Education: Care of Jewelry

Cleaning Diamond Jewelry

Perfume, hair styling products, lotions and everyday grime all leave enough of a film on your diamond jewelry to keep it from looking its best. And if you wait too long between cleanings, those materials can accumulate into a thick layer of gunk on the back of your diamond, blocking light and making the diamond appear dull and lifeless. Diamonds are the hardest substance known, but that doesn’t mean we can bring them back to life with any old cleanser. Coatings and other materials used to enhance diamonds can sometimes be removed by harsh chemicals or vigorous scrubbing, so take care when it’s time to make your diamond jewelry sparkle.

Gentle & Effective Ways to Clean Diamond Jewelry

  1. Make a warm solution of mild liquid detergent and water in a bowl and soak your diamond jewelry in it. Common dishwashing liquid is a good choice, but any other mild detergent is fine.
  2. Keeping everything in a bowl provides a safe cleaning media just in case a stone in the jewelry becomes loose or falls off the setting.
  3. Use a soft brush if necessary to remove dirt. “Soft” is the key — don’t use a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to scratch the jewelry’s metal setting, then rinse it thoroughly in warm water.
  4. Dry the diamond jewelry with a lint-free cloth.

Only mild liquid dish soap or ammonia based cleaners are recommended for cleaning diamond, hard stones likes sapphire and ruby or gold and platinum metals. Chlorine bleach must be avoided as it will corrode the alloy metals commonly used in carat gold, silver and some platinum products.

Most jewelry stores provide after sales care for their merchandise. Jewelers typically use ultrasonic or steam cleaners for professional and detailed cleaning. They would also check the pieces for any wear and tear, detecting a potentially loose stone before it gets lost. Diamonds are the hardest mineral known to man, yet they are not indestructible. They can get abraded or chipped with wear. They also can cut through the metal mounting if they become loose in the setting. A good jeweler will detect these issues and offer solutions. Your jewelry should be inspected no less than ever six months by a qualified jeweler. After all, not only will you get your jewelry cleaned professionally but also get the peace of mind in knowing that the gems are secure in their setting.


Cleaning Jewelry with Multiple Types of Gemstones

The method you use to clean jewelry should protect its weakest element. If your jewelry includes other gems, use a cleaning method that is suitable for the less durable stones such as emerald, opal, turquoise and pearls.

Emerald is brittle, opal is pretty soft, turquoise is porous and pearl’s luster is very sensitive to chemicals. They need to be cleaned with care. Commercial cleaning solutions containing solvents would damage the resin treatments in emerald and the luster of pearls. Cleaning should be done with mild soapy water and soft brush. Considering almost all emeralds are oil or resin treated, both ultrasonic and steam cleaners may remove the fillers irreversibly. This would not only diminish the look but also may cause further damages in the stone. It is always best to get them cleaned professionally by your jeweler.