Jewelry Care and Cleaning Guide: How To Care and Protect Your Jewelry

Celebrating a Special Occasion with Jewelry!

Jewelry Care means being careful, how you store and and clean it!

How to care and protect Jewelry?

If your jewelry has value to you, it is valuable enough for you to want to take care of it. Jewelry Care means being careful you do no lose it as well as being careful how you store and clean it.

When you buy jewelry, any jewelry, from the most expensive fine jewelry to inexpensive costume jewelry, you buy it because it is beautiful. The gleam of the metal and the shine or luster and fire of the gems appeal to your aesthetic sense of beauty, based on what you can afford. The better the jewelry, the longer you want to wear it, perhaps even for rest of your life, and the longer you want it to have that like new glow, although some metals and finishes attain a warm patina with wear. What you don’t want, however, is scratched or gouged settings and dull gems. Accidents can happen, but all too often the jewelry is damaged by carelessness or not taking the few moments necessary to tend to the jewelry.

In most cases, being careful is the only care jewelry needs. Some types of jewelry, nevertheless, need special care because the gems may be soft, absorbent, or fragile.

Keep in mind that the harder the gem and the higher it is on the Mohs scale of hardness, the more durable it generally is. At time, a hard gem with high or distinct cleavage is apt to be fragile and may break or cleave if it is struck at the right angle. Hardness therefore is not synonymous with toughness. A tough gem may be soft enough to be more easily scratched but it is less apt to break or shatter. These characteristics have pertinence in wearing, cleaning, and storing jewelry, and in remodeling.

Metals have similar characteristic. The purer the silver and gold, the more easily it can be damaged. Also, you must consider the combination of metal in settings with gem or gems. What may be perfectly good to clean a metal, such as sterling silver, may not be the best for the gems. You have to consider the jewelry as a whole, not as simply metal or gems.

These point are tied in with the third point: the care you take with your jewelry to protect it from loss, both when you are wearing it and when you put it away for safekeeping. All the care in cleaning and storing will not matter if you lose the jewelry. The care you should take in this sense involves the precautions you would take to make sure you do not lose something you like and enjoy. That common sense, and it is common sense whether or not the jewelry is insured, and whether or not it is valuable. The precautions you should take with any jewelry that you like and that means anything to you, in fact, are simple common sense.

– Protection of jewelry

First of all, think about what you do when wearing jewelry. Rings are good example of how common sense can prevent loss.

More Rings are probably lost through carelessness than any other type of jewelry, because they are more apt to be taken off when being worn than pins or necklaces, bracelets or even earrings. So, Precaution Number One, if you wear rings, is to wear them at all times, or be careful with them as you are with your money and credit cards.

Men and women, incidentally, tend to regard rings differently.

– Storing and cleaning jewelry

When you take jewelry off, all jewelry and not only rings, what do you do with it? First, you should have a good and safe place for it. Second, that place should keep the jewelry safe not only from loss but also from damage.

The worst place you can put it is in a jewelry box already filled with other jewelry all jumbled together, where it can become scratched or more seriously hurt. The best place you can put jewelry is in individual leather or cloth cases or bags that will protect each piece from being damaged by other pieces of jewelry. If you do not have separate boxes from the jeweler for each piece of jewelry, at least put each piece in an individual case of some kind and do not drop it casually into a jewelry box.

In most cases, a plastic bag is a good substitute for leather or cloth. Plastic, however, should never be used with pearls, opals, and ivory, which need air to retain their beauty. Plastic, nevertheless, does have an advantage for other jewelry in that you can easily see the piece of jewelry that is in the bag. This method, incidentally, is also good for costume jewelry, which can be scratched as easily, if not more so, than precious jewelry.

Cleaning is also important in retaining and restoring the beauty and luster of jewelry with and without gems. Even gold can discolor from soaps and perspiration. Silver can be especially prone to tarnish, although almost all American sterling silver jewelry is coated with rhodium, an element of platinum, to prevent tarnishing. Any other silver that is worn all the time rarely needs polishing either, since wear retards tarnish. It still may need cleaning, though.

In fact, any metal may need cleaning now and then to remove dirt, soil, or soap film, as may gems. There are, in general, four methods of cleaning jewelry. Although all are safe for cleaning precious metal and diamonds, all are not interchangeable and safe for all kinds of jewelry. These are the methods most commonly suggested and used, but be sure to read further for the exceptions and for the precautions you should take with specific metals and gems.

