For those that wear jewelry regularly, keeping their jewelry clean and looking good requires regular effort.
Here are some general guidelines that may help:
- Remove Jewelry Before Bathing
Be sure to remove your jewelry before showering or cleaning yourself. Soap can cause a film to form on your jewelry, making it appear dull and worn.
- Use Polishing Cloths for Best Results
Always use a jewelry polishing cloth for best results when polishing jewelry. You can use a svelte, or even an old diaper, but professional cloths are the best. Using tissue and paper towels can actually cause scratches on the surface.
- Clean Jewelry With Care
Cleaning jewelry regularly not only keeps it looking good, but it will also reduce the risk of damage, allowing you to spot weak points quickly. However, cleaning your own jewelry can ironically cause the damage in the first place. Purchase commercial cleaners from a jewelry, or carefully make a solution yourself. Rubbing alcohol can work wonders, but bleach will destroy jewelry – avoid it at ALL COSTS.
- Use Warm Water to Clean Jewelry
When cleaning your jewelry, use warm water. Hot water can cause a reaction with the cleaning fluids resulting in discoloring. The problem can be remedied by simply buffing and the use of a tarnish remover.
- Avoid Cleaning Damaged Jewelry
Be sure to never clean any jewelry that is cracked, damaged or broken, since additional handling may exacerbate or worsen the problem. If you find that a piece of jewelry is damaged it should be set aside for repair as soon as possible.
- Inspect Jewelry Regularly
When having jewelry professionally cleaned, its always good to have every item checked and inspected for any problems. Addressing these signs of damage or loose gems can help prevent further damage or loss, and help you keep all your jewelry in excellent condition for years.
Not only does it keep your jewelry looking its best, it also ensures that a trained professional takes a look at it at least once a year, allowing for the earliest possible detection of wear or damage. Between professional cleanings, however, there are some things you can do to keep your jewelry clean.
When cleaning diamonds, be sure to use a soft-bristled non-metallic brush and a mild ammonia and water solution. First, gently scrub away any grime, especially around prongs or the setting, where buildup is most likely to occur. Even clean looking diamonds generally have a thin layer of skin oil and shine better after cleaning. Avoid touching the diamond whenever possible.
Cleaning a gemstone is easy. Simply soak the piece in a bowl of warm soapy water for several minutes. Using a soft, non-metallic brush, remove any grime. When using jewelry cleansers, be sure it is non-abrasive. A harsh chemical cleaner can damage your piece. Also, be sure to never clean the item in your kitchen sink – most jewelry ends up in the drain that way. Some gems have been enhanced or treated by heating, oiling, irradiation and diffusion. Heated and irradiated stones generally do not require any special care while cleaning, but the diffused stones could become lighter if scrubbed too vigorously. The oil on an emerald could be stripped away during cleaning, changing the appearance. If this happens, you can bring it to a jewelry for re-oiling.
The layers of nacre which makes a pearl is very soft by jewelry standards, making it easy to damage. Since it is actually an organic compound, a pearl is easily dulled and eaten away by chemicals and alcohol. Be sure to only wash cultured pearls in very mild, soapy water and nothing else. It is also a good idea to bring your cultured pearls in for a restringing every few years, especially if you wear them very often to prevent loss.
For metal mountings, use rubbing alcohol to dissolve some of the more difficult to remove grime. Be sure not to use alcohol on any pearl jewelry. Soap and water and a soft non-metallic brush will take care of most cleaning needs. Be especially sure your brush is soft enough for metal, especially gold, which can be scratched easily. Use soft clothes that don’t leave fuzz or threads behind to dry and buff your jewelry after cleaning.
- Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic cleaners clean jewelry by bombarding it with sound waves. This vibration actually shakes off dirt, but this vibration can cause serious damage. The inclusions that occur in gemstones, especially those that are more brittle like emeralds, could be seriously damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner. Even if the stone does not break, the inclusions can be greatly enlarged, making the stone less attractive and less valuable. Because of the risks involved, we recommend against using these ultrasonic cleaners now available to consumers unless your jewelry specifically says it will not cause any damage to the piece.