Ultimate Guide to Clean and Care Jewelry Like a Professional

The jewelry, as one piece of artwork, has been delighting people for thousands of years. These small fashion accessories are a great compliment to our dressing style on many occasions. However, prolonged wearing and non-observance of measures to care for valuable jewelry leads to a plaque on them and getting darken slowly. Whether your pieces of jewelry cost a fortune or was a real bargain, you’ll definitely want to keep it shining for as long as possible, right? Especially if you have a classic design and never go out of style.

how to clean jewelry like a pro

Learn About Your Jewelry Pieces Before Cleaning

Jewelry is available in a wide array of materials, shapes, and sizes. Before attempting to clean any of your jewelry, it is essential that you know what materials were used to create your treasures.

For example, there are very different procedures for cleaning diamond or zirconium rings, as well as pearl jewelry. Certain types of costume jewelry should never be submerged in water, while special mild lacquers can restore the shine to sterling silver necklaces.

Your priority is to examine your jewelry to determine its materials. That way,  you won’t ruin your treasure during cleaning. In most cases, you will find a stamp on the back or the inside of a piece that can tell you the metal content.

You should also take note of the gems or any other materials when purchasing new pieces. This way, you can easily refer to the best methods for cleaning up your items.

In this article, we have broken down some tips for you to properly clean your jewelry, get rid of the dark spots, and restore the shine, all by using some very simple procedures. We also share the best tips to take care of your jewelry like a professional. Jewelry made of gold, silver, or pearls becomes more opaque after several months of use. There are methods you can use at home to remove the obvious dirt and restore the shine to your jewelry. In some cases, it is necessary to seek out a professional cleaner, but with this guide, you can learn to take care of your gold, silver, and precious stone jewelry.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry?

Gold jewelry always comes with great value, so owners should clean and care for it with great caution. Here are some useful tips to help you.

Use a Solution of Soap and Water

Gold jewelry is usually best cleaned with a simple solution of soap and water. You’ll need a bowl filled with warm water and some dishwashing liquid. Place your gold jewelry in the bowl for 15 minutes, then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently wipe off the dirt. Dry your jewelry with a soft cloth to restore its shine.

You can also clean gold with powder and ammonia. Dilute a tablespoon of washing powder and ammonia in a glass of hot water. Leave the product in this solution for 1-2 hours.

Ultrasonic and Steam Jet Cleaners for Jewelry

You can use ultrasonic and steam cleaners to clean gold jewelry if it is not suited for the soap and water cleaning treatment. The jewelry is placed in a water tank or basket in the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. In just a few minutes, the ultrasonic cleaning machine uses its cavitation power to get rid of grime and dirt on the surface and in deep grooves. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are available in pharmacy and household supply stores. If you’d rather not buy a machine, you can take your jewelry to a jeweler and ask if it should be treated with steam or ultrasonic cleaning.

Polish Your Gold

Gold jewelry that is tarnished and old will not respond to ultrasonic or steam cleaning. You should take it to a jeweler for a professional polish. This process is done in stages with a slightly abrasive paper that is used to rub the surface of the jewelry. Polished gold should look just as good as new.

Don’t attempt to polish your gold jewelry if you have no expert knowledge or the required equipment. Jewelers work with special papers that are specially made to polish gold. Using any other paper can damage the jewelry. When the jewelry is polished, the surface layer of gold will be removed and gold will be worth a little less.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry?

Use Salt and Aluminum Foil

The stains that accumulate in silver jewelry are usually removed with a solution of salt, water and aluminum foil. The salt and aluminum foil act as a magnet, keeping dirt out of silver. Line the bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Add a tablespoon of salt and stir until it dissolves. Place your silver jewelry in the bowl and let it rest for a few minutes. Remove the jewelry from the bowl and dry it with a dry cloth.

Use Toothpaste

The toothpaste you use for teeth cleaning contains ingredients that can be used to clean silver jewelry. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to your silver jewelry and use a soft cloth to rub it. Rinse and dry the jewelry with a dry cloth. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any stubborn stains.

You should avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush or any other brush on the silver, as you could accidentally damage the surface.

Use a Silver Cleaner

Silver cleaners come in paste or liquid forms. They are an effective cleaning agent, but they contain harsh chemicals, and should only be used if the other methods don’t work. Use gloves to protect your hands from the silver cleaner, and do not use this method for jewelry that contains pearls or gemstones.

Using a silver paste cleaner, apply a small amount to your jewelry and use a soft cloth to rub it in a straight line (it can be too abrasive if you rub in circular motions). When you are done, rinse and dry the jewelry with a soft cloth.

To use a liquid silver cleaner, pour a small amount of the solution into a bowl, and place your jewelry in the solution. Let it soak for the recommended time on the package, which should be no more than 1-2 minutes.

Remove and rinse the jewelry, and dry it with a soft cloth.

How to Clean Jewelry with Gemstones?