-Detergents Bath. Mix a mild detergent and warm water in a small bowl or cup. Immerse the jewelry, brushing the pieces with an eyebrow brush. Rinse the jewelry under warm running water, being sure to put the jewelry into a tea strainer or cheesecloth for safety’s sake. Pat dry with lintels cloth. Do not use for soft gems or foe any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Cold water soak. In a cup or bowl, combine half cold water and half household ammonia. Put the jewelry in and soak for 30 minutes. Do not leave it overnight or for a long period of time. After 30 minutes, remove the jewelry and gently clean the front and back of the setting, if necessary, with an eyebrow brush before swishing the jewelry in the solution again and draining it dry on tissue. Do not use soft gems or any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Quick dip. Commercial jewelry cleaners generally employ the quick dip method. Since cleaners vary, you should read instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Do not use cleaners on nay jewelry not specifically mentioned unless you check with a jeweler first.

– Ultrasonic cleaners. You will find several of these small machines on the market. In general, the principle is that of using high frequency turbulence to clean jewelry soaking in a metal cup of water and detergent. Again, be sure to read and follow the directions with the utmost care and do not use the machine on any jewelry not specifically mentioned. Not all jeweler, feel these machine are safe even for diamonds. Before buying one, therefore, be sure to check with your jeweler and get his advice.

These then are the common methods in general. Specific metals, and gems, require specific care. The methods described below are safe for the specific metals and won’t harm most gems. Keep in mind, though, that some gems need special care. Whenever you have any doubt about cleaning jewelry, be sure to consult your jeweler.

1) Copper

Copper will tarnish like silver in presence of moisture and sulfur. In most cases, however, a lacquer is baked on to prevent the jewelry from tarnishing. To clean copper, use any commercial cleaner that specifies it safe for copper. Do not use ammonia, which can erode copper.

2) Gold

The lower the number of karats, the more gold will discolor due to the higher percentage of base metals in the alloy. Mild soap, water and ammonia will remove the discoloration with ease.
One theory goes that you can prevent gold from leaving black mark on the skin by spraying the gold with hair spray. All you actually doing is adding a substance that can add to the tarnish. Keeping gold clean is the best way to avoid skin discoloration. In any case do not use hair spray on any gold with gems.

Gold-filled. Remember, the character of gold filled jewelry is the same as the karat gold that makes up 1/20 of the total weight, except that the jewelry will not last as long as the same jewelry in solid karat gold. Gold-filled jewelry can be cleaned the same way as karat gold, with mild soap, and a drop of ammonia.

Rolled gold plate. Rolled gold plate may contain less gold than rolled gold, but it should be cleaned the same way as gold-filled and karat gold jewelry.

Gold electroplate. Although the layer of gold deposited by electroplating may be 7 to 100 millionths of an inch thick, good gold electroplate can wear as well as rolled gold. It should be wiped clean regularly with a damp, soft cloth, and a mild soap and water solution may be used to remove any makeup. Do not use a treated cloth to clean gold electroplate.
Gold-washed or gold-flashed. Jewelry finished in this manner contains very little gold. The surface layer, in fact, is so thin that it may be negligible and wear off after a few times of being worn. Any cleaning, and particularly any rubbing, any remove the finish entirely.

3) Silver

Any commercial silver cleaner or silver cloth will touch up and clean silver jewelry. Soap, water, and a drop of ammonia will also clean silver that is very lightly tarnished or may just need cleaning to remove makeup and perspiration.

Silver-filled. Clean silver-filled jewelry in the same way as sterling. The older the jewelry, however, the more permanent the patina will be. Such a patina cannot be removed.

Silver plate (or silver electroplate). Silver plate, unlike gold, can last for years and can be cleaned in the same way as sterling silver. It can be re-plated, if necessary, although re-plating is more common in silver tableware than in jewelry.

4) Combination metals

Metals, including precious metals, are sometimes combined with other metals and with enamel. Be very careful in cleaning the metal that you don’t clean off the inlay or enamel. The same caution holds true for vermeil, which is sterling silver with karat gold electroplate. If you must rub, rub very gently with soft cloth.

5) Gems

Some gems need special care. That care includes both cleaning and storing gems. Be particularly careful with:

Amber. Amber is the softest of all gems and will be scratched by all other gems. Be careful in wearing it and always store it by itself. It darkens gradually with age and exposures to light and should be kept in a cloth or leather bag case.

