How to Clean and Care for your Jewelery

Arik Kastan Sapphire and Emerald Peacock Ring
Arik Kastan Sapphire and Emerald Peacock Ring

Yevgeniya B asked me what are the best ways to clean and care for silver and gemstone jewelry.
Cleaning most jewelry is a really simple, and easy process. Gemstone Jewelry (other than pearls) should ideally be cleaned once a week, to maintain it’s sparkle and prevent gunky buildup. If you can’t do that aim for once a month. You cannot imagine the amount of gunk and filth I would have to clean off of people’s jewelry when I was appraising. You also will be pleasantly surprised at the sparkle that returns when you use just a little elbow grease.

Pearl Care- Pearls being an organic gem, are incredibly delicate and need to be handled with care. Pearls should not be washed with water or any substance for that matter. If your pearls are dirty, use a soft lint free cloth like a silver chamois, to gently buff them. Never use abrasive cleansers or toothpaste on your pearls. Pearls should be stored in soft silk or velvet lined bags or jewelry cases to prevent scratches. Never put on perfume or hairspray while wearing your pearls. Always apply both before and wait a minute or two so it’s absorbed into the skin or hair before putting on your pearls. Perfumes and hairsprays can yellow your pearls and make them brittle shortening their lifespan.

Diamond Care- Please don’t wash your diamond ring with toothpaste. It will just cake on it and make it look dirtier. I don’t know who started the rumor that toothpaste cleans diamonds but that person should be shot. Diamonds love grease, in fact thats how diamonds are separated from other rocks during diamond processing, by coating them all in grease. Because of this it’s important to clean your diamonds often to keep them sparkling. You may have heard of steam and ultrasonic machines, but I suggest leaving those to the professionals. They’re not good for every stone and setting. The best way to clean your diamond is mild liquid soap, warm water, a soft toothbrush, and a soft lint free cloth. Lather up the toothbrush, scrub gently all of the diamond’s surfaces, rinse in warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth. I recommend cleaning your diamond jewelry once a week, This will prevent buildup and keep it shiny. Store your diamond jewelry separately from other jewelry as diamonds can scratch other gemstones.

Gemstone Care- There are many different types of gemstones on the market and it is safe to use some methods to clean some and not safe to use others. The one method that’s safe for all gemstones EXCEPT pearls is soap, water and a soft cloth. I recommend using that on all your jewelry to keep it sparkling. Try to clean all your jewelry once a month, this will prevent the buildup of dirt that will dull the beauty of your jewels. If you wear certain things everyday try to clean them once a week. To get into hard to reach crevices q-tips are great!

Silver and Gold- Silver and gold can be cleaned with water, soap and a toothbrush, but can also be cleaned by softly buffing it with a silver polishing cloth. Another trick for silver, use your fingers. If you see a darkening known as oxidation, use your fingers to rub it away. The oils in our skin are very effective at removing this oxidation.

Store your jewelry in soft velvet or silk lined cases with everything in it’s own compartment to keep from any one piece being damaged.

If you take proper care of your jewelry, it will be something you will be able to pass on for many generations and enjoy for a lifetime.