Why does some costume jewellery last for decades while other pieces only last a few days? Two reasons: the quality of the product and how it's looked after. Let's focus on looking after the jewellery.
Costume jewellery is often made up of various metal alloys which will not have the same life span as the more expensive variety of jewellery. It is important, therefore, to do what you can to prolong the life of your costume jewellery.
Whenever you're doing housework (indoors or outdoors), remember to remove your jewellery. Harsh chemicals can destroy this jewellery very quickly.
When playing sport, remove all jewellery as perspiration will damage jewellery over time.
It's also wise to remove jewellery when swimming or bathing. Chlorine & some harsher soap products can also cause jewellery to tarnish very quickly.
At night time, jewellery should also be removed, especially if you tend to heat up through the night and perspire.
It's best to keep your jewellery pieces separated from each other and protected. If they're thrown together, they're likely to get scratched, tangled or damaged in some way. If they're left uncovered and unprotected on any surface, they they're more likely to be exposed to many substances you'll want your jewellery to avoid.
Generally, you should avoid:
- exposing the jewellery to extreme weather conditions, especially heat
- contact with oily or sweaty skin
- contact with dirt (eg while gardening)
- chemicals of any sort
- alcohol-based products
- perfumes & cosmetic products
- food substances
If, for any reason, your jewellery does come in contact with with a potentially damaging substance, rinse the jewellery in clean water and gently wipe dry with a soft cloth. Mild soaps are generally safe to use on costume jewellery too. Try and keep your jewellery clean and dry at all times.
Costume jewellery which is not properly looked after can begin tarnishing almost immediately while other better maintained pieces can last for many years. Keep in mind that costume jewellery only costs a fraction of what fine jewellery costs for a reason.