Clean your Jewelry Like a Professional
Clean your Jewelry Like a Professional
This morning, I was snuggling with my sick peanut when i looked down at my wedding ring and was shocked by how dirty it looked. When she finally settled down for a nap I just had to do something about it. ITs too cold, and with Em big sick we weren’t about to leave home for an errand that wasn’t necessary. I figured if I was going to clean it at home, I might as well share my cleaning routine with my readers.
Calling upon my years of working in the jewelry business, here is the best way to clean your jewelry at home, as well as some do’s and don’ts. There seems to be a lot of questionable at-home ways to clean your jewelry, some of which could do harm to your fine jewelry.
The importance of visiting a jeweler
There is a reason your jeweler wants to see your fine jewelry every 4- 6 months. They’re not saying that to waste your time, they’re trying to keep up on the maintenance jewelry requires. If you do not have a jeweler, pretty much any hometown jeweler would be more than willing to look at your jewelry and give it a clean.
You wouldn’t buy a car and never take it to a mechanic, get an oil change, or check your tire pressure until something major happens right? So why would you treat your fine jewelry that way?
When you buy fine jewelry (whether it’s silver or gold) there are certain things you can do to keep from having major problems. This isn’t to say some maintenance wont cost money, unless covered by a warranty.
When your jeweler looks at your jewelry (I will probably refer to a ring, but the same goes for bracelets, necklaces and earrings) they will look at the prongs and/or channels that hold the stone(s).
What does the jeweler look for?
They are looking at a couple things when they do this. They are looking for a ‘bubble’ of metal above the stone on the tip of the prong. This would mean there is sufficient metal protecting your stone and you’re less likely to break the prong, lose the stone, or break the stone. They will make sure the channels, if you have them, are straight as to hold your stones the most secure.
What aren’t they looking at? They don’t care how dirty the ring is (just don’t take it off with your teeth, blech!) and they don’t care about the stone quality. If you just were baking cookies and it’s full of cookie dough it’s ok, they will find a way to see what they need.
If you have prongs that need retipped they will tell you. Getting this done will continue to protect your stone at the optimum level and give you less risk of losing your stone. Breaking a prong or losing your stone is much more expensive to fix than adding metal to the top of the prongs. Going back to the car analogy, this is like getting new tires put on.
They will then clean it, using their ultrasonic cleaner, and if they have it available, they will steam it off. This is the ultimate clean.
When you’re at home and just need to do a quick clean this is the best way to do it.
What you need:
Small bowl or dish
Hot water (the hottest you can touch)
- Add the hot water into your small bowl.
- Put in a drop or 2 of the dish soap.
- Use a drop of ammonia, if you’re using it.
- Add in your jewelry and allow to soak for a few minutes. Here you could use water that is a little hotter than you can safely touch as to give it time to cool.
- Use the soft toothbrush to gently scrub the under side of the jewelry. You can also gently scrub the under side of the stone. Don’t get too aggressive as you could potentially scratch the metal, if something is really stuck, go see your jeweler.
- Rinse the jewelry in warm water, your can empty your dish or you can use a second rinse dish.
- Dry with a soft microfiber cloth (like one of these)
This is the system I use to get my jewelry clean when I don’t have the opportunity to get into the jeweler and I need to give my jewelry a quick clean.
Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t be afraid to stop into your hometown jeweler to see about getting your jewelry cleaned
Do find it in your budget to complete the maintenance your jeweler says you need. If it seems like a lot, get a second opinion and shop around.
Don’t be afraid to check around and find a reputable jeweler
Do try to find a jewelry store with a jeweler on staff. This will cut down on any time they will have your precious jewelry if any maintenance needs done. If they don’t have to send it out, it will be quicker.
Don’t use anything abrasive to clean your jewelry. Toothpaste, baking soda, etc can all be damaging to soft metals like gold, and even silver.
Do remember to get your jewelry cleaned and inspected every 6 months.
Don’t clean anything at home that hasn’t been inspected in a super long time and has a lot of ‘gunk’ built up. Sometimes the ‘gunk’ is waht’s holding things together, if you clean it at home you run the risk of dislodging the stone, adding repair costs.
Do make sure you only clean what you know is real. If you clean something with a stone that has been glued in you run the risk of loosening the glue. It isn’t often that a jeweler can reset a stone in costume jewelry.
Some of the other maintenance you might need done if you have white gold, is Rhodium Plating. If you notice your white gold is starting to turn yellow It’s time to get your ring re-dipped. This will bring your ring back to brand new looking.
If you have any other questions, I would be glad to try to help.
If you are in the Midland, Michigan area please check out JD Jewelers