Jewelry Stone Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Jewelry cleaning is less straightforward than you think. Sure, they all look like pretty stones and lustrous metals, but the stones themselves are more complex than some people give them credit for. When it comes to cleaning, complications arise, and questions sprout from those problems. Questions like…

“Do I clean a diamond ring the same way as an emerald ring?” or “Is dish soap better for cleaning rubies than hand soap?”

These questions, and questions like them, are valid and have many different answers that spread across the internet. In this article, we will be narrowing down the best methods and solutions to cleaning your specific piece of jewelry, so you don’t have to search. If you stay tuned, you will not only learn ways to clean your jewelry efficiently with on hand products. However, for those of you wanting to spend some extra money we have you covered as well.

Protection is key

Before we get into the cleaning tips, the best way to keep your jewelry clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. There are so many things in this world that can damage, scratch, or tarnish your jewelry. Making sure to keep a watchful eye and a diligent mind out for your jewelry can be the most effective way to protect your jewelry.

Shelter them

While some parents shelter their children, jewelry is a different breed of child altogether. Invest in safety deposit boxes or high-quality travel boxes, to ensure that your jewelry does not collect unnecessary grime or damage. It's okay to keep your jewelry locked up while you are traveling in a foreign place or in a busy hotspot like an airport. There is no shame in having to take off a wedding ring if you are worried about losing it or damaging it.

Have you ever had a ring get scratched inside a jewelry box? If so, you were probably confused as to why this happened in the safety of the box. Well diamonds, being as strong and scratch resistant as they are, can actually scratch other softer gemstones and metals. This is another thing to consider when you travel and move around, you might have a lot of unwanted jostling that could damage your other pieces. Invest in an individual compartment and patted jewelry caring case, they will do wonders for keeping your jewelry clean and your mind at ease.

If you want a more in-depth understanding of how to protect your ring check out Dunkin’s Diamonds’ “Jewelry Care Tips and Tricks” article

How to wash your jewelry and rings.

The sheer number of different methods and opinions about cleaning jewelry can be daunting. Below we have compiled a list of what we think are the best and safest options for your particular piece. Read on to see how you can efficiently clean your jewelry, all in the comfort of your own home.

Cleaning Diamond Jewelry:

Diamonds are extremely resistant, when cleaning a diamond piece, you can rest assured that the diamond will most likely be fine. However, like all of the different stones and metals out there you should always do your research first, there is always a chance you can damage any jewelry. Luckily cleaning diamonds is super easy and quick. Diamonds can be cleaned by pouring boiling water and soap into a bowl and letting the ring sit for about 15-20 minutes. Next, because diamonds are such hard stones you can then use a very soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush off any grim or dirt. Due to their carbon nature Diamonds love to absorb grease, including the oils from your skin, so let's show you how to keep all of that unwanted grime away from your beautiful stone.

Note: The following tips also can apply to sapphires as well.

  • Stating the obvious: Oh, and please just because we recommend a soft toothbrush doesn't mean you should use your own toothbrush with toothpaste on it. This may be obvious to most people but for one, it's gross, and secondly, toothpaste can actually damage your diamond over time. Please don’t use toothpaste to clean your diamond or any chemical solution like bleach. Buy a separate soft-bristled toothbrush exclusively for cleaning your stones, write “NOT FOR TEETH” with a marker on the side of it if you must.
  • Clean your diamond often: If you wear your diamond jewelry regularly be sure that you clean it once or twice a week. The longer you wait the harder it is to clean.
  • Don’t wash your diamond ring over a sink: This also rule applies to all jewelry regardless of stone, metal, or accessory. You don’t want to accidentally drop your ring down the drain when you are cleaning it. Soap is slippery, don’t risk cleaning it over a drain, clean it over a bowl and away from any drains where it might slip and fall and possibly get lost forever.
  • Wives Tale - Try vodka. Instead of using soap, it is said you can gently scrub your diamond with vodka. The solutions shouldn't penetrate the diamond so it's a safe way to clean the diamond and restore its brilliance. *Careful though because alcohol can damage some of the surrounding metals*

Cleaning Sapphire Jewelry:

Right below the diamond, the hardest precious stone, is its pretty little sister sapphire. Sapphire sits at a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale making it one of the most durable and scratch-resistant jewelry stones out there. Its hardness also makes it super easy to clean.

To clean your sapphire, you can place it in warm water soapy water for about 15-20 minutes, give it a dish soap wash with a cloth, and then let it air dry. This method is simple and efficient and is very similar to the boiling water method used for diamonds. Though you may be tempted to use boiling water for sapphires as well, there is a little more risk involved in it so try to avoid 200+ temperatures if you can. After letting your sapphire soak you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush and some dish soap to clean off any gunk that might have been missed by the 25-minute soap soak.

Cleaning Ruby Jewelry:

With such a gorgeous hue, rubies can seem magical and entrancing, let's keep them that way by regularly and effectively cleaning them. As the fraternal twin sister to sapphire, ruby also has a Mohs hardness of 9, right underneath diamonds. Because of this it is equally strong and resilient as sapphire and has the same cleaning techniques and recommendations.

Cleaning Emerald Jewelry:

Emeralds are another hard stone that is resistant to scratching when being cleaned. Although note that they are not as strong as other stones like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Emeralds score about a 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardest scale so you have to be slightly more careful when you clean these green beauties, but not by much.

To clean an Emerald, you can wash them with warm water, dish soap, and a lint-free cloth. However, DO NOT USE THE BOILED WATER METHOD! Unlike diamonds, emeralds will crack when placed in boiling water or even hot water. As a good rule of thumb If the water is too hot and uncomfortable for you to touch don’t wash your emerald in it.

Fun fact: Pearls are the same way, so don’t use boiling water or even soak a pearl for too long.

  • To soak or not to soak. Some people might recommend a simple overnight soak in warm water and soap. While this may sound promising it's risky, as emeralds have small fractures where water can slowly seep into and ruin your emerald over prolonged exposure. IF you decide to soak your ring, do it for a few minutes at most and with warm water.
  • Never clean emeralds with harmful chemicals: much like the other stones, using harsh cleaners is a big no-no for emeralds too. Avoid any floor cleaners, acetone, or paint thinner. Losing an emerald is bad luck, don’t lose it easily avoidable harmful chemicals.
  • Maybe no alcohol, sorry: you can technically use the vodka trick on emeralds too, but again it's risky, we do not recommend. As a slightly softer metal than sapphires, rubies, and diamonds there is a chance that alcohol can break down an emerald.

What if you have a few extra coins to spend on cleaning supplies?

This is where people usually tend to purchase Ultrasonic cleaners.

An Ultrasonic is a device that uses ultrasonic sound waves and chemicals to remove dust, dirt, and grime from precious jewelry. It's a really fun process to watch as well as there are a lot of bubbles involved, who doesn't love bubbles. You can probably pick up a decent ultrasonic for around 150$.

The next step

Ok so you now know how to clean your priceless gemstones, but what about the precious metals that surround your stone?  They need to be clean too, right? The answer is yes and to learn how to safely clean your precious and alternative metals check out this article.

Reminder

Every 6 Months: Bring your jewelry into your trusted jeweler to check the prongs of your setting to make sure your diamond and gemstones are secure, and they can professionally clean it using an in-store ultrasonic system.

We always offer FREE jewelry spas, whether your precious jewelry items were purchased with us or not, stop in any time for a jewelry re-fresh!