1. Before you start cleaning jewelry always do a quick visual check to see if
there are any loose or damaged gemstones; cracked or broken metal; bent
or warped prongs/tips; discolored or pitting metal. You wouldnâ€™t want to
cause any further damage.
2. Jewelry should be removed before showering or cleaning. A film can form
if the soap is not washed off completely. This film will then become a
magnet for dirt, dust and other contaminants.
3. Use a nub free, 100% cotton cloth and gently wipe the piece clean using
only the soft pads of your fingers.
4. You can also purchase jeweler’s cloths from jewelry stores. Be sure to use
fresh cloths since the dirt and grit left on the cloth from a previous use will
now leave scrapes and pits in the piece you are trying to clean and polish
5. Commercial cleaners can be purchased at jewelry stores. Always
remember to read the instructions on the commercial cleaners first before
you attempt cleaning.
6. Never clean your jewelry in bleach! Doing this will literally breakdown
your jewelry. Bleach as an oxidizing agent that will react to the metal,
causing it to become very brittle. Similarly, avoid swimming pools and
bathing in hot tubs as chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria
7. Besides chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and
ammonia are harmful too. These chemicals can dull or even pit the surface
on softer gemstones.
8. For best results, polish silver or gold with a jewelry polishing cloth. Use of
tissue or paper towels can cause scratches because of the fibers in these
9. An old toothbrush is very handy. Make sure that you use an old, soft
bristle brush. Lightly brush at hard to reach areas while frequently
applying cleaning solution.
10. Never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean metal or stones. Some
websites recommend toothpaste as a cleaner, but this is not an accepted
practice by fine jewelers. The abrasives in toothpaste can damage the
surface of the metal. Toothpaste will also abrade the surface on amber,
lapis, turquoise and other soft stones.
11. An ultrasonic vibrating cleaner may be appropriate for some jewelry, but
always read the instructions first. Ultrasonic vibrating machines can loosen
or damage precious gemstones while cleaning the jewelry. And the
chemicals are not recommended for pearls and many other fine stones.
Also never ultrasonic different metals at the same time, silver can tarnish
gold if cleaned together.
12. Be careful when cleaning costume or vermeil jewelry, as it’s very sensitive
to any cleaning solutions. Costume or vermeil jewelry is a base metal with
another layer of more precious metal (e.g. Gold) plated over or absorbed
into it. This layer is not made for abrasive cleaning.
13. Always use warm not HOT water. Cleaning agents can be absorbed and
react to very hot water causing jewelry to discolor. Sterling silver is
especially sensitive to hot water and can discolor in a heartbeat.
14. Be very careful when using any soaking method to clean jewelry that has
soft stones such as amber, lapis lazuli, or turquoise. Extended soaking in
any solution may harm the polish on the stone and cause it to discolor.
This list is not all inclusive and only provides
warnings for some of the most common mistakes in cleaning jewelry.