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Jewelry & Gemstone Cleaning Methods to Use at Home

Jeweler polishing a ring

Before cleaning any of your gemstones, it’s important to know if the gemstones have been correctly identified. Every gem has a unique composition that determines how it will react to different cleaning methods.

Unsure of what gems are embedded in your favorite piece? Find a credentialed American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler near you to determine what gemstones you’re working with. Our credentialed jewelers can help with specific suggestions for the care of your gemstones and jewelry. Continue reading for the most recommended gemstone cleaning methods that will keep them safe and clean for years to come.

Why You Should Clean Your Jewelry

Dirt and grime can be damaging to your jewelry and gemstones as well as your health. Unclean pieces can cultivate bacteria that can lead to skin irritation, worsen allergies, and more.

In addition to the overall lack of shine from a clean gemstone, the micro-sized pieces of debris can cause scratches and imperfections to form. The buildup of oils and other grime can also lead to discoloration and eventual degradation of the metal that the gems are set into.

How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry?

When it comes to cleaning, you should clean your pieces every few months. Pieces you frequently wear, such as rings or earrings, should be cleaned more regularly or about once a month. These pieces are often exposed to oils, dirt, and other grime that can build up quickly.

Recommended Jewelry Cleaning Methods For Home Use

The first tool you’ll need to begin cleaning your jewelry at home is a soft-bristled brush. The soft bristles prevent any scratches to your gemstones. Soft toothbrushes can do the trick, but you can also find commercial jewelry cleaning brushes through most retailers.

For the jewelry cleaner solution, you’ll want to create a mixture of warm water and just a drop or two of a mild dishwashing detergent (i.e., Dawn, Joy, Ivory). You’ll then want to soak your water-safe pieces for approximately 20 minