Over time the natural oils from your skin, air born contaminants, moisture and corrosion will tarnish the shine and luster of your jewellery. There are a few simple cleaning tips which can drastically improve the condition of your favorite pieces. Different metals and stones require different cleaning techniques so please ensure you are following the relevant instructions. If your gold or silver jewelry contains softer porous gemstones you should follow the cleaning instructions for the gemstones and not the metal, these gemstones are quite sensitive and can be damaged easily.
A must before you start cleaning
Check the setting of your jewellery to ensure it is secure and well fastened. If you begin scrubbing a loose stone you may damage or even lose a piece. Remove any dust from both the jewellery and cleaning clothes. The dust may cause light scratching during the cleaning process. If you don’t own a jewellery cloth, use a cotton or flannel cloth and shake it well to remove loose dust.
How to clean Gold Jewellery
Soak your gold jewellery in a mild detergent and warm water solution for 1-3 minutes. You should avoid chlorine and ammonia as both can discolor the metal. Remove and gently brush the jewellery with a soft toothbrush or jewellery brush to remove any remaining grime. Now carefully rinse it in warm water to remove the detergent solution. Next thoroughly dry it with your cloth, any remaining moisture will dull the shine of the gold.
How to clean Silver Jewellery
There are two ways to easily remove the buildup of tarnish from your silver jewellery. If you live in a humid climate your silver jewellery will tarnish quickly and you’ll need to clean it quite regularly. We are going to create an inexpensive silver dip solution. The silver dip works by creating a chemical reaction which removes tarnish. It is a great technique for cleaning silver chains which are difficult to clean by hand. You must not under any circumstances place any type of gemstones in the solution, it may permanently damage the stone. Firstly find a bowl or large cup and line the sides with aluminum foil. Next place your jewellery inside the lined cup or bowl. Cover the jewellery with a small amount of baking soda, just enough so you can barely see the jewellery. Next pour hot water over the jewellery and wait for the bubbling to stop. After the solution has stopped bubbling rinse and buff the silver jewelry dry with your cloth. You may need to repeat the process up to 5-6 times for badly tarnished pieces. Please also be careful to keep yourself away from any fumes and ensure the room is well ventilated before starting.
To clean silver jewellery which contains gemstones create a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Gently buff small sections of the jewellery taking care not to touch the gemstone. Rinse and dry to complete the process. If the jewellery is heavily tarnished or still requires cleaning you may require a specialized silver cleaning paste or professional cleaning. Keep in mind that the harsher the cleaner the more likely your jewellery will be damaged.
How to clean Pearls
If you’re cleaning a pearl necklace please ensure the pearls are secure before cleaning. Create a warm solution of soapy water, use small amount of baby soap. Baby soap is gentle and more importantly PH neutral, abrasive soaps will easily damage your pearls. Place the peals in the solution for a minute or so and then rub the pearl dry with your cloth. When cleaning pearls you really need to avoid any form of abrasion. Use only soft cotton or jewellery cloth and gentle soaps.
How to clean Gemstones
The majority of gemstones are best cleaned using the same method as Pearls. You may also use a soft tooth brush on hard gemstones to gently scrub away additional grime. You should avoid soaking porous (softer opaque) gemstones instead just wet another cotton or jewellery cloth and clean the gemstone. It’s important to dry the gemstone completely to remove any remaining chemicals from the cleaning process. Ultrasonic cleaners will work well for harder gemstones but may cause cracking on softer gemstones, for this reason it would be best if you take your jewellery to a professional for cleaning.
Things to avoid when cleaning
- Many metals and softer gemstones can be easily damaged by abrasive chemicals in certain cleaners. This is why it is always best to start your cleaning with relatively gentle methods before tackling any remaining grime and tarnish.
- Do not clean your jewellery over a sink. You may loose it down the drain. use a small clean bucket or bowl.
- Rough cloths may scratch metals and softer stones, use soft lint free cloths only.
- Do not under any circumstances use harsh chemicals on gemstones which are porous. Porous stones will absorb the chemicals and damage your stones. Porous gemstones are opaque gemstones like Pearls, Turquoise and Opals.
- Cleaning expensive vintage jewellery is probably a job best left to the professionals.
- Do not use pins, tweezers or other sharp objects to remove small particles of grime, you will only scratch your jewellery.