Never use a rough clothe or clothe that may have dirt, dust, or grit on it to clean amber because of its softness. Never use acid to clean amber or wear amber when working with acids since acid will decompose amber. Alcohol and other solvents do not normally affect amber, however, unless it is exposed to them for a long period of time. For this reason, be careful not to leave amber in any cleaning solution, except very briefly. Hair spray and perfume can also affect amber.

Coral. Coral is relatively tough. Be careful with twig coral in both storing and wearing, since the thinner the twigs the more easily the coral can break. Remember, coral is not a mineral and its luster may be spoiled by preparations used to clean other jewelry.

Diamonds. Diamonds should be kept apart from other gems to avoid scratching the other gems. This rule holds true for both storage and cleaning. One expert suggests boiling diamonds for 10 minutes in soap, water, and ammonia to clean them.

Ivory. Wash ivory carefully in soapy water, drying it with a damp cloth. Never soak ivory in soap and water, however, since soaking can cause it to crack or break. If you are cleaning ivory beads, do not get the string wet because the string will stay wet and can affect the beads. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid.

Ivory darken with age. It can be bleached by sunlight or peroxide. If peroxide is used, do not soak the ivory in it, and avoid wetting any string with which ivory beads are strung with the peroxide.
Keep in mind that ivory is permeable and relatively soft, factors tending to make it contract or shrink in cold and expand in heat. The combination of temperatures, along with soaking and drying out, can lead to the cracking of the ivory. Wiping it carefully with a soft, damp cloth, therefore, is probably the best method of cleaning ivory.

Jet. Jet, although tough, is soft and should never be kept with other jewelry that can scratch it. Scratching diminishes its polish and lessens its value to collectors.

Lapis Lazulli. Despite its softness, Lapis Lazulli wears well and is popular for men’s jewelry and especially men’s rings. Even though it may scratch, the scratches are not difficult for a good jeweler to polish out.

Malachite. Malachite is soft and is not tough like jet. It breaks easily and should be worn with care. It also scratches easily, losing its polish. Be careful wearing it next to your skin, which can turn malachite dark or black.

Moonstone. Moonstone’s softness means that it needs care. Moonstones should be kept by themselves and cleaned carefully with only a very soft cloth and soap and water.

Opals. All kinds of opals are fragile and require care, the most care of any other gem. The polished stones are usually thin and may crack or craze. One cause may be extremely cold weather, indirect sunlight, in hot dishwater, or when handling frozen foods. Cold weather may also cause opals to shrink, which means they can fall out of the setting. Because of their softness, they are easily scratched and may absorb dirt or grit, another reason for avoiding dishwater and being careful in cleaning them.
Opals contain water, sometimes as much as 10%. Thus, they may dry out. For this reason, some experts suggest leaving them in water, in a mixture of water and glycerin, or in mineral oil to keep them from drying out and losing their fire, whenever they are not being worn. Use only a mild soap solution and a soft cloth to clean them. Never put opals in plastic bags, commercial jewelry cleaner, or acid.

Pearls. Both Oriental and cultured pearls are genuine pearls and need a certain amount of special care. Cosmetics (including hair spray), dust, dirt, and particularly perspiration can affects pearls. They should be wiped carefully only with a soft clothe after wearing and kept in satin-lined box, never in a plastic bag. Because their softness, cars should be taken not to scratch them. Pearls need to be worn and allowed to breathe. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid to clean them.

Peridot. Peridot scratches easily and tends to lose its polish. It should be stored and worn carefully but no special cleaning is necessary.

Topaz. Topaz should be kept in dark, literally. The gems tend to fade or pale in light, and some yellow-brown topazes on display in museums have turned clear after several years. Remember, too, it cleaves easily. It does not require special cleaning methods.

Turquoise. Since turquoise is very porous, it will absorb all sorts of impurities, especially if it is exposed to dirt and grease, such as in working in the yard or in washing dishes.

Turquoise tends to change color with age. It may lighten, darken, or streak. According to an old wives’ tale, burying turquoise in dirt restore the color, but the advice does not say for how long or what amount of dirt might be absorbed. You are probably better off learning to appreciate the change in color.

Never expose turquoise to ammonia, which will spoil the surface by pitting or spotting. Jewelry cleaner and acid will also injure or destroy turquoise.

To sum up, one of best methods of cleaning jewelry is simply to use mild soap, water and a drop of ammonia, even though ammonia should not be used with certain gems. Commercial jewelry cleaners are also available at fine jewelers, and these are safe, too, for most, but not all, jewelry. Be surer to read the directions on any commercial cleaner carefully and to follow them.

When in doubt about cleaning any jewelry, ask your jeweler what he would suggest. Remember, a watchmaker is not a jeweler. For expert advice and help, you need a jeweler who knows metal and gems, because in some cases you may be better off bringing the jewelry into the jeweler’s for cleaning.

Jewelry from 3000 BC Egypt to the 21st Century

Egypt

The use of gold jewelry can be dated back to Egypt 3000 BC. Gold was the preferred metal for jewelry making during ancient times. It was rare, it was easy to work with, and it never tarnished.

Magnificent bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings, armlets, earrings, collars, and head ornaments were all produced in ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs. In 1922 Howard Carter’s excavations led to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and many gold artifacts, all showing the art work of ancient Egypt.

Greece

In ancient Greece, gold beads in the shape of shells, flowers and beetles were very common. In Northern Greece beautiful necklaces and earrings have been excavated from burial.

By 300 BC the Greeks were using gems such as emeralds, garnets, amethysts and pearls. They also created colored glass stones and enamel stones. Carved agate cameos and gold filigree work were widely made.

Italy

The Italian Etruscans produced granulated textured gold work. They made very large, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They were also known for producing hollow gold pendants that were filled with perfume. Even today the Italians are still known for the quality gold jewelry.

Rome

The Romans used 18 and 24 carat gold for their coins. Coinage gold was readily available so it was popular with craftsmen for decorative jewelry. Over 2000 years ago the Romans were using sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and amber in their jewelry.
Europe.

During the 13th century the Medieval Sumptuary Laws were enacted which put a cap on luxurious jewelry and clothing. The town folk of France, banned from wearing girdles made from pearls or any other gemstone.

They were also banged from wearing gold or silver. Similar laws existed in England banning artisans from wearing gold and silver. These laws show how fine jewelry had spread beyond nobility to the town folk.

For as long as mankind has existed gems and jewels have been used as token of ones love for another. While many pieces of jewelry existed adorned with fine gems and made from precious metals, there was also some very good fake jewelry.

True gemstones and pearls originated in the east and they were bought mainly by the Italians. The Italian merchants then sold the jewelry to the Europeans.

High quality glass imitations were often used and sold with the intent to deceive. These high quality glass stones were often used in the Royal funeral robes and in children’s jewelry.

Valued more than gemstones, were the flawless, round, natural white pearls. South India provided some of the finest pearls. The Italians were able to make quality imitation glass gems and pearls that could only be identified by a gemologist.

There is historical proof that recipes for false pearls existed as far back as 1300. White powdered glass was mixed with albumen and snail slime to produce imitation pearls.

Earrings and Dress Jewelry

During the 17th century woman always wore earrings, whether they were dressed or undressed. It was very acceptable to wear faux pearls and paste gem earrings during the day saving fine diamond jewelry and gem jewelry for evening attire.

Dress ornamentation decreased in size. Sleeves or skirts were often decorated with matching brooches.

During the 16th it was very fashionable to wear large quantities of pearls. Both jewelry to clothing accessories were adorned with pearls.

During the 17th century Jaquin of Paris patented a method of making fake pearls. Hollow blown glass balls were coated with varnish mixed with iridescent ground fish scales. The hollow balls were then filled with wax to strengthen them. This discovery made Paris the main producer of faux pearls for well over 200 years.

Paste is a compound of glass containing white lead oxide and potash. Paste jewelry was very common in the later part of the 17th century. The highest quality and most long lasting paste jewelry was produced after 1734 by Georges Strass.

Paris lead the production of faux gems [paste] and faux pearls. Just about any kind of fake gem could be made, including fake opals.

After 1760 the production of fake jewelery spread to London and to Birmingham. During the industrial revolution steel was produced in large quantities so it was easily available. It was ues for setting marcasite and jasper ware cameos. Glass and Wedgwood porcelain paste cameos were made in English factories and were also very popular.

The fashion from this era also included ornate shoe buckles of paste, steel and tin, elaborate paste jewel buttons, as well as semi precious for day wear.

