Jewelry Care & Cleaning

Keep Your Jewelry Sparkling

We all want our fine jewelry and gemstones to sparkle & shine! Fine jewelry can seem like magnets for grease and dirt — every time we handle our jewels, oils and dirt adhere to the surface of gems and metals and they lose a bit of their luster… Luckily, cleaning fine jewelry is easy and inexpensive – with proper care, you can keep your treasures sparkling for years to come.

Be Careful With Light & Heat

Just as excessive sun exposure can damage our skin, excessive light and heat can affect a colored gemstone’s durability and color. Some colored gemstones, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos can fade, while pearls and other delicate materials, such as ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light.

Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes may also fracture some gems. Heat can easily remove the natural moisture these gems need to keep their beauty. Pearls, for instance, can dry out, crack and discolor. Opals can turn white or brown, develop tiny cracks, and might lose their play-of-color.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolor precious metals – gold, silver and platinum – and may harm some colored gems. Even everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or certain cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems (like turquoise).

Fine jewelry should be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or before using household cleaners. Many of these cleaners contain ammonia, which can be too harsh for delicate gems or vintage jewelry. Chlorine bleach, another common household solvent, can pit or damage gold alloys.

Store Your Fine Jewelry Safely

Jewelry boxes that feature individually padded slots for rings and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets are ideal. Most jewelry pieces come in a box or pouch from the store, which is also a perfect place to keep them.

Sterling silver should be kept in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth. Pearls and opals draw moisture from the air, so storing your opal or pearl jewelry in a dry area, such as a safe deposit box, can sometimes do more harm than good.

When traveling, protect your jewelry pieces from scratches or other impact damage by padding each piece in a separate box or case.

Jewelry Cleaning

You will need a mild dish soap, a toothbrush, and a lint free cloth.

  • Create a solution of lukewarm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Let your jewelry soak, preferably for a few hours.
  • Remove the diamond from the solution, then use a soft, clean toothbrush to remove any remaining surface grime. 
  • Always be gentle when cleaning your jewelry. Fragile settings, such as those in antique jewelry, should be scrubbed extra carefully with the toothbrush. Clean hard-to-reach places like the back of the gemstone, which tends to collect the most oil and dirt.
  • Rinse your jewelry, then use the lint free cloth to dry it.

 

Never use harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry! Chemical solutions – such as bleach, toothpaste and household cleaners – should never be used to clean jewelry as they can damage the metal settings.

Beware Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners

Not all jewelry can be safely cleaned in an at-home ultrasonic cleaner. The vibration generated by the machine can sometimes shake gems loose or chip gems that are set with their girdles touching.

Ultrasonic cleaners should not be used to clean:

  • Gemstones with surface-reaching breaks that have been filled with a substance such as oil, resin or a glass-like material
  • Organic gem materials such as pearls, coral, ivory, or amber
  • Gems that have been coated with a non-permanent substance like plastic or wax
  • Some heat-treated gemstones
  • Gems that are susceptible to heat and temperature changes whether they are treated or not. Some of these gems include tanzanite, feldspar (sunstone and moonstone), fluoriteiolitekunzitelapis lazulimalachiteopaltopazturquoisezircon and others

 

Questions?

If you are not sure how to clean your special jewelry – rare gemstones, extremely delicate settings – just ask! We are always happy to help.