Cleaning and maintaining Jewelry

Cleaning and maintaining Jewelry

It is amazing how beautiful a clean piece of jewelry always looks!

The most damage occurs to jewelry in storage and cleaning rather than in wearing.

Please be very careful how jewelry is stored that it is not touching other pieces to avoid surface scratches. Ensure that pieces are not forced into packaging that is too small so the items don’t break.

Double check to make sure all of the jewelry is clear of any hinges or tops so they do not get mangled.

Please do not use vinegar or any ammonia based products to clean jewelry as it can affect the surface as well as penetrate porous gemstones such as opals, pearls and turquoise.

Value your jewelry by putting it on only after you have put on your hair products perfumes and other chemicals will ensure a longer life.

Regular maintenance is important.

If you wear a string of pearls daily, consider having them restrung annually.

If a claw catches on any of your clothing or anything remove immediately and take it into your jeweler to be checked because the jewel is telling you a stone is loose and it will fall out.

If the safety catch is not working on a clasp please get it fixed so it won’t fall off.

The less abrasive the cleaning process, the longer the jewelry will survive!

Always when cleaning your jewelry, do it over a bowl or sink with the plug in so if a stone drops out or if you drop the piece it won’t be lost or damaged.

Never submerge anything that is strung on thread into water as it will stay damp under the tread and start deteriorating (see section on washing strung jewelry below)

Never submerge foil backed stones into liquid- this includes costume and antique jewelry.

Gold Jewelry (excluding strung pieces and sterling silver):

Diamonds by nature attract grease – in fact in the historical mining process the rocks in water were run over a grease table because diamonds are the only stones that are attracted to grease and would stay with the other stones gliding across the greasy surface. So every time you touch your diamonds or wash your hands with a soap, a small layer of grease from your hands or creams are left on the surface.

Taking this into account, soap such as dishwashing liquid which is developed to cut the grease from plate’s works best mixed with washing powder which is designed to dissolve dirt.


½ teaspoon dishwashing liquid
1 teaspoon washing powder
small bowl or Double old fashioned glass
a soft bristle toothbrush
lukewarm water
a tot glass ½ filled with mentholated spirits
lint free cloth


    put the dishwasher and washing powder into the bowl
    add the lukewarm water
    add the jewelry
    gently use the soft brush to dislodge any dirt
    once rinsed drop the piece into the mentholated spirits and then wipe with a lint free cloth.

      Strung jewelry such as pearls:

      Anything that is strung is exposed to creams, perfumes and sweat by the nature that they are worn on the wrists or neck and as such they should be wiped over occasionally.


      2 face cloth sized towels
      2 medium sized bowls
      lukewarm water
      ½ a teaspoon dishwashing liquid
      a lint free cloth


        add the dishwashing liquid to the lukewarm water into the 1 bowl
        submerge 1 cloth into the soapy water
        submerge the second cloth into the bow of lukewarm water
        remove the cloths and wring them out until they are almost dry to the touch
        unroll the cloths so they are flat on a counter and roll the beads over the cloth with the soapy water
        then roll the beads over the cloth with the clean water in it to remove any soapy residue
        wipe with a dry lint free cloth

          continue to enjoy your strung necklaces for a long period.

          Sterling Silver jewelry:

          This is for solid sterling silver, no gemstones or pearls and solid sterling pieces but No wax filled knives or candle sticks.
          this method is based on ion transfer, so the oxidisation moves from the silver jewelry to the foil.

          aluminium foil
          a glass or non metal bowl
          1 tablespoon sodium bicarbonate or cleaning soda
          ½ teaspoon dishwashing liquid
          lint free cloth

            Wrap the sheet of foil so the mat side is showing (no shiny)
            place the wrapped foil into the glass bowl or pan
            place the silver items and then add the powder and dishwashing liquid
            add the hot water so it covers the silver
            mix the liquid so the soda and dishwashing liquid merge
            turn your silver pieces
            leave to stand for 2-3 min
            remove from the liquid and rinse
            wipe with a soft lint free cloth.
            put the foil into the recycling as the surface has now been covered with the oxydisation that was on your silver.

            Costume jewelry:

            Even though costume jewelry may not contain ‘precious’ gemstones the value both of provenance or collectable value makes us want to have them in great condition which will ensure absolute pleasure when wearing.

            Costume jewelry was often designed to reflect the styles of a period and as such were never made to last as long as ‘the real thing’ hence the collectable nature of costume.

            When cleaning costume jewelry never submerge it in liquid as the foil backing on the stones could permanently damage the pieces.

            Before discarding costume jewelry, show it to a professional who can advise you of its value.

            dry soft bristle toothbrush
            a damp soft cloth

            very gently wipe over the piece with a soft bristle brush try not to dislodge any of the stones.
            If you don’t have to use liquid DONT!
            Take a damp towel that has been wrung till dry to the touch and gently wipe over the piece.

            If there is yellowing of the stones Make sure they are crystals not plastic, very carefully put some lacquer thinners onto a Q tip and very gently wipe over the tops of the yellowed stones, this will remove the glue that has spread across the surface.

            Glass bead jewelry:

            The traditional or contemporary glass bead jewelry always gives a dramatic look but how does one keep them sparkling like they are new?

            a spray glass cleaner (Windex)
            a soft cloth

            spray some of the cleaner onto the cloth then gently wipe over the glass beads
            leave it in an open area to allow the product to evaporate.

            This method does not affect the stringing as long as they are not drenched because the product evaporates very quickly.