How to Keep Your Jewelry Clean

Article posted on July 22, 2012

Article Photo It's no secret - jewelry can get pretty expensive. And while it makes sense that those who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on their necklaces and bracelets have an interest in keeping their prized jewelry clean, even those of us with less expensive pieces should know how to take care of our jewelry. Regardless of what a particular piece originally cost, all jewelry can have value that stretches far beyond monetary worth. After all, what good is a bracelet thatís been passed down through many generations if it's now so tarnished that it can't be worn or shown off?

That's why it's so important to keep all of your jewelry clean. There are many processes you can follow and precautions you can take depending on the type of jewelry you intend to properly maintain. We'll start with the most common category of jewelry - gold and silver - and work our way on down the list.

Gold and Silver - While gold and silver are certainly not identical in their composition, similar steps can be taken to maintain jewelry made of either metal. Both gold and silver are soft metals and as a result are prone to scuffs and scratches. Keep this in mind when polishing your gold or silver jewelry as most cloth materials can scratch pieces fairly easily. To prevent unnecessary damage to gold or silver items, invest in a polishing cloth for your prized items. Cloths like these are manufactured to prevent unwanted scuffing and are often treated with non-abrasive chemicals that help restore luster to your jewelry. When looking for a more thorough clean, submerge any gold items in a solution made of club soda and a few drops of liquid dish soap for 10 - 15 minutes. Special dip cleaners are available to customers looking to restore tarnished silver.

Pearls - Like many precious metals, natural pearls are sensitive to scratching, scuffing and chemical abrasion. Many of the stronger solutions that are used to remove tarnish from metals will cause permanent damage to authentic pearls, so caution must be taken when preparing a cleaning solution for your jewelry. A simple mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild soap is sufficient for your pearl earrings and necklaces - baby soaps are often the purest of soaps and are usually the safest choice when selecting a cleansing agent for your solution.

Diamonds - You're probably well aware that diamonds are stronger than virtually all other jewelry materials, but don't fall victim to the misconception that they can't be scratched. An equally strong stone could nick your valuable diamonds with very little effort, so remember to clean your diamond pieces one at a time. When preparing a cleaning solution for your diamonds, mix six parts water to one part ammonia in a small bowl and dip your piece into the mixture. You'll then want to ever-so-gently scrub your jewelry (while still submerged in the solution) with a soft-bristled brush. When you feel that your item is clean, rinse it off under warm water and dry it off with a soft cloth free of lint or other debris. The importance of using a soft-bristled brush on your diamonds must be stressed - although your diamond is pretty tough, the stone is often set in a metal base that is not as resistant to scratching and scuffing.

Regardless of what type of jewelry you're cleaning, there are a couple basic rules of thumb that can be applied to all of your pieces to promote cleanliness. First of all, you should always remove any jewelry before getting ready in the morning or for a night out. Many health and beauty aids like hairspray and perfumes can inflict unnecessary wear and tear on your items over time. Second, make sure that you keep your jewelry dry as often as possible. Prolonged exposure to water can also cause irreversible damage to your jewelry, especially those items with porous surfaces.

Thank you to gnilenkov for another great photo.