Empire Jewelry

In 1804 Napoleon emerged as Emperor of France, resulting in a revival of jewelry and fashion as a new court of pomp.
‘Joailliers’ worked fine jewelry and ‘bijoutiers’ used less precious materials.

The members of the new French imperial family had the former French royal family gems re-set into the latest neo-classical style. The new trends soon found their way to Europe, particularly England. The main influence for design was the Greek and Roman.

Parures and Cameos

Parures were a matching suite of coordinating precious gems which could include a necklace, a comb, a tiara, a diadem, a bandeau, a pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or and cluster stud earrings and possibly a belt clasp.

A full parure consisted of a minimum of four pieces. A demi parure consisted of three or less pieces. Both Josephine and Napoleon’s second wife had magnificent parures.

Once Napoleon’s cameo decorated coronation crown was seen, cameos became the rage. Cameos were carved from hard stone, conch shells and even from Wedgwood porcelain.

Victorian Jewelry

In 1837 when Queen Victoria came to the throne jewelry was romantic and nationalistic. It focused on European folk art, which later influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement. Until mid century most western jewelry came from Europe, with some jewelry being produced in North America and Australia.

Mass production of mid Victorian jewelry in Birmingham, Germany and Providence, Rhode Island resulted in lower jewelry standards. Victorian women rebelled when they saw some the poor quality of much of this machine made jewelry.

Woman rebelled by wearing no jewelry at all, or buying from the emerging artist craftsman. Some jewelers like Tiffany recognized a niche market and began to make fine jewelry of a very high standard, opening shops in main European cities.

Mourning Jewelry

During the Victorian era mourning jewelry was very fashionable. The initial months of mourning were unadorned by jewelry of any kind. As the mourning rituals increased, mourning jewelry developed as a fashion item. Queen Victorian wore a great deal of jet mourning jewelry after Prince Albert’s death.

Jet from Whitby, North of England was set into mourning pieces. All types of material that were black were used and almost all included a lock of the dead loved one’s hair. Hair was also plaited, braided or twisted very tightly until it became hard and thread like.

Arts and Crafts Jewelry

During the 1870s the Arts and Crafts movement evolved as a reaction to mass produced shoddy goods and inferior machine made products which were a result of the industrial revolution.

William Morris and John Ruskin were both leaders of the arts and crafts movement in England. They promoted simple Arts and Crafts of designs based on floral, primitive or Celtic forms worked as wallpapers, furniture and jewelry.

The polished stones used in Arts and Crafts jewelry gave a medieval, simpler, gentler, tooled hand made look and feel to items.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau followed the arts and crafts movement resulting in a new jewelry look. The movement began in Paris and its influence went throughout the Western world. Art nouveau jewelry had curves, sinuous organic lines of romantic and imaginary dreaminess.

It was very ethereal turning into winged bird and flower forms. French, René Lalique was the master goldsmith of the era of Art Nouveau producing exquisite one off pieces. Today, the Art Nouveau style is still admired, sought after, and copied.

Pearls

Various combinations of pearl necklaces come in and out of fashion with regularity so pearls too are a must. Today pearls are still a wardrobe essential. Both faux pearls and cultured pearls are very affordable today.

Since the opening of trade with China in the 1990s, many pearls are imported from China dropping the price to about 1/3 of what it was prior to China entering the market.

The Japanese have suffered disease in their pearl beds as well as facing competition and are finding it hard to compete with China’s prices.

Pearl necklaces and pearl earrings can lift a complexion and bring light and radiance to the face taking years off a woman whatever her age. They have been a wardrobe staple for centuries, and a wedding attire tradition.

Cultured pearls have become very affordable, and faux pearls are very cheap and the quality can be excellent. Currently Pearls are a very “hot” fashion statement and with the modern twist of being interspaced on gold wire or floating on special synthetic cord they are essential to the millennium look.

Cocktail Jewelry

During the 1920s Lalique mass produced and designed high quality glass jewelry. Fake, or costume jewellery was sometimes then called cocktail jewelry.

Costume or Cocktail jewelry was greatly influenced by designers such as Coco Chanel, and Elsa Shiparelli as well as a host of other designers. These two designers were particularly known for encouraging clients to mix their fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Both designers offered imagination and fun and both often sported fabulous fakes.

In the late 1930s Napier of the USA was at the forefront of manufacturing fake cocktail jewelry offer glamour and escapism. Today, Napier still produces excellent contemporary costume pieces.

