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All types of stones and jewelry require periodic cleaning. In general, the more you wear your jewelry, the more often you should clean it. For example, rings tend to collect more build-up than necklaces or earrings.
When selecting a jewelry cleaner, pay particular attention that the solution is recommended for diamonds, other precious stones, and for gold or platinum jewelry. A home ultrasonic cleaner should be used with extreme caution. It can be used to clean ruby, sapphire, diamond, iolite, amethyst, citrine, garnets, iolite, chrysoberyl, and unadorned gold jewelry but it may damage gems like emerald, pink tourmaline, peridot, pearls, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, and any gem that has many inclusions. When in doubt, don't put the jewelry in the ultrasonic cleaner.
Diamonds: Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth and very durable, but they still require proper maintenance. Jewelry such as diamond engagement and wedding rings, are often worn 24 hours a day and can get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, hairspray, cosmetics, even natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds that reduces their brilliance.
Clean your diamonds regularly using a commercial jewelry cleaner, or a mix of warm water and ammonia and/or dish detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution for 5-10 minutes, and use a soft brush to remove oils and dirt from under the setting.
Keep your diamond jewelryaway from chlorine bleach or other household chemicals: chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting. You should also remove your diamond jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing rough work. Even though diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, it can still be chipped or loosened by a sharp, sudden blow.
Colored Gems: The best way to clean your gemstone jewelry is in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish detergent. Using an old toothbrush or other soft brush, scrub gently behind the stone where dust and soap can collect. Then rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth. Store gemstone pieces individually in soft pouches to prevent them from scratching each other.
Do not expose your precious gemstone pieces to salt water or harsh chemicals, such as chlorine or detergents. These chemicals may slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones. Daily beauty products such as hair spray, perfume and perspiration may also cause jewelry to become dull. Apply all cosmetics, perfumes and colognes before putting on colored gemstone jewelry. Make sure to wipe your gemstones after wear to remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration.
Always remove jewelry before exercising, gardening or doing household chores. Some gem stones, such as emerald, are brittle and can be damaged by a sharp blow.
Platinum: Platinum is resistant to tarnishing and discoloration caused by chlorine and other chemicals. However, despite its durability, platinum can scratch and develop a patina of wear and therefore needs to be properly cared for.
Platinum can be cleaned the same way you would other fine jewelry. You can use a commercial liquid jewelry cleaner from a drugstore or a jeweler. You can also soak your jewelry in a mild solution of soap or dish detergent, and warm water and gently scrub them with a soft-bristled brush. This is usually all that is required to maintain the metal's luster. In between cleanings, buffing with a soft cloth can give your jewelry a renewed sheen.
If your platinum is set with diamonds or other precious stones, be especially careful, as these materials can be more susceptible to damage. A professional cleaning by a jeweler every six months will keep your platinum jewelry in great shape.
Store your platinum jewelry separately and with care, not allowing pieces to touch each other as rubbing can cause the metal to scratch. Due to the durability of platinum, there is rarely any metal loss from a scratch. However, if visible scratches do appear, your jeweler should be able to re-polish the piece to restore it to its original patina.
Gold: Keep your gold jewelry away from harsh chemicals such as chlorine and cleaning fluids. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry.
Remove all gold jewelry before showering or cleaning and avoid contact with soap, perfume, cosmetics and hairspray. These products can cause a film to form on gold jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy.
To clean gold jewelry, use either a commercial jewelry cleaner or a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Wash the gold gently with a soft-bristled brush. After brushing, rinse with lukewarm water and allow to dry. Another alternative is to use a soft chamois cloth to keep your pieces lustrous and shining. Grease can easily be removed from gold jewelry by dipping the jewelry into plain rubbing alcohol.
Store gold pieces separately in soft cloth bags or original boxes to protect them from scratching and from the exposure to harsh daily elements.