Caring For Your Jewelry

Posted on February 17, 2010 by Barbara Polinsky | 0 Comments

cleaning jewelry

Fine jewelry is often an investment which should be worn and enjoyed.  Proper care will ensure that your treasures will last longer than a lifetime.

Here are some general guidelines for basic care to keep your valuables looking brand new and the stones secure.   If, for any reason, you are uncertain about a piece after reading this, consult us or a local jewelry professional. Always remove jewelry before doing manual labor and when coming into contact with chlorine especially in common household cleaners.CHECK-UPS: Check settings periodically (at least once per year) professionally for any damage to prongs or bezels. Contact me or bring the piece to a professional jeweler for repair immediately if you observe any of the following:

  • The setting looks out of line
  • Loose prong(s)
  • A stone that wiggles, rotates or moves freely in mounting

The best way to check if a stone is loose:

Hold jewelry up to your EAR and tap very gently with your fingernail on the shank of the ring (the band part) or base of a pendant. Tap in an area that has no stones. If anything is loose, you will hear a buzzing sound instead of a solid sound. Please note that  is possible that a bezel set stone may make be secure yet still make a sound. Please have it checked anyway.


Quick DIY Home Cleaning Solution:

  • Prepare a small bowl of warm sudsy water with a mild liquid detergent such as Dawn.
  • Soak for 20 minutes • Gently brush the jewelry with a soft toothbrush while still in the suds.
  • Rinse each piece under warm running water with the drain closed.
  • Pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth or commercial polishing cloth such as Sunshine® Cloth.

Beware of ultrasonic cleaners. The vibrations can cause stones to become loose and/or fall out. NEVER clean these stones in an ultrasonic cleaner - Opals, Pearls, Emeralds, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Peridot, Malachite, Onyx, Turquoise, Jade, Amber, Lapis, Mother of Pearl, Coral, Diamonds with lots of inclusions, Colored Diamonds, Malachite or Synthetic stones. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions.



Sterling Silver - Store in an airtight zip lock bag to prevent tarnish. Clean with a commercial polishing cloth. Do not use a commercial cleaner or polishing cloth on oxidized finishes because doing so will remove the surface treatment. White Gold - Rhodium plating is often used as a finish on white gold for extra brightness because plain “white gold” is really grayish/yellow in color. (see post "White Gold - isn't that an oxymoron?" ) The plating may wear away if the item is worn regularly and is in contact with other hard surfaces. Consequently rings and bracelets will occasionally require re-plating; earrings and necklaces will rarely need re-plating. Having a white gold ring re-polished can result in removing the plating. Pearls - Wipe pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off. Pearls should be re-strung every few years, depending on how frequently they are worn.


When not wearing, keep jewelry in a cool dry place and store each piece separately to prevent pieces from bumping and scratching each other.


It may not make sense to cover each piece of jewelry individually but do spend a few minutes investigating so you can make an informed decision.  For more information, see  What to Know about Insuring Your Jewelry and Insurance 101 from The Knot


Photo by Christina Michaud via Flickr


Posted in DIY, informational, jewelry care



Leave a Reply

Comments will be approved before showing up.