Clean Diamonds with Soap and Water

Mix water with a few drops of mild detergent in a bowl. Place the diamond jewelry in the bowl and leave it there for 5 minutes. Remove the jewelry and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently rub the diamond grooves until it is clean. Sapphires and rubies can also be cleaned with this method.

Brighten the surface of the gems with a soft, lint-free cloth if you need a quick shine.

Clean the Pearls with Baby Soap

Using a neutral-pH soap, such as baby soap, is gentle on pearls than dish soap and other soaps. Make sure the pearls are secure in their base, and gently rub them with a soft cloth wet with a solution of baby’s soap and water.

Take Your Valuable Treasures to be Cleaned Professionally

Gemstones such as opal, lapis, and many others have soft, porous surfaces that are easily damaged by soap and homemade cleaning techniques.
Take your precious jewelry to the jeweler to have it cleaned with professional techniques.

Stones require special care, but this does not mean that the owners of such jewelry should always contact professionals. At home, surprising products can also be cleaners; you just need to remember their details:

Sapphires, aquamarines, and rubies are characterized by increased density, therefore, in their case, it is best to clean them with warm water and with washing powder or hair shampoo.

Tip: Topazes, garnets, and rubies placed under the influence of high temperatures can change their original color, so you can only clean them with slightly warm or cold water.

Caring for zirconium, diamonds, and cubic zirconia is not difficult at all. They respond well to treatment with ammonia or a detergent-based solution. Strong and dense diamonds are best when rubbed with soft brushes.

Turquoise, pearls, and coral react negatively to chemicals. The most that you can do is to wipe them with flannel.

Experts categorically prohibit wetting products on which stones are glued to the surface. They are difficult to clean, even mechanically. It is better not to do this at home and to trust professionals.

Best Tips for the Care and Storage of Jewelry

Apart from cleaning, jewelry care is also key for extending your jewelry’s lifespan. Storing your jewelry does require specific knowledge, otherwise, your valuable pieces might be damaged quickly. Here, we share some useful tips to help you avoid any mistakes you might make in jewelry care and storage.

Jewelry Storage

It is worth keeping the jewelry in a box upholstered with a soft cloth. Products should not be in constant contact with each other while in the box. It is therefore worthwhile to use a multi-compartment box, or put jewelry in soft cloth bags before placing it in the box.

Semi-precious stones can deteriorate from constant contact with direct sunlight. That is why the use of a box is a requirement for them.

Some stones can also deteriorate from heat or extreme temperature changes. Therefore, the box should be placed away from heat sources.

Professional Care

Your jewelry should be taken for a professional cleaning about once a year.

The cleaning process includes polishing with a special cleaning agent and placing the jewelry in an ultrasonic bath (but only for the types of stones for which this is suitable).

The jeweler can also prevent stones from falling out of the jewelry and fasten the clasps.

You can talk to the jeweler about cleaning and maintaining your jewelry, and get recommendations for stone cleaning products.

What Jewelry is Afraid of

Temperature. When heated, the stones attract dust and fat, after which they can no longer shine as brightly as before.

Mechanical impact. Due to the mechanical impact on the stones and metal, micro-cracks appear. They can be invisible to the naked eye, but products can lose their original shine and fade.

Cosmetics. The components that makeup cosmetics can react with and adversely affect metals. Due to this, spots may appear on the jewelry. Apply various creams and lotions immediately after removing the jewelry.

Other General Rules of Care

It is always necessary to remove the jewelry at night and during housework, exercise, and showering.

It is also worth protecting products from perfume, as it can stain the metal.

Buy a special napkin made of soft material (e.g., microfiber) for jewelry and wipe it daily after you remove the jewelry.

Pearls, as a very delicate organic stone, should be kept away from all other jewelry, wrapped in a soft cloth. If the pearls are not worn for a long time, they can also tarnish. Hence, it is recommended to wear them periodically.

Final Notes

Jewelry made of gold and silver with stones does not lose its appearance easily. However, they still need special care and periodic cleaning, so as to please the eyes of their owners for as long as possible.

For cleaning gold and silver jewelry, you should usually use improvised means such as soda, ammonia, soap, and other cleaning agents, as well as hydrogen peroxide. Solutions and mixtures of these substances are used in different proportions and concentrations, depending on the material and the complexity of the contamination. Such cleaning is also suitable for marcasite jewelry in silver.

In terms of gemstone jewelry, they are roughly divided into three types: solid gems, fragile semi-precious stones, and organic stones. Each stone requires special care. For each type of gemstone, a professional jeweler always recommends the specific cleaning methods and cares for them exclusively.

Jewelry must also be protected from exposure to chemicals, prolonged exposure to water, technical damage, extreme heat and temperature, and cosmetics. Jewelry should be stored in a special box with a soft coating.

At night, the jewelry should be removed and wiped with a soft cloth.

About once a year, the jewelry should be taken to a jewelry workshop for professional cleaning. You can also purchase specialty jewelry cleaning products.

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