17 May How to Clean Your Fine Jewelry
To keep your jewels pristine for longer, it is essential to get to know their nature. The wrong method of cleaning can tarnish your jewelry (further) or degrade precious adornments. It is always best to use the most natural means of cleaning and to avoid any aggressive materials.
925 Sterling Silver pieces will be stamped with 925. If there is no stamp, it is likely plated or it has been worn off. Solid gold has a tiny engraving that bears the karat weight (14k, 18k, 22k, 24k…), near or on the clasp if it is a necklace or bracelet and just about anywhere if it is an earring. If you are in doubt, visit your local jeweller who can test it for you.
Most jewelry can be cleaned using the following method:
Mix a few drops of mild dish detergent (avoid fancy stuff with added ingredients) and lukewarm water.
Saturate the jewelry briefly in the solution, never submerge.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to buff away any dirt and debris.
Pat jewelry dry with a lint-free cloth (avoid paper toweling as that can scratch your jewelry).
Remove tarnish with a silver polishing cloth.
To reduce tarnishing on silver pieces, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water. This paste will eliminate tarnish, so only use when necessary. Rinse with cool water, then pat dry with a soft cloth. Make a new mixture for each set of jewelry.
For mild cleaning, take a dab of regular baking soda toothpaste (avoid the gel kind), using a soft toothbrush and gently scrub the dirt away. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water once done to avoid leaving residue behind. Dry completely with a soft cloth and hang to dry.
To clean your gold pieces, use a method similar to the basic one listed above. Mix a simple dish soap with a bit of club soda or seltzer water, then rub gently with an unused toothbrush. The use of a carbonated beverage instead of plain flat water helps to dislodge any dirt and grime around settings and hard to reach areas. Dry completely with a soft cloth and hang to dry.
Most colored gemstones are glued so it is important not to use water as it will encourage glue to loosen and the gems to fall out of their settings. Instead, use wipes or a damp cloth to spiff them up a bit. Let them dry hanging – no moisture can pool behind the gem and make the glue unstick. Use a very lightly dampened q-tip to get around the finer edges of the settings. Just be sure to blot all excess on the q-tip and thoroughly dry your piece.
Pearls and porous stones
Soft gems, such as pearls, are incredibly porous and can easily scratch. To fix this problem, clean them softly with a gentle shampoo or another mild soap-and-water solution (never soak them) with a makeup brush. Lay a strand of pearls on a towel to dry as they are often prone to unwanted expansion when wet.
If you are unsure how fragile a piece is, always err on the side of caution and seek professional advice rather than experimenting. We suggest seeking a professional clean once a year. Dirt, marks, blemishes or scratches acquired through age or everyday wear can easily be removed to return a treasured piece to its former glory.
Look for a jeweller with professional training and a good reputation – asking friends or relatives for recommendations is a good place to start.