How To Clean Diamonds And Gemstones
leaning fine jewelry requires a bit of time, but it’s often more of an activity for entertainment than a chore. Cleaning tarnished silver jewelry and watching it turn shiny again before your eyes is strangely mesmerizing.
If you wear a diamond ring daily, you might’ve had one of those days where your diamond ring looks cloudy, seemingly out of nowhere. This tends to happen–-the layers of residue and microscopic particles that build up happen so slowly that you don’t notice the subtle changes until it’s significantly reduced your diamond ring’s luster.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your diamond ring shiny and restore its brilliance when it becomes cloudy. While it’s a good idea to take your diamond ring to a jeweler for a professional cleaning every six months, there are simple ways to clean your diamond ring at home.
The best way to clean your diamond ring at home is with water and dish soap. This is the best home-cleaning method for diamond ring care because it’s cheap, easy, and works for all precious metals and diamonds.
Simple steps for how to clean diamond jewellery:
- Fill a small bowl or cup with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
- Place the ring in the soapy water and let it soak for 30 minutes
- Remove the ring and brush it gently with a soft brush
- Rinse the ring with clean, warm water.
- Repeat a second time if there’s still dirt.
- When finished, polish it with a microfiber cloth or another fine cloth.
Sounds pretty easy, right? It is–-but it might not be the best fit for every ring. Maybe your diamond ring is really dull or dirty, or maybe it’s a sterling silver ring and is also tarnished.
There are certain techniques for diamond jewelry cleaning that will make your ring shiny brighter. Additionally, there are numerous do’s and don’ts of cleaning diamond jewelry. You want to make sure you know what cleaning products are safe to use on your gemstones, silver, platinum, white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold jewelry.
Here are our expert tips for cleaning diamond rings at home for the best results.
Avoid Certain Cleaning Brushes
We get it–-some people are perfectionists, and they want specific tools for specific jobs. You might not feel like much of a pro if you’re cleaning your diamond engagement ring with a Dora the Explorer toothbrush, but think twice before you buy a “jewelry cleaning brush” or “silver cleaning brushes.”
Don’t use silver cleaning brushes on silver rings or diamond jewelry. These brushes are mostly used for silverware or silver cutlery. A sterling silver fork is a totally different ballgame from a sterling silver diamond ring.
- Avoid brushes made of horsehair, wire or any other kinds of stiff bristles.
- Don’t use straw cleaners for cleaning diamond jewelry either.
- Don’t use toothbrushes with stiff bristles.
What you can use:
- Simple, soft-bristled toothbrushes
- Kids’ toothbrushes work well
- Makeup brushes
The problem with stiff bristles is that they may scratch metals like gold and silver, or get stuck in the prongs of the ring holding the diamond. This could damage the setting.
Use Glass Cleaner to Restore Diamond Shine
Only use this method if your ring only has diamonds and no other gemstones (although some gemstones are okay to clean with ammonia/glass cleaner, such as sapphire engagement rings), and is only made of a precious metal (i.e. platinum, silver, all gold colors, but not plated gold or silver).
If you’re wondering how to clean a cloudy diamond ring, standard glass cleaner is a good way to restore shine to the diamond.
- Put on gloves for skin protection.
- Put the ring in a small bowl/ramekin and spray Windex all over it, turning it over to coat each part. You can also use a solution of 50% Windex mixed with hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide will kill any remaining bacteria
- Use a soft toothbrush to remove the dirt from the ring.
- Rinse the ring and wipe it dry with a lint-free cloth.
You cannot use Windex on softer gemstones because it’s an ammonia solution and can harm things like emeralds, pearls, and tourmalines.
Use Alcohol on Gold Diamond Rings
A good way to clean a gold diamond ring is with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Do not use this if you have any gemstones on your ring other than diamonds.
Do not use nail polish remover!
How to clean your diamond ring with alcohol:
- Place the ring in a small bowl.
- Fill the bowl with 91% isopropyl alcohol
- Remove the grime from the ring while it’s submerged with a soft cloth, Q-tip, or soft brush.
- Let it soak overnight.
- Remove it the next day and set it out to dry.
- Polish all of the sides with a lint-free cloth.
Isopropyl alcohol is also called rubbing alcohol, and it’s often used as a disinfectant and household cleaning agent.
Use Vinegar and Baking Soda on Silver Diamond Rings
How do you clean a sterling silver diamond ring to remove tarnish and make the diamond shine? Use an easy method at home involving white vinegar and baking soda.
How to clean a sterling silver ring with vinegar and baking soda:
- Mix ½ cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda (not baking powder) in a bowl or cup.
- Put the diamond ring in the solution and leave it there for two or three hours.
- Take it out and rinse the ring under cold water.
- Dry with a lint-free cloth.
You can also create a paste of baking soda and water, brush it onto the jewelry and gently scrub with the brush. Then wipe the jewelry with a cloth.
Use Mild Soap and Water on Other Gemstones
If your diamond ring contains other gemstones than diamonds (such as black onyx rings, you want to stick with mild soap and water to clean it.
How to clean your diamond ring if it has other gemstones:
- Submerge the ring in a bowl filled with mild soap and warm water.
- Clean the ring in the solution with a soft brush or cotton swab.
- Let the gemstone jewelry soak overnight.
- Take it out, rinse it in room-temperature water.
- Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Avoid using alcohol or other stronger cleaners on soft gemstones like opals, pearls, and citrine.
Keep White Gold Shiny
For the most part, cleaning rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold is the same. If you’ve tried the home cleaning methods on a white gold ring and it’s still dull, there’s a chance it needs to have its rhodium plating refreshed.
White gold is typically plated in rhodium, a precious metal that’s harder than gold and gives it a shiny, platinum look. You need to take your white gold jewelry in to a jeweler every few years to have it re-plated so it maintains its shine and durability.
How to know if it’s time to re-plate your white gold jewelry:
- The white gold appears yellowish
- Cleaning your white gold ring isn’t restoring its shine
- The white gold jewelry is scratched or scuffed
How to keep white gold shiny:
- Don’t polish it too often or too roughly
- Use only soft brushes and cloths to clean it
- Keep up with washing it with soap regularly
Fortunately, there are a lot of places you can re-plate your white gold diamond ring for cheap or for free.
Find a Good Jeweler for Regular Cleaning
The safest and most effective way to clean diamond engagement rings and other luxury jewelry is to take it to a professional regularly. Most jewelers will offer this service for free or for a minimal charge. You can drop your ring off for them to clean and then pick it up.
Jewelers have high-tech equipment that can clean your jewelry more thoroughly than home cleaning methods. Not only that, but they can notice scuffs or other diamond maintenance needs early on and take preventative measures.
Some jewelry insurance companies also require you to take it to a jeweler for regular cleaning. If you lose your engagement ring and you haven’t taken it to a jeweler, the insurance company may not reimburse you or replace your ring.
Take Caution with Ultrasonic Cleaners
There are ultrasonic cleaners for home use on jewelry, which can give it a deep clean. Often, sellers may encourage you to clean your jewelry with it regularly, but the cleaning process can be too rough on many kinds of fine jewelry.
Ultrasonic cleaners are not a very safe option for rose gold jewelry, or diamond rings with complex settings and diamonds. The ultrasonic cleaners produce sound waves, the vibrations of which can reverberate and loosen diamonds from their prong settings.
If you want to know how to clean gold and diamond jewelry safely with an ultrasonic cleaner, make sure to buy your ultrasonic cleaner from a reputable company. Ask them questions about the specific jewelry you own and if it’s safe.
Furthermore, you can always ask a jeweler if you can clean your jewelry with an ultrasonic cleaner. They can examine its setting, gemstones, and metals to let you know if it’s safe.
Don’t Wear Your Diamond Ring in a Pool, Hot Tub, or Ocean
After a long day, you may wish to unwind by sitting in your hot tub or relaxing in the pool. It’s easy to forget to take off your diamond jewelry, but you must. Put it somewhere safe and don’t wear it in water that has chlorine in it.
Chlorinated water and saltwater can damage gold, silver, platinum, and gemstones. It can weaken the setting and cause your gem to come loose. Furthermore, your finger size can expand in warm water or shrink in cold water, causing the ring to become stuck or fall off and become lost.
Ask Your Jeweler Questions
If you have diamond jewelry, gold jewelry, engagement rings, wedding rings, or any other piece of jewelry you care about, it’s a good idea to have a jeweler you trust.
Having a knowledgeable jeweler who responds to emails can help you answer any jewelry cleaning questions you have. Establish communication as soon as you have any difficult questions, and continue to ask for an expert’s advice before trying any cleaning methods you’re uncertain about.
This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to buy diamond rings and other fine jewelry from a vendor who is easy to contact and is knowledgeable about their products. You don’t want to buy a diamond ring from a seller who tells you it’s okay to clean it with an ultrasonic cleaner or with ammonia if your jewelry isn’t right for it.