How Do I Clean and Care For My Jewelry?

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Cleaning your jewelry can be easy to forget…and then when you DO get around to it, you’re usually in a hurry, getting ready to go out somewhere and you just want to get it done quick.

Stop, breathe and take time to take proper care of your jewelry.  Jewelry is meant to last a lifetime and it really just takes a little time and effort to get the optimal bling out of your bling.  Additionally, you never know which pieces may become family heirlooms for generations to come!

Note:  In addition to your own cleaning, it’s best to bring your jewelry to a professional for cleaning and checkup once per year.  A professional can look for things like loose prongs and worn mountings.

  1. Clean your jewelry a lot.  Baby your jewelry.  The oils from your skin can dull the look of gold and platinum as well as take the shine and luster away from your gemstones.  Add that the lotions, soaps, perfumes and colognes you use and…well…clean your jewelry frequently.
  2. If you wear pearls, never clean them with solvents/chemicals.
  3. Never clean with anything that could potentially scrape or damage your jewelry, even when removing particles of dirt or dust.  Use a very soft brush for cleaning.
  4. Speaking of a very soft brush, that’s all you need – well, along with warm water and mild detergent – for keeping your diamond jewelry super sparkly!
  5. Don’t clean your jewelry in a place or on a surface where baddddd things can happen, like a sink for instance.  We know it, you know it, but when we’re in a pinch or in a hurry we will take chances we probably shouldn’t.  If you must clean your jewelry by a sink, at least make sure you have a drain hole cover so nothing precious falls into the abyss:)
  6. Be careful with colored gemstones and consult your jeweler if you’re unsure of how to clean them, as some are sensitive to chemicals and solvents.  Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, which are available from hundreds of dollars to around $30, are probably not the best solution for colored gemstones.  Some of them are very sensitive to ultrasonic waves, resulting in enlarged flaws and actual cracks or breaks along inclusions.   Among other stones, pearls, emerald, tanzanite, some diamonds, amber, opal and turquoise should not be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner.
  7. Speaking of colored gemstones…sudden temperature changes can severely damage some of them.  For instance, opals have been known to shatter or “explode” when exposed to temperature changes such as wearing it outside in the cold and then walking inside where it’s considerably warmer…or vice versa.  If you’re not sure of the fragility of your colored gemstones, consult with your trusted jeweler.
  8. To clean your September birthstone, sapphire, take warm soapy water and dip a cotton ball in it and gently rub your sapphire jewelry with it.  Rinse and let dry.  For added shine, you can wipe with a real leather chamois.
  9. Always apply hairspray, perfumes, and cosmetics BEFORE you put your jewelry on.  Conversely, when the day’s festivities are over and you’re getting undressed, take a moment to wipe each piece of jewelry with a clean, soft cloth to remove oils and perspiration.  It makes a big difference.
  10. Never wear your jewelry when you’re getting all hot and sweaty working outside, while you’re exercising or even while you’re cleaning house.  Household cleaners can cause damage to jewelry.  While we’re harping on jewelry in your daily life, don’t wear your jewelry in hot tubs or swimming pools, as the temperature and the chlorine can both cause damage.

If you have jewelry pieces that are badly soiled with dust, dirt, etc., it’s best to bring them to a professional.