a jewelry artist, I recommend cleaning your fine jewelry
by either using mildly sudsy or plain water for cleaning
and light polishing with a jewelry polishing cloth, or
having your jewelry cleaned by a professional. There are,
however, many other methods for cleaning jewelry. Please
do be sure that your gemstones and pearls in the jewelry
can withstand whichever method you choose. Keeping your
jewelry clean will help it last for a lifetime of wear.
short version: Keep jewelry away from scratching, banging,
chemicals of all kinds, extreme temps and sunlight.
Clean it regularly with mildly sudsy or plain water,
rinse really well, and pat dry with a non-scratching
cloth. Polish gently with a jewelry polishing cloth.
Store most jewelry in a reclosable plastic bag or cloth
with anti-tarnish tissue.
The long version is below.
General Jewelry Care
- Protect all jewelry from scratches,
sharp blows, chemicals, extreme temperatures, and
- After each wearing, gently wipe
each piece of jewelry clean of make up and skin oils
with a 100% cotton cloth.
- Store jewelry separately so it
doesn't scratch other jewelry.
- Remove rings when doing household
or handyman tasks such a gardening, cleaning and household
- Apply makeup and hairspray before
putting on your jewelry.
- Do not wear jewelry while in
a swimming pool or hot tub. The chlorine can damage
various gemstones and metals including gold.
- Do not store jewelry next to
heating vent, window sill, or in the car.
- Store jewelry away from sunlight.
The sun may fade gemstones.
- Always store bead necklaces strung
on silk (such as lapis, pearls, etc) flat because
silk stretches over time.
- Store jewelry in resealable plastic
or jewelry bags with anti-tarnish paper to retard
tarnish. Jewelry with pearls or opals will need to
be stored in fabric instead of plastic as they need
Not Place in Chemical Cleaners
(This is a partial list! If in doubt,
don't put it in any chemicals!)
Stones That Can
Change In Sunlight
(This is a partial list!)
Amethyst - becomes paler
Ametrine - may become lighter or change colors
Aquamarine - becomes paler
Aventurine - some lighter varieties become paler
Beryl - brown/orange varieties may fade to pale
Celestite - becomes paler
Chrysoprase - becomes paler
Citrine - becomes paler/changes color
Hiddenite - becomes paler
Kunzite - becomes paler
Rose Quartz - becomes paler
Smoky Quartz - becomes paler
Silver and Gold
Silver and gold can be cared for
in pretty much the same way. You can use these methods
to clean and polish .925 sterling silver, 10K to 18K
gold, and 14 karat gold filled:
- Commercial silver/gold cleaners.
Be sure that any stones in the jewelry can withstand
the chemicals in the cleaner. Read the label, and
if in doubt, do not use a chemical cleaner. Some gemstones
that cannot be placed in most commercial jewelry cleaners
are: pearls, lapis lazuli, malachite, opals, coral,
turquoise, and others.
- Ammonia and water. Use a light
solution of ammonia and water on a toothbrush or soft
cloth, then rinse thoroughly with water. Ammonia should
not be used on the same types of gemstones that should
not be used with commercial cleaners
- Jewelry polishing cloth or sunshine
cloth. Use lightly to restore
luster. Note: Do not press hard when polishing 14
karat golf filled so that you do not damage the gold
- Additionally, tarnish can be
retarded by storing your jewelry in the resealable
plastic bag included with each piece, or in a commercial
jewelry bag with anti-tarnish papers. Pearls and opals,
however, should not be stored in plastic because they
need to "breathe."
Copper and Brass
Although I do not use them often
so far I thought I'd give you this information. Copper
and brass are also very simple to care for. While they
do tarnish more quickly than sterling silver, they can
be restored to their original shine easily. Methods
for cleaning and shining copper and brass jewelry are:
- Commercial copper/brass cleaner.
Again, be sure that any stones in teh jewelry can
withstand the chemicals in the cleaner or do not use
- Ketchup. As unlikely as it sounds,
the acid in the tomato of the ketchup shines up copper
and brass quite nicely. Apply it with a toothbrush
or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting
ketchup on the same types of stones as should not
be used with chemical cleaners. I'm not sure about
it, but I expect the acid in the tomato might affect
more delicate stones.
- Worcestershire sauce. Another
unlikely sounding cleaner, worcestershire sauce is
similar to the ketchup in its mechanism of action.
Add the worcestershire sauce to a small dish, and
place your jewelry in the dish for a few minutes,
remove, and rinse thoroughly. This method should not
be used with gemstones or pearls that cannot be cleaned
with chemical cleaners, as the acid in the tomato
of the worcestershire may affect more delicate stones.
- Another kitchen cleaner method
for copper and brass is a combination of water, lemon
or lime juice and salt. Add a few drops of lemon or
lime juice to a container of water, then add a teaspoon
of salt and stir gently. Place the jewelry in the
solution for a few minutes, then remove and rinse
thoroughly. If needed, the dip in the solution can
be repeated. Again, this method should not be used
with gemstones or pearls that cannot be cleaned with
- As with sterling silver, copper
and brass jewelry will tarnish slower if stored in
a recloseable plastic bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish