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A Guide to Jewelry Cleaning and Upkeep


Jewelry isn't just an accessory; it's an investment, a symbol of love, and often a piece of art. Whether it's a family heirloom passed down through generations or a shiny new acquisition, proper care is essential to maintain its beauty and value over time.

Keeping things clean and maintained is an easy way to lengthen the longevity of an object or just keep it looking its best. Jewelry pieces also need this maintenance. To keep your necklace, ring, bracelet, or any jewelry you have looking its best, follow these tips and instructions for the best results.

Sometimes the best solution is the easiest one. For most jewelry pieces, cleaning them only requires some warm water, fragrance and moisturizer-free soap, and a cloth or soft brush to clean out any muck. GIA recommends cleaning your jewelry by soaking it in soapy warm water for 20-40 min and gently brushing it. Then just rinse under warm water and dry it thoroughly.

"Keep Your Jewelry Looking Like New" pamphlet of woman holding necklace as its being put on her, framed picture of gemstones in background.

This works particularly well for solid gold or fashion jewelry and may be needed more often for jewelry worn daily.

Harsh cleaning can damage, even ruin your jewelry. Some recommend using toothpaste or baking soda, but this can remove small amounts of the metal when you do it over and over again.

The best cleaning advice will often come from your jewelry or your warranty guide. Certain metals and gemstones can be difficult to clean without ruin due to a low MOHS scale or porousness.

Keep your jewelry stored properly. Sunlight, humidity, heat, and chemical exposure can damage your jewelry.

Two ruby earrings in a jewelry box, polished wood

Storage Tips: Proper storage is equally vital in preserving the beauty of your jewelry:

Store each piece separately to prevent scratching and tangling.

Use soft pouches or lined jewelry boxes to cushion delicate pieces.

Keep jewelry away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, as they can cause metals to tarnish or gemstones to fade.

Certain gems like coral, or turquoise are porous, and pearls are so delicate they shouldn’t rub together when beaded. Both Pearls and opals are soft stones and can crack, discolor, and chip if treated incorrectly.

“Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, light and heat can affect a colored gemstone’s durability and color. Over time, and in excess, they can also fade or damage some gemstones, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos. Pearls and other delicate materials, such as ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light.” – GIA

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Supersonic cleaner

  The MOHS scale measures the hardness of gems and minerals ranging from the hardest, 10, a diamond, to 1, talc, which can be scratched by a fingernail.

Regularly inspect your jewelry for loose stones, weakened clasps, or signs of wear. Promptly address any issues to prevent further damage or loss.

Caring for your jewelry isn't just about aesthetics; it's about preserving the memories and significance attached to each piece. With regular cleaning and proper upkeep, you can ensure your jewelry remains as stunning and meaningful as the day you acquired it. By understanding the materials, employing gentle cleaning methods, and following storage best practices, you can enjoy your treasured pieces for a lifetime and beyond.

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