Diamond wedding rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants have sentimental value that can last a lifetime. But even the finest of gems and precious of metals can become dull without proper care. Dirt and grime, dust, hard water deposits, soap residue, sweat, and hand cream are some of the greatest culprits, especially for the jewelry you wear every day. With proper cleaning and care, it can potentially last for generations.
Proper Jewelry Cleaning
Using an improper cleaning technique can be hard on the toughest of gems. Here are some considerations when cleaning your jewelry:
- Daily Wipe Down: When you remove jewelry at the end of the day, wipe it with a soft cloth to remove any dirt or oils. For storage, use a fabric-lined case instead of leaving items on the nightstand or putting them in a drawer. If your only option is drawer, wrap each piece in soft tissue or paper.
- Mild Cleansers: The best way to clean all your jewelry is warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft brush. Avoid harsh compounds like chlorine bleach; this solvent can damage gold alloys. Ammonia can be mixed with lukewarm water. Add a quarter of a cup of it to a cup of water and leave the item in for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Soft Toothbrush: Great for hard-to-remove dirt, a soft-bristled toothbrush is best for fine jewelry with non-treated diamonds. You can then rinse and dry with a soft cloth, using distilled water if your neighborhood has hard water.
- Cleaning Tarnished Gold: Get a commercial gold polish from your jeweler and wipe with a chamois cloth to prevent scratching. As an alternative to ammonia, you can soak items in vinegar and then brush, rinse and dry.
- Tread Carefully with Ultrasonic Cleaners: Do not use these to clean pearls, ivory, coral, or other organic gems; any gemstone that has been fracture-filled; or anything coated with plastic or wax. Also avoid ultrasonic cleaners on heat- or temperature-sensitive gemstones or anything that’s been heat-treated. If possible, let a professional jeweler handle ultrasonic cleaning.
Tips on Gemstone Care
How you treat your jewelry every day can affect its beauty, value, and longevity.
- Proper Storage: A fabric-lined jewelry box should have separate compartments and dividers to keep jewelry apart and prevent scratching. Anti-tarnish strips, bags, or cloths should be used for long-term storage of silver, to prevent tarnishing by airborne pollutants.
- Put It on At the End of Your Routine: Makeup, moisturizer, and face/skin cleaners can damage jewelry. Put your jewelry on at the end of your morning routine. This minimizes exposure of metals and gems to potentially harmful chemicals.
- Remove Jewelry for Physical Work: Take off your jewelry when you are cleaning the house, doing gardening work, or anything that involves harsh chemicals or physical labor. Also take it off during workouts as contact with barbells, handles, and other hard objects can cause scratches.
- Avoid Storage in Direct Sunlight: Light and heat can damage many types of gemstones. Amethyst and topaz are easily faded or damaged by a lot of unlight, while opal can darken with exposure. Pearl can peel and bleach, so it’s best to store sensitive jewelry in a dark place.
- Remove During Bathing/Swimming: The soap you use in a bath and chlorine used to sanitize a pool can affect the color and shine of a gemstone. The film these can leave behind is not pretty.
Bring It to a Professional
At Jeweler’s Touch, we specialize in helping you find diamond engagement rings and other jewelry. We also provide custom design services, jewelry repair, and complimentary cleanings and inspections. To learn more, contact us at 714-579-1616.