Hollywood Influence

By the 1940s and 1950s American culture was very dominant in Europe. The influence of movie films and the prominence of film stars set the fashion stage for womens make-up, hair and wardrobe.

People wanted copies of outfits and jewelry worn by the actresses. Women believed that the glamour of Hollywood would rub off on them if they dressed and looked like the glamorous Hollywood actresses.

During the Second World War metals were rationed, halting the production of fine jewelry. Quality costume jewelry picked up the now defunct fine jewelry market. Costume jewelry flourished becoming an acceptable alternative to fine jewelry.
1980’s Television Influences Jewelry

During the 1980s with the evolution of glitzy television soaps such as Dynasty and Dallas, costume jewelry once again became a “hot” fashion statement. With over 250 million viewers, it didn’t take long for costume jewelry to be reborn.

Glitz and sparkle by day was not only acceptable, it became the norm. Earrings grew to an unbelievable size, as did other pieces of jewelry. By the 1990s this sparkly dazzling jewelry phenomena was dead, replace with tiny real diamond studs or a fine stud pearls.

21st Century Jewelry

For the 21st century women believe a mix is good. Fine jewelry combined with costume jewelry are wardrobe essentials. The sophisticated women of this century know what they want from their jewelry and how to wear it to make their fashion statement.

They recognize that costume jewelry can liven up their wardrobe. The types and quality of costume jewelry has grown enormously. Today one can purchase what is classified as fine costume jewelry which is usually plated at least seven times with 10 22 ct gold.

Swarovski crystal set in gold are common accessories, and cubic zirconium, man’s imitation diamond, can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of real diamonds allowing every women to add diamond styled jewelry to their wardrobe.

Ciro, Adrian Buckley, Butler and Wilson, Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Napier, Joan Rivers, Joan Collins, Christian Dior, California Crystal, Property of A Lady and of course Kenneth J Lane to name just a few continue to produce high quality fashion jewelry for today’s women.

Costume jewelry can take you from the board room to a night out of dining and dancing to your most intimate evening. It can make you look your best for your wedding, or a day at the beach. You can make Your Fashion Statement With Costume Jewelry!

Sexy Lingerie Buying Tips For Men

Sexy Lingerie Buying Tips For MenMen want to buy lingerie for the women in their lives. That said there is a growing need for information to help men choose the right lingerie for their wives and girlfriends, as often the purchase is a gift for a special occasion. Special occasions like a honeymoon, anniversary or vacation are a great reason to buy and wear lingerie. Relationships today are perhaps no more complicated than in the past, but it is clear that lingerie is growing in popularity due to a number of factors. Special occasions can be a loved one returning from a tour of duty or a weekend getaway. Regardless of the reason for buying lingerie, both men and women are often disappointed as the lingerie is not appropriate for the woman who has to wear it, or worst of all, it doesn’t even fit. Unlike flowers, jewelry or dinner and a movie, lingerie needs to fit, and if it doesn’t, the effect on the evening can be dramatic.

As women express themselves in the clothing they wear, lingerie is a major apparel line that women wear in intimate settings as well as increasingly as outer wear. Men are often shy to enter our lingerie retail store. Grown men are reduced to babbling and stuttering when faced with the prospect of talking to another woman about their wives or girlfriends undergarments. I see it time and again where a man comes in to buy lingerie and is visibly nervous. Enthused about the idea of buying his wife or girlfriend lingerie, he comes face to face with a woman who is asking him questions he is often ill prepared to answer.

While buying lingerie over the web is a lot easier for men due to the anonymity factor, the problems of buying the right lingerie for the woman who has to wear it, and getting the sizes right still remain. Most women love lingerie, but many do not relish the thought of having to wear what their husband or boyfriend chooses. When women return the lingerie they often admit it was the wrong size or their husband must have bought it for themselves as the woman would have never purchased the garment. Men need some assistance in how to buy the right lingerie for the woman and occasion. It is understandable that many men love to see women in lingerie, but they need to focus on the woman they are buying it for, and how it will look on her, as well as how it makes her feel.

