Since they were first introduced in 1950, ultrasonic jewelry cleaners (like most new innovations) started out as expensive professional equipment and then over time became more affordable for personal use in homes. In fact, by 1970 they were inexpensive enough to be appliances in some homes.
Today, you can buy an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner for as little as $30 or $40 for home use. Of course, you get what you pay for and the cost can range from the inexpensive models to those that cost in the hundreds and the professional models that can cost in the thousands. This method of jewelry cleaning is excellent, but you must know what you’re doing.
While we’re not making an actual list of pros and cons, this is a quick encapsulation of how ultrasonic cleaners work, what makes them good and why they’re not ideal for all jewelry.
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, in a nutshell, use ultrasound to remove dirt and residue from your jewelry. Cleaning solution is put into a tank and the jewelry items are then placed into the cleaning solution. The cleaner produces ultrasonic vibrations through the solution, which breaks down the particles that have accumulated on your jewelry.
The best attribute of these cleaners is their full scope of cleaning. They can reach all those parts of your rings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants and other items that are mostly unreachable when using other standard cleaning methods.
Ideally, all contamination embedded or adhering to the jewelry is removed and these cleaners can restore your jewelry to a like-new vibrance and quality.
These aren’t cons so much as factors you should be aware of when using an ultrasonic cleaner at home. First, you should never clean shell cameos, tortoise shell, coral, jet, amber or pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner. They are porous organic gems and can be damaged by the heat and/or the solution.
Opal is a very fragile gem that is susceptible to fracturing (“exploding”) when subjected to high heat and temperature changes and should never be cleaned ultrasonically. The same is true of other precious and semi-precious stones like zircon, sunstone, moonstone, turquoise, iolite, topaz and lapis lazuli.
Heat is often used to enhance color in some gemstones and these stones should never be cleaned ultrasonically.
While it is important to baby your jewelry at home, including careful ultrasonic cleaning, remember to bring your jewelry in once a year for a good professional spring cleaning. Hmmm…it’s almost spring. And we’ll clean your jewelry. Contact us here or call (301) 574-4400…or stop in and see us!