News

How to Clean Jewelry at Home

Originally written on May 18th, 2020

Updated April 17th, 2020

 

Since I started working for Moijey Fine Jewelry & Diamonds, I have the good fortune of writing about gemstones and their remarkable qualities and origin stories. 

Daniel Moijueh and I can also talk about different aspects of gemstones. For example, how mining for aquamarine begins and the history of diamond cutting, both of which are quite fascinating.

What most people don't think about is how to maintain their jewelry's luster and sparkle. Sometimes, when my career as a gemologist comes up in conversation, people would describe their jewelry to me and ask what I recommend on how to clean their jewelry.

Via Moijey.com

One moment I recall was about an inherited string of pearls. For the pearls and jewelry in general, I recommend the following methods, which are safe for all kinds of jewelry and easy to do at home:

  1. But if your jewelry needs a more thorough cleaning, I suggest the following:
  2. Use warm soapy water, preferably blue Dawn dish soap.
  3. Use a soft toothbrush, like the kind you usually get from the dentist.
  4. Place a towel in the sink for insurance. If heaven forbid, a gem pops out of your jewelry while you're cleaning it, then the gem won't go down the drain, and it won't get damaged.
  5. Gently scrub your jewelry until the jewelry sparkles.
  6. For a strand of pearls, lay them out to dry on a towel. If you wear them while they're wet, the string will stretch out, and it might break, causing beautiful pearls will spill all over the place. Nobody wants that to happen! To prevent this, have your pearls restrung once a year and let the string dry after you wash your pearls.
  7. Dry your jewelry gently with a soft lint-free cloth.
  8. For daily maintenance, you can wipe your jewelry with a soft clean cloth.
  9. Don't use paper towels because they will scratch gold, silver, and platinum. The scratches are subtle, but they're there!
  10. If the jewelry does get heavily scratched, we can have it professionally polished for you.
  11. Speaking of silver, do not, I repeat, DO NOT use toothpaste on silver. The abrasive properties of toothpaste will scratch the metal and cause it to tarnish quicker. You can use either the cleaning steps I recommend, or you can purchase special silver cleaning cloths and cleaning solutions. You can store silver jewelry in tarnish-resistant fabrics or bags. But having a polishing cloth on hand makes life easier.

  1. A commercial jewelry cleaning solution is acceptable. You have to read the label first so the chemicals won't ruin your jewelry in the solution.
  2. If you're going to go swimming or any other delightful aquatic activity, please store your jewelry in a safe place. The chemicals in swimming pools can discolor gold and sterling silver. The precious metals themselves are fine; it's the alloying copper in sterling silver and the nickel and copper combination in gold that get discolored.
  3. When you have to clean the house, remove your jewelry, and keep it in a safe place. Some of your cleaning products might contain chlorine, bleach, and like a swimming pool can discolor your jewelry.
  4. It's not just chemicals you need to watch out for with your jewelry; you also need to proceed with caution with lotions, perfumes, and sprays because they can cause damage to your gemstones like pearls, for example.

There are two other cleaning methods, but they should be done professionally: ultrasonic cleaning and steam cleaning.

Ultrasonic cleaning is when the jewelry is in a vat of heated chemicals - it's nicer than it sounds - and the machine vibrates for a limited amount of time. It's convenient, but it can be dangerous for organic gemstones like pearls and amber. We don't recommend ultrasonic cleaning for gems that have been fracture-filled like emeralds or went through heat treatments like sapphires. It is also not suitable for jewelry that has loose settings. We can all agree nobody wants to lose a diamond from their engagement ring

Steam cleaning is when your jewelry is exposed to a jet of steam to remove the dirt from your jewelry, like an engagement ring to bring out that reputable fire. This cleaning also has to be treated with caution on account of the loose settings I mentioned earlier. If a piece of jewelry comes in with an improper setting comes in contact with a steam jet, the jewel in the ring will fly out and probably break when it lands on the floor.

I hope this list will help your jewelry cleaning needs. If you have any questions about anything related to gemstones and jewelry, give us a call at 202-425-3716 or get in touch with us on the Contact Page on our site. We look forward to hearing from you.