"Stop clapping!" - A tale of damaged jewels and a top-tip to keep your jewellery safe

Written by Julia Griffith FGA DGA EG

Originally posted in April 2020 for previous website jewelleryadvisor, however, after the "clap for the NHS" campaign was launched by the UK government at a similar time - it seemed wise to take it down for a while.




Store jewellery separately to reduce the risk of the metal and gemstones scratching one another’

- Most jewellers, Everywhere


We are all aware that we should store our jewellery carefully to avoid the gems and metals rubbing against one another causing scratches and damage. But have we considered the potential risks wearing our jewels whilst out and about? See below for an eye-opening care and cautionary tale. No round of applause necessary.


There is an aftercare label that should be given with the sale of all rings. This is something that threatens our beloved trinkets everyday - and yet many of us have not even considered it to be a potential issue. This problem must be exposed before even more jewellery wearers fall victim.


Readers, please take note. And if you are a retailer, maybe throw it into your care-and-caution instructions for your customers, for this seemingly innocent act of frivolity may be damaging more jewels than we ever thought possible. This enemy is... clapping.


That’s right. Clapping.


If you enjoy displaying your finery across both hands simultaneously, please take heed - as this innocent display of acclamation may be wrecking your jewellery. This advice is applicable to metal bands as much as gem-set bands. Now onto the story that inspired this particular post. This tale starts with a personal experience of a customer and the mysterious destruction of her diamond eternity band...


When I worked in retail, I sold a customer a platinum and diamond full eternity ring. The customer returned approximately two months later with complaints that one of the diamonds had cracked, which is not an impossible situation but still one that I would not have expected so soon.


When she handed me the ring - I was completely shocked at its condition. I'm quite certain it would have been in a better state if it had been run over by several buses. The ring was bent out of shape, completely dented, the metal beading details that originally traced the outside of the ring had been completely worn away, and, indeed, she had cracked one of the diamonds.


How could this be? What had this lady been doing? She claimed that there was no event or usual activity that caused this damage and insinuated that it must be down the the quality of the ring. Now, for anyone who understands material science in any way knows that this ring didn't just wear out and ruin itself in 8 weeks. Yes, diamonds can break... but not on their own accord. And the whole ring was busted up to heck - there was no way that normal 'wear and tear' had caused this on a good quality platinum ring.


Such damage would have had to involve a series of abuse of some sort, however, the customer continued to innocently maintain that she did nothing out of the ordinary in her day-to-day life to cause the damage. I was mystified. The reason for this inexplicable amount of damage in such a short space of time continued remained a mystery… until recently.


An associate of mine told me a tale about a customer to whom he sold two eternity rings, totalling approximately £60,000. This customer returned them a couple of months later with the rings in complete ruin. To everyones disbelief, she had smashed up a large number of diamonds in these eternity rings and, like my customer, had no idea how it had happened.


Not knowing why or how this happened either, my associate swallowed the cost and completely replaced the rings... only for her to return a couple of months later with the same problem! This time, however, the customer was able to offer an explanation. The cause of the devastation? The customer loved the opera. She loved the opera so much that she would enthusiastically and loudly applaud every act... whilst wearing her beautiful eternity rings. for which she wore one of each hand.


Unbeknownst to her at the time, with each clap she was smashing the diamonds against one another - scratching and chipping them to pieces. It is only when she got home and looked down that she saw the consequences of her cheery applaud. Clapping had ruined her rings.


After a moments reflection back to my own customer, I remembered that she too wore her rings on different hands. She wore the eternity ring wedding band on her left hand as her left hand sported a large 2ct diamond in a twisted, tension-set platinum ring on her right hand.


Now, I cannot be 100% sure, but a plausible explanation to her outrageously wrecked ring could be due to the customer clapping like a seal at some fantastic event. Another likely cause could be the gym - maybe she lifted weights and clanged her ring constantly. Or maybe twenty-odd buses? Who knows.


Either way, multiple ring wearers take note - and maybe consider adjusting your clapping style. Nicole Kidman has a pretty good clapping method you could use.


She knew what was at risk. Kudos, Nicole... kudos.


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