You probably wear your wedding set daily, and may have some favorite pieces that get worn often. If you wear jewelry regularly, keeping your jewelry clean and looking good requires just a little effort. The payoff is jewelry that sparkles like the day you got it. Here are some general guidelines to make your jewelry cleaning easy and help keep your jewelry looking good:
Jewelry Polishing Cloths
For best results polish silver or gold with a jewelry polishing cloth. You can also use a soft cotton cloth (make it 100% organic cotton if you’re eco-friendly) but we find the professional cloths are the best. Surprisingly, tissues or paper towels can leave micro-scratches because of the fibers.
Jewelry Cleaning from Start to Finish
Here you have a couple of choices when it comes to jewelry cleaning – obviously you can buy a prepared solution, we have jars of the stuff that we can hook you up with. But if you’re a DIY’er you can make a cleaning solution using tepid to warm water, a splash of ammonia, and one or two drops of mild Dawn dish detergent. That will work as good as anything you can buy for the harder, non-porous stones, but please note it’s not intended for every piece. We’ll list some exceptions later on.
First, gently lower your piece into the cleaning solution using a pair of gold and diamond encrusted tweezers. Of course regular tweezers or even a bent wire would work equally well; we just think that gold and diamond tweezers would be a really cool touch.
Let the piece soak a bit, and then fish it out and GENTLY clean around the stones and in the crevices of your setting using an ultra-soft bristle toothbrush. Harder brushes can scratch soft metals such as gold. Needless to say, you don’t want to use the one you use every day on your teeth. Go crazy and buy a new one dedicated for the purpose; the smaller kid’s toothbrushes work especially well.
Finally rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to hold a soapy, slippery piece of jewelry under a running tap and over an open drain. You know no good is going to come from that. Use another container filled with fresh clean water to rinse your piece thoroughly, and then pat it dry with a soft cloth.
OK, here’s the caveat. Soft or porous stones such as pearl, opal, turquoise, amber, coral and onyx should NEVER be soaked, not even in plain water. Emerald can present a special problem because inclusions, a feature inherent in many emeralds, are often filled with an oil compound to hide the flaws. Water and detergent can remove it, leaving your emerald looking worse than when you started. For these pieces, and your tarnish susceptible silver use a soft, lint free cloth, gently wipe them clean, and leave it at that.
Home Ultra-Sonic Cleaners – Do They Give You Good Vibrations?
One day you saw your jeweler pull your amazingly sparkly jewelry out of an ultra-sonic cleaner, and you thought “I need one of those at home”. You can buy a pretty good one for 150 bucks or so, and in theory we don’t have a problem with it. Just don’t get carried away – the sonic waves can actually loosen stones, especially pavé or micro-set stones. There’s also a chance that stones that are set girdle to girdle (side by side) in a channel setting can wear on each other. For these and other delicate pieces, allow just a few minutes, and then rinse and dry.
Some important exceptions apply here as well. You don’t want to ever put the following into an ultra-sonic machine:
- Gems that have been coated with a non-permanent substance such as metal film (mystic topaz), plastic or wax
- Some heat-treated gemstones
- Gems that are susceptible to heat and temperature changes such as kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, opal, topaz, turquoise, zircon, tanzanite, feldspar (sunstone and moonstone), fluorite, iolite, and a few others.
Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about jewelry cleaning, we would hate to see inadvertently destroy a family heirloom. Better still, bring your pieces in and we’ll clean them for you while you wait, free of charge.