewelry piece with a very smooth and polished finish or look get scratched, depending on the skill of your repairer and how well he or she knows how to deal with platinum scratches, your platinum jewelry may or may not ultimately get back it polished look, hence you may want to go for a platinum brush, sand-blast or satin finish when you buy instead of the smooth polished look or finish.

Unlike other type of metals, tungsten carbide may fracture, chip or brittle on hard impact, for instance if it is hit with something as hard as a car door slamming against a tungsten ring, while other types of metals may only become dented or bent. It may therefore not be ideal for engagement or wedding rings too.

7.  Plated Jewelries

Different types of jewelry metals may be plated with some other types of metals like rhodium, platinum, gold, silver etc.

The layer of metal that may have been used to plate any other type of metal will eventually wear off over time and may need some re-plating depending on how thin or how well the plating was done. It is possible for some plating to actually wear off in less than a year with any specific type of jewelry, you should therefore be prepared for this. All you may really need to do is to simply re-plate your jewelry piece, you should however find out if this is possible with your own jewelry too before you buy.

Hence a plated jewelry piece should not be expected to retain its plated look over time without the need for some re-plating.

8.  Ring Settings

Different types of settings are generally used with rings, some of these will include the prong, channel, bezel, invisible and pave settings.

A prong setting looks like a basket with some metal arms or holds, a ring with a prong setting can easily catch on other types of items or objects like clothing etc. A channel setting uses a series of gemstones in a channel-like row, channel setting is a durable ring setting. A bezel setting uses or places a rim around a gemstone, bezel setting is a very durable ring setting too.

An invisible setting makes use of some metals to hold the gemstones on a ring below the surface, the setting would typically make the gemstones to appear like one solid piece of gem. A pave setting uses some beads of metals to separate several small size gemstones to make them look like a continuous surface or stretch of gemstones.

These are the most common type of ring settings, jewelry users and buyers may also choose to create some custom ring settings for themselves too in addition to these, the durability of such settings will then depend on how well they were made for each ring.

9.  How You Use Your Jewelries

To preserve your jewelries and make them last longer, you may want to base their usage on the scratch resistance (hardness) of the materials they may contain.

Gemstones and metals with a hardness of 7 (seven) or more can generally be used as every day wear. You may use the gemstones or metals with a hardness of less than 7 for occasional wears. You can however opt to buy more than one set of jewelry, that is, you can buy several sets of gemstones or metals with a hardness of less than 7 in order to use them too for every day wear, since you may not have to use each jewelry piece too frequently if you have more than two or three sets of jewelries.

Gemstones with less than a hardness of 7 (seven) should generally be set in bracelets and pendants. This does not mean you cannot set them in rings too, but may be for some occasional use. You should ideally buy different types of jewelries for different use and occasions.

In addition to this, you can also make your jewelries to last long too by removing them when you wash, shower, swim (chlorinated water may damage some jewelries) or during some physical activities.

Soaps can make your gold jewelry to look dull and cooking grease is really not that good on diamonds either. Some body lotions, hand lotions, laundry or cleaning solutions, bleach, washing lotions, detergents, strong detergents or acids can damage some type of jewelry pieces or make them wear out faster.

10.   How You Take Care Of Your Jewelries

How you choose to take care of your jewelries will affect how durable they will be too. You will need to regularly clean your jewelries to make them last longer, you may want to clean your jewelries at least once in a year.

Jewelries will usually need to be cleaned from all the natural oils, perspirations, perfumes, hairsprays etc that may have accumulated on them as you use them. Every jewelry piece you buy will need some form of maintenance depending on how often you make use of them.

You should ideally not use any ultrasonic cleaner on your jewelries unless it is clearly noted that they can be used on them. You should also avoid storing your jewelries with materials or objects that may scratch them.

Applying each one of these before and after you may have bought your jewelries will definitely go a long way in helping you to make them last long.

You May Also Like:

Easily Determine If Your New Or Old Jewelry Piece Is Valuable Or Not
Jewelry As An Investment - Before You Buy That Valuable Jewelry Piece
Jewelry Quality – Choosing The Best Type Of Jewelries In Terms Of Quality
Valuable Jewelries: The Metals And Gemstones That Make Your Jewelry Valuable

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