Dos & Don'ts for Cleaning Your Jewelry
Regardless of what a jewelry piece may cost or the material it’s made of, we bought it for a reason and we want to keep it looking like new as long as possible. Some stones are fragile and require special care. Learn how to take care of your treasures properly.
Don’t use things like vinegar, salt, baking soda, or toothpaste as they are all abrasives.
Don’t use things like Tarn-X on your jewelry to remove tarnish.
Don’t scrub or otherwise use friction on plated metals. Plated jewelry has an ultra thin coat of gold or silver just on the surface and it’s very easy to scratch it. Once that happens, the surface metal will begin to peel.
Don’t ever clean your pearls with anything other than a soft cloth and do so very carefully with light pressure. You can sue a mild dish soap in warm water, but don’t submerge your bracelet or necklace as it can weaken the silk threads pearls are traditionally strung with. I suggest taking your pearls to a jeweler for proper cleaning.
Don’t wash jewelry cleaning cloths. Most are impregnated with a very gentle abrasive.
Do use Sunshine® polishing cloths which are safe for nearly all jewelry. It’s great for cleaning tarnish from silver, copper, brass and gives a high sine to gold as well. It’s even safe for turquoise and opal jewelry. Use light to medium pressure. It is also safe for gold-filled.
Do be very gentle regardless of the materials in your jewelry.
Do be sure to allow all jewelry to dry thoroughly before putting it away. I pat dry with a soft cloth & leave it out overnight.
Metals, Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires:
The safest and best way to clean this jewelry at home is just using a mild dish soap, warm water (not hot) and a new baby toothbrush. Mix a couple of drops the dish soap and warm water in a dish and drop the jewelry in. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then using the new toothbrush dipped into the soapy water gently scrub your jewelry, rinse very well, and pat dry.
The reason for the new toothbrush is that an old toothbrush can still have some toothpaste residue which can easily scratch soft stones and even soft metals.
Enamel & Niobium
These are the easiest to care for. Niobium doesn’t tarnish and is a hypoallergenic metal used in pacemakers and other medical devices. I use unleaded vitreous enamel that is sifted onto copper sheet and fired at 1450°f.