Try to protect any jewelry from scratches, sharp blows, harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures and sunlight. Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
When doing household tasks such as gardening and cleaning, be certain to remove rings.
Put your jewelry on after washing and applying any makeup/hair spray.
Never wear jewelry while in a swimming pool, hot tubs or Jacuzzis. The chlorine can cause damage to various gemstones and gold. Gemstones may become loose in their settings and possibly fall out.
Avoid storing your jewelry next to a heating vent, window sill or on a car dashboard. Store jewelry away from sunlight as the sun may fade the gemstones.
If you have bead necklaces such as lapis or pearls, store them flat as silk stretches over time. Most jewelers will restring necklaces or reset stones. Do NOT store pearls in plastic bags!
Hardness is based on a gem-trade standard called the Mohs scale. The higher the Mohs scale number, the harder the stone is. The highest Mohs scale rating is 10 diamonds. Anything with a Mohs scale rating of less than 7 is easily scratched such as coral, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl, and turquoise. Gold, silver, and platinum are only Mohs 2-1/2 to 4. Always carefully store any fine jewelry.
Sterling silver will polish up by rubbing or buffing it with a soft cotton cloth or a Sunshine Cloth. If you store silver in plastic bags with an interlocking seal, it will be less prone to tarnish.
Be certain that stones mounted in rings are not loose or rattle. The prongs of a ring can and do wear down. If the prongs wear down too much or break, you've lost the stone. Prongs are easily "retipped" by most jewelers to keep the stone secure.
Click on the gem name for more information about that stone.