Men know what they like, but that doesn’t always translate to the women in their lives. Many men make the decision of what their wife or girlfriend will look great in is as a result of of television programs or movies. While there is nothing wrong with that, it may not result in the woman in his life being happy with the choice. Men need to think before they buy lingerie for the special woman in their lives. Many men enter our store and complain that their wives or girlfriends don’t wear the lingerie they buy them. This is due at least in part to the possibility the lingerie was bought to fulfill a man’s fantasy without consideration of the woman who has to wear the outfit. A real girl who may have some concerns about such things as modesty or her body image Does that mean men are inconsiderate when purchasing lingerie? Yes, sometimes they are as they often buy what they like, ignoring what the woman may like or want to wear. Lingerie, unlike outerwear does little to nothing to conceal body imperfections, real or imagined, and little wonder a woman refuses to wear something that makes her look or feel bad about herself.

Buying a woman lingerie is not unlike purchasing any gift. Giving some thought to the purchase before the fact will improve the chance that the lingerie is worn and appreciated. Whenever buying another person a gift one should consider a couple of factors. Consider exactly who it is you are buying this gift for. Is the gift for her, or is is for me? A good gift is one that takes the recipient into consideration, not just what you may like. But it is not just taking her feelings into consideration, but knowing her personal taste and attributes as well as her height, weight or favorite colors may be the beginnings of a gift that is not worn or appreciated. Is it true that it is the thought that counts? Of course not! If there was no or very little thought put into the purchase of lingerie, then perhaps it is the thought that counts, and in fact counts for very little. The thought of giving a woman an intimate gift of lingerie that exposes her body and it is the wrong size, too revealing for the womans sense of modesty, or the wrong color can be insulting.

This article is really just a couple of suggestions that should help men choose lingerie appropriate for the occasion, and most importantly the woman who will wear the lingerie. So let’s get started. First are the feelings of the woman! Never lose sight of the fact that you are buying lingerie for a living, breathing, thinking person. It is not like buying a toothbrush, or even a sweater. Lingerie comes with an emotional charge. That is one reason many men buy lingerie. That emotional charge can be great, and it can be the basis of disappointment. Unlike other gifts, lingerie may be the most intimate gift one can buy for a woman. It is, after all intimate apparel, reserved only for the special person in her life. Also, it exposes some potential flaws, real or otherwise that she likely doesn’t like to advertise to anyone, especially the man in her life.

Second think about her about her likes and dislikes in clothing, comments she may have made about various fashion styles, celebrities, and her comfort level when it comes to lingerie. Whew! If this sound a little like a primer on relationships, it is and it isn’t. The truth is buying lingerie does require knowing something about the recipient. Does this mean that you shouldn’t buy lingerie for someone you don’t know a lot about? Yes! As a general rule there are those you buy lingerie for, and those you don’t. Don’t buy lingerie for someone you don’t know well, and that includes your wife or girlfriend. Learn who she is first, and the rest is relatively easy. How long does it take to learn what she likes? An hour or more should do it.

Comfort level is important as everyone has a different tolerance for things. Tread gently my friend. Lingerie should not become a test of your and her political will. Understand her comfort zone, and go beyond it at some risk. The point here is to stretch her comfort zone, but any attempt to violate it will likely do more harm than good. Ask yourself does she like it when you suggest new things, or is she more likely to prefer her own tastes? Does she like the assertive lead taker, or is she happy making all her own decisions? Regardless of the answers, know your wife or girlfriend, her personality as well as her stated limits.

Is it all that difficult? No, not really. Most men know that their wives or girlfriends enjoy the theatre or movies, staying at home or partying until the police arrive, or skirts and heels versus sweats and flip flops. So don’t turn it into rocket science. If you don’t know the womans likes and dislikes, ask! Ask her if she would wear the outfit you are looking at in the catalog. What does she think about wearing a thong, or a mini skirt or whatever? Whatever the answer is, you accomplish at least two things. One you learn what she likes, the other is you learn what she dislikes.

Step three is what I call- fact finding. Get the information and gather the clues. When she steps in the shower, or when she leaves to go to the store check out her panty drawer. Check out her clothing, preferably lingerie, panties and bras to get the following information. Bra size, panty size, color preferences, style preferences, size of her jeans, skirts, blouses and yes, even her shoes. Somehow get her weight, or at least an educated guess. Every man should have a list of all his partners sizes, preferences on his person at all times.

It takes ten minutes of your time, and should be updated from time to time to take into account weight loss, or gain, changes in comfort zones, if any and color preferences! Don’t forget shoes, as a gift of shoes could make you the king of her kingdom. Buying shoes for a woman is not easy as styles change often, women have specific preferences based upon the season, the occasion, their unique likes and dislikes and other factors unique to her. If you can master buying shoes for the woman in your life, then you have arrived! Let’s start with something a lot easier. Lingerie!

