If you want your fine jewelry to shimmer like the day you first got it, proper cleaning and care is going to be a must. There are cases where having your jewelry professionally cleaned is probably the best option. But if you make proper care a habit you should be able to do most cleaning at home using either a cleaning solvent made with household products or a store bought pre-made solution.
While fine jewelry is usually quite durable, there are a few things to consider before deciding on a cleaning approach. Always be sure to keep the materials in the piece you want to clean in mind.
Plain gold pieces that do not include gemstones, like necklaces, can often be washed simply with soap and water. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Soak the gold piece for 20 minutes and use a clean cotton cloth to dry the piece afterward, allowing it to air dry as needed afterward. This cleaning method will get rid of oils naturally produced by the skin and cosmetic products.
Dingy gold pieces with a more stubborn coating of grime can be cleaned by soaking them in isopropyl alcohol for several hours. A solution containing one part household ammonia to two parts water can also be used to improve a piece gold jewelry’s luster. Do not use any chlorine-base solvent as chlorine can dissolve gold. Be sure to rinse and dry pieces containing gemstones thoroughly afterward. This prevents water from being trapped in the setting ,which can cause rust to form and the stone to loosen or fall out all together.
With gold rings containing gemstones or fine engravings there may be spaces with trapped dirt that are hard to reach. A soft-bristled toothbrush can
be used to address these areas. Be sure not to use any abrasive material, like steel wool, that can scratch the gold. Finishing up by polishing the piece with a microfiber chamois can add a bit more shine.
Silver is more susceptible to tarnish than gold. It also is a soft metal making it more prone to scratching. Avoid wearing your silver jewelry when working with hard, sharp objects like jagged stone. Maintaining sliver on a daily basis also means avoiding chlorine, like that found in pools. Like gold, chlorine reacts with silver, causing the metal to take on a greenish discoloration and making it extremely difficult to clean.
Silver can be cleaned in much the same way as gold, but high concentrations of ammonia can be quite damaging. When mixing up a cleaning solvent for silver be sure to use the right concentrations of each ingredient. One teaspoon of household ammonia mixed with two teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap and ¼ cup of water should suffice.
If tarnish is particularly stubborn and difficult to remove you can soak the piece for 30 minutes. Proceed to rinse the piece immediately after soaking is completed before you begin buffing, scrubbing or rubbing to remove the tarnish. After soaking, the tarnish should be removed with minimal effort.
Diamonds are the hardest most durable gemstone but that doesn’t mean careless handling can’t leave its mark. Diamond jewelry should be removed when using cleaning solvents strong enough to weaken the setting or actually scratch precious metal. Diamonds can scratch other diamonds so don’t store two diamond pieces too closely together.
With their carbon content, diamonds naturally attract grease from dishwater, cosmetics, lotions and even natural oils produced by the skin. A good way to minimize grease build up is to remove your diamond jewelry when using such products and avoiding touching the diamond itself.
Diamond jewelry often includes other gemstones, making it important to consider the weakest stone in the piece when choosing a cleaning process. When your diamond needs to be cleaned simply soak the jewelry in warm sudsy water with a mild detergent. After you’ve soaked the jewelry use a soft-bristled non- metallic brush to gently scrub away built up grease and grime.
If the more mild detergent doesn’t do the trick you can use an ammonia base solvent. The ratio depends on the precious metal the stone is set in. After done with the soaking process, rinse diamond jewelry in running, clean water and dry with a lint free cloth so dust particles don’t become lodged in the setting. Clean your diamond jewelry frequently. This will make each cleaning easier and prevent you from needing to use stronger, potentially damaging solvent to remove years of dirt, grease and grime.
Trisha Fern loves jewelry, fashion and trends and loves to blog about them.