How to Clean Jewelry
Fine jewelry is not impervious to grime. As you wear your jewelry, you may notice dirt around stone settings or tarnishing on silver plating. Care for your jewelry and keep it looking beautiful through the years with a regular cleaning process. You can also use cleaning to restore vintage pieces you inherited or purchased.
How to Clean Jewelry by Type
Cleaning is an essential step in jewelry care. You always have the option to take your pieces to a jeweler for cleaning, but you may find some pieces need more frequent cleaning, given how often you wear them. In these cases, regular cleaning at home helps you maintain the beauty of your jewelry.
You may be familiar with how to clean silver jewelry if you have ever owned silver dinnerware. Silver tarnishes quickly because the metal reacts with chemicals in the air, like sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. The reaction leaves yellowish, purple, and black tinges on silver surfaces that dull the metal.
The best way to clean silver jewelry is with silver polish. This purpose-built cleaner contains ingredients that dissolve the tarnish on the surface and add a protective coating to the metal. Use a polishing cloth or disposable wipe to rub the polish on the surface of your piece. Use a second, clean cloth to wipe it clean.
Gold does not tarnish like silver and likely will not require as much upkeep to maintain its brightness. Often, warm water and a soft cleaning cloth can work wonders. If water alone does not remove spots on your gold jewelry, you can use a mixture of dish soap and water. Ammonia glass cleaner also works well on gold.
Diamond and other hard gemstones, like ruby and topaz, can tolerate standard jewelry cleaners. You may encounter diamond-specific cleaners, but any jewelry cleaner will work well. Apply a small amount of cleaner to your stone and scrub lightly with a toothbrush. A toothbrush is an ideal cleaning tool because it can help you reach any dirt that has collected in a stone’s setting.
Soft gemstones — pearls in particular — require a gentle touch and special care when cleaning. Pearls have porous surfaces that collect dirt and dust, dulling their luster over time. Even so, water that is too hot can damage these stones. The best at-home method for pearl cleaning is mixing warm water with a mild shampoo and gently brushing it on the stone’s surface with a soft brush. Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
Given the delicate nature of these stones, it can be beneficial to take them to a professional jeweler for cleaning.
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