Now that you have an idea about her comfort zone, as well as her sizes you are onto step four, what I like to call surveying the landscape. You have a general idea what she likes; you know what she can fit into, now you need to know what is available in the marketplace. This will take a little longer than steps one, two and three as they are easy while step four requires a survey of the internet, and perhaps a visit to a local store.

The beauty of the internet shopping is offset slightly by the disadvantage of being unable to try items on. This can be a substantial disadvantage in some cases. I suggest you shop online but beware of a couple of things. Check out their return policy and call them if you have any questions about what can be returned. Second understand your sizing as lingerie does not generally follow conventional sizing due to the nature of the lingerie, as well as deviations in products made overseas. Finally, remember that the model wearing the outfit on the internet is likely 10-25 pounds lighter in real life, is 5’4″ tall before she puts on the 5 inch platforms and the garment has been pinned, tucked and perhaps altered to fit her body like a second skin. She is a model, after all. Even if your girlfriend is a model, or ought to be, the garment will likely fit differently.

The benefits of internet purchases are generally selection, as few boutiques in your hometown will carry the styles, colors and brands available on line. Next, the cost of items online is generally much lower than in retail stores. Finally is the anonymity of buying lingerie from your home is far different from driving down to your local neighborhood lingerie boutique store and negotiating women’s undergarments.

When you sit down to look at lingerie online, use your save a favorite function liberally. Why? Because you are going to need to sit down with your girl to refine the search, and perhaps make a purchase or two. What should you look for when you are searching alone? Here is where the information you have previously gathered comes into play. What is your woman’s favorite feature? Her legs, tummy or her feet? This is where you start. Does she have a nice tummy with a sexy belly button ring? Then a baby doll that shows off her stomach will likely make a good fit. Does she have legs from the floor to the ceiling that drive men wild? Then a lingerie set with stockings, garter belt and a matching bra may be just the ticket.

What doesn’t work? Stay away from missy sizes if she is tall, or over 160-165 pounds. If she is long waisted ignore the teddies and body stockings. Does she have very slender legs, stay away from hosiery. Does she have a large derriere? Stay clear of one size fits most.

Colors to avoid! All colors she doesn’t like as well as prints and designs that are risky as they may just not be to her liking. Colors that are safe- black, white, perhaps red. Don’t venture too far here, unless you think she will like the color, and it is compatible with her own skin tones. Color and style are risky by their very nature. You can experiment with hot pink, fuchsia and other hot colors as these garments are hot by their nature. While she may not have hot pink as a favorite color, a lot of lingerie is made in hot colors for dancers and bedroom attire.

If she is a plus size woman the news is good as more and more manufacturers are making sexy lingerie for curvy girls. But be sure you understand plus size sizing. Many women don’t understand it because plus size lingerie is sold often in extra large, 1x through 6x. Be absolutely certain before ordering, or ask the online customer’s service representative exactly what sizes will fit your ladies curves. Be prepared to give the height, weight, bra size, waist size in order to size her lingerie correctly. Be careful when buying plus size lingerie that is offered as one size fits most-plus. This is a bit of a risk as a 1x is obviously not the same as a 3x. The manufacturers do this to make the garment less expensive, not to make it easier for you to buy it. The same applies to misses’ lingerie sold as one size fits most-misses.

Caution: One size fits most is not one size fits all. In the past manufacturers labeled these items one size fits all. Through bad experience, the labels have been changed to read one size fits most, but many people assume that it means fits all. It doesn’t! Typically, but not always one size fits most means up to 5’6″ and up to 145 pounds. The one size fits most is very confusing to most buyers, and must have a substantial spandex content to fit.

When ordering online the word to the wise is: Order from a website that has a toll free number with a live person to speak to. Second order from a site that carries inventory. The vast majority of sites are bedroom enterprises that carry little or no inventory. Third beware of sites that are drop shippers only. While drop shipping is perfectly good, and larger sites utilize some component of drop shipping, drop ship only sites rarely have good product knowledge as they may only ship from one manufacturer, and since they carry no stock cannot develop product knowledge when they do not have inventory to actually pull the product and respond to specific inquiries. Often the only option they have is to call the manufacturer. Third ascertain how long they have been in business on line. Do they have a retail store. What is their Google page rank? Don’t be afraid to ask as reputable businesses are proud to answer those questions.