How to Clean Gemstones at Home
Everyone wants to make sure their jewelry always looks flawless and lustrous. However, cleaning your fine jewelry pieces can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before. Many professional jewelers provide cleaning services for a small fee. However, cleaning your jewelry is simple enough that you can do it at home. The good news is that most gemstones don’t require any special care or tools. All you need is warm soapy water and a soft brush, and you can make your favorite pieces look good as new.
Why you should regularly clean your gemstones
Regularly cleaning your jewelry is essential to maintaining its brilliant appearance so that it’s always ready when you want to wear it. It’s best to clean your jewelry regularly to avoid buildup on the metal and gemstones that can make the piece look dull or unsightly.
Regularly cleaning your collection can even extend the life of your jewelry. Moisture or oil can cause pieces to tarnish or spot, making cleaning more time-consuming and challenging to clean.
The good news is that cleaning your jewelry is simple and something you can do right at home. You don’t have to bring your pieces to a jeweler for professional cleaning (although you should have your jewelry regularly inspected, which can be an excellent opportunity for a professional cleaning with your jeweler.) You probably have everything you need to give your jewelry and gemstone collection a professional-grade cleaning right in your bathroom or kitchen cabinets.
What to do before you clean gemstones
Before cleaning gemstone jewelry, you want to make sure to have a preliminary appointment with a professional jeweler to have each piece inspected for defects and repairs, so you know what elements might need a little more care. While most jewelry is made strong enough to hold up to cleaning, some pieces may have delicate settings or unique attributes that can impact cleaning methods.
For example, some old gems like emeralds may have cracks that jewelers repaired with a particular type of oil. This repair medium is usually transparent, so you might not see it with a casual inspection. Colored gems like topaz, aquamarine, or amethyst can make it even harder to see these repairs. Gemstones repaired with oil should only be cleaned by hand, as an ultrasonic cleaner can unseat these fillers, damaging the gem and making it look worse.
Your jeweler can give you guidance on the best way to clean each of your unique jewelry pieces so that you can get the best possible results from your efforts. They may even have a cleaning solution that they trust, so you can get a perfect finish without the guesswork or research needed when it comes to home remedies.
The basics of jewelry care
Most jewelry cleanings include the same basic ingredients. You should start with warm, soapy water and a mild detergent, like dish soap. You can begin the process by soaking your jewelry in a mixture of warm water and detergent for 10 minutes or so before using a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the gemstone and precious metal.
When using a toothbrush to clean your jewelry, you want to make sure to use either a soft or extra soft toothbrush. While the bristles won’t impact the durability of a gemstone, many precious metals are very soft and can be scratched by bristles that are too hard.
After scrubbing your jewelry, dip it in the cleaning solution once more to rinse away any suds and give your piece a close final inspection. If you see any grime trapped in hard-to-reach crevices, you can scrub it again with the toothbrush to try and lift away the dirt. Finally, rinse under warm, clean water, and dry with a soft cloth. You want to ensure this lint-free cloth is clean and dry, so there isn’t any dirt or grit that could cause scratches on your jewelry. You can air-dry some precious metals, like gold, which won't oxidize when exposed to moisture.
Baking soda is another excellent option for cleaning gemstones as it can help lift away dirt. While a baking soda solution won’t harm jewelry, you want to make sure that you’re not scrubbing with a soda paste. A gritty soda paste can scratch soft metals and alloys, just like a stiff-bristled brush. Baking soda and aluminum foil are an excellent option for cleaning tarnished silver jewelry. The reaction between the aluminum foil and soda can gently lift away the corrosion on the surface of the silver.
Finally, to keep your clean jewelry looking fantastic, make sure to store it in a lined jewelry box. The soft fabric inside the box will keep your fine jewelry safe while also giving it a great display. If at any time in the cleaning process you notice a setting or gemstone is loose, make sure to call a professional jeweler to have the piece repaired as soon as possible.
Next time you wear your jewelry, you can keep it looking great by waiting to put on your pieces until you finish your beauty routine. Everyday hygiene products like lotion, soaps, hair spray, and perfume can collect on diamond jewelry and leave a residue that can make the piece look dull. If you have a piece you wear every day, like an engagement ring, you can wash it with a mild soap while you wash your hands to bring back most of its shine. Make sure to dry it with a polishing cloth before wearing it again, and clean it routinely to keep the piece in great shape.
For great-looking jewelry that always looks amazing, make sure to check out the collection at Alexis Jae. Our jewelers can direct you to original, hand-crafted pieces that look good and are easy to clean. If you have any questions about caring for your purchase, our professional jewelers are happy to help. Whether it’s about organic gems or gold jewelry, they’re knowledgeable on the best jewelry care methods. Check out our collections today.