Spring-cleaning isn’t just for closets and junk drawers; it’s also great for your jewelry box. Knowing how to properly care for your jewelry makes a significant difference in maintaining its beauty and heirloom quality for generations to come. Below are my top 6 tips for how to care for your gemstone treasures.
Diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth and is often used when cutting and faceting gemstones, so your diamond jewelry should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent scratches. Diamonds can be cleaned by soaking them in ammonia based household cleaners or warm soapy water. If your diamonds are very dirty they can be gently scrubbed with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse these gems with warm water and dry with a soft lint free cloth.
Within the world gemstones, pearls are incredibly special because they’re the only gem formed inside a living creature. When an irritant enters saltwater oysters or freshwater clams, these creatures respond by coating the irritant with concentric layers of the same material used to grow their shells, which is very sensitive to chemicals and acids. So it’s important to never use chemical jewelry cleaners on natural color or dyed pearls. Chemical cleaners can cause pitting and color loss on your pearls and if they’re are strung on silk or other thread saturating the fibers can weaken the thread. Pearls can also be damaged from too much exposure to hair styling products, make-up, body lotion and perfume. A soft cloth is the best and safest way to maintain the beauty of your pearls. Gently wipe your pearls with a soft dry cloth after wearing and store them in a soft cloth pouch to help prevent chips and scratches.
Coveted since ancient times, emeralds have long be collected for not only their gorgeous green hue but also their strength and durability. While strong, the stunning variety of inclusions found in emeralds can make certain stones vulnerable to damage if improperly handled or cleaned. Clean emeralds with a soft cloth and rise with luke-warm water, if needed. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner or soak your emeralds in chemical jewelry cleaners or water. Soaking and the vibrations from ultrasonic cleaners can damage these stones.
While best known their blue shades, sapphires, a variety of the mineral corundum, are also found in a rainbow of colors ranging from sunshine yellows, golden oranges and vivid violets. The only color a sapphire can never be is red, as corundum that appears as red is classified as ruby. Sapphires are the third hardest mineral on Earth, after diamond, and can easily scratch other softer stones. Clean sapphire jewels with a splash of warm water and mild soap then store them in a soft cloth pouch.
5. Annual inspection
While the precious metal settings holding your gems in place are very durable, they can become damaged with everyday wear and tear. This can cause your gemstone to not be secure in it’s setting and potentially lead to the stone falling out. It’s always incredibly sad when a gorgeous piece of jewelry looses a sparkling and beloved stone. Gemstone jewelry that you wear frequently, like your wedding set, should get an annual inspection by your favorite jeweler to ensure that your stones are secure in their settings.
6: Tarnish on Gemstone Jewelry
Tarnish is a challenge for every jewelry lover. Tarnish on gemstone jewelry has to be removed with care as many chemical tarnish removers are too aggressive and likely to damage your gems. No matter how much tarnish your jewelry has accumulated a soft polishing cloth is the best and most gentle tool for cleaning your pieces. Learn more about causes and prevention of tarnish in my article, Keep them Sparkling: 5 Things Every Jewelry Lover Should Know About Silver Tarnish.
Want to know more about cleaning gemstone jewelry? Visit my Jewelry Care Tips page to learn more about caring for specific gemstones and birthstones.
Have a specific jewelry care question? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org