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How To Clean Your Gold Jewelry At Home

Maintaining a clean diamond can sometimes be difficult, as jewelry settings can obstruct cleaning efforts. Lotion, soap, skin oil, and other hydrophobic materials will stick to a diamonds surface (not to mention cookie dough). Many jewelers use steam cleaners. Home-based cleaning methods include immersing the diamond in ammonia-based or ethyl alcohol-based solutions, or even a solution of mild grease dissolving detergent and warm water.

Certain types of cleaning can damage some jewelry. For example, some stones are not heat tolerant, some jewelry may have surface treatments, some gemstones have surface treatments, such as "mystic" or "rainbow" topaz. Ultrasonic cleaning may remove or damage these treatments. Ultrasonic cleaning is also not recommended for opals, pearls, amber and any other gemstone that is porous. Gemstones that are sometimes glued in (a common practice with semiprecious stones in non-precious metals and in class rings) should not be placed into an ultrasonic cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner can cause stones that are loose in their settings to come out. Jewelry should always be examined for overlays and loose stones prior to cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner or a steam cleaner.

Jewelry Care

There are a number of things owners can do to prevent buildup of dirt and prevent jewelry from becoming tarnished. Namely, store jewelry carefully in its original packaging or a jewelry box. Clean jewelry using warm water, mild soap and a soft bristle toothbrush. Use a non-abrasive silver cloth or soft lint free cloth to polish jewelry and remove tarnishing.  Watch as Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company demonstrates how to safely use the only homemade jewelry cleaner they recommend:

Try not to expose jewelry to harsh chemicals or perfumes as this could cause damage and discoloration. We love to wear our jewelry at all times, but if you can, avoid household cleaners, lotions, and cosmetics, these products may tarnish or discolor your jewelry.

Bangles, earrings (particularly those manufactured from hollow tubing) and chains should be worn with care in order to avoid surface damage. Check for signs of wear and tear regularly, especially on clasps and joints. Stone settings can become loose over time and should be professionally checked every six months or so. This allows for preventive maintenance versus larger repairs.

Beauty of Gems

Although it is not one of the 4 Cs, cleanliness affects a diamond's beauty as much as any of the 4 C's (cut, carat, color, clarity).

A clean diamond (or any gemstone) is more brilliant and fiery than the same stone when it is "dirty".

Cleanliness does not affect the jewelry's market value, as jewelers routinely clean jewelry before offering it for sale. However, cleanliness might reflect the jeweler's sentimental value.

(compliments of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company)

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