We are thrilled to welcome The Kingswood Company back to COUTURE as our official jewelry cleaning partner! The company’s chic, bright Sparkle + Shine lounge area and the custom COUTURE jewelry cleaner they created for us last year were truly welcome additions to the show. Before COUTURE 2014, I caught up with Kingswood Company President and CEO, Kristie Nicolosi, for a little cleaning tutorial over the phone. This year, we were lucky enough to get together in person in the sun-drenched backdrop of Clay Pot‘s new Nolita Location here in NYC! I feel the need to reiterate “Nolita” because, for 45 years, “Clay Pot” and “Park Slope” have been synonymous. The original shop is still very much a staple of its Brooklyn neighborhood and yet, in order to foster the popular store’s inevitable growth, in December of 2014, they opened another fabulous shop in this thriving Manhattan neighborhood, and business is already booming!
We were able to select a couple of favorites from Clay Pot’s extensive inventory of COUTURE designers, and I learned all about Kingswood’s new Natural Jewelry Cleaner, which recently earned the EPA’s Design for the Environment and Safer Product Labeling designations, the only jewelry cleaner for fine gold, platinum and diamond jewelry to do so. What I also discovered, much to my shame, is that I haven’t been cleaning my jewelry nearly often enough….
First up we selected an adorable 14k white gold and pave diamond ring from Anne Sportun.
Because of the materials used, this ring was a prime subject for the new Natural Cleaner. While the new cleaner is an all-botanical, hypoallergenic formula that is naturally derived, water soluble and devoid of volatile organic compounds (that’s a mouthful!), that does not mean that it is safe on everything! Kristie explained that one should use the new Natural Cleaner on the same items on which you’d use a Fine Jewelry Cleaner (if you picked up your cleaner last year, the Fine Jewelry Cleaner is the one in the black jar). To clean, simply place the ring in the solution and give it a couple of minutes for the solution to do the work. If necessary, which it may be on a pave piece like this, use the included brush to get in the nooks and crannies. Kristie was very firm that one should never use a toothbrush for this job, only the included brush! Here’s a shot of the Natural Jewelry Cleaner in its sun-drenched surroundings!
Next we chose I piece that I absolutely must have in my future jewelry wardrobe. The 18karat gold and red enamel ring by Ray Griffiths.
While Ray’s signature, intricate crown work is what makes his jewelry so distinctive, it also leaves lots of possibilities for attracting grime, oil and gunk which can detract from its beauty. Because of the enamel on this piece, Kristie advised using their Gentle Jewelry Cleaner (from last year, it’s the aquamarine fluid in the clear jar). Once again, you can just drop the ring in, give it a few minutes and take it out. On Ray’s open work, you really would want to get into the depths of the piece with the included brush (again, NO toothbrush!), dry it off with your polishing cloth and voila! Like new.
After we discussed the specifics of certain pieces, I drilled down a little more generally. How often should I be cleaning my jewelry? “We suggest once a day, but we know that may not be realistic, so at lease once a week.” Gulp. Some of my jewelry hadn’t been cleaned in months! And why? When I have the tools right there at my fingertips? Kristie gave me a practical tip, “Just put your jewelry in the solution before you brush your teeth, by the time you’re done, your jewelry is done.”
Kristie and her team are constantly pointing out that home cleaning solutions are in no way a replacement for regular cleaning at your jewelry retail store–a professional retailer can get in deeper, and has the skills and knowledge to check to make sure stones are secure and everything is in order before handing your jewelry back. But she thinks it’s important that regular people like me feel comfortable and confident doing regular “touch ups” at home. And she’s right. That very night, all of my favorite pieces got a thorough cleaning and I’ve been continuing to follow orders ever since.
The thing about cleaning your jewelry is, it sparkles more! It shines more! It’s a daily reminder of why you fell in love with a piece in the first place. And you know what else? Feeling all sparkly and shiny like that makes me want even more jewelry so I can feel more sparkly and shiny. And uh oh, COUTURE is just around the corner, which could spell trouble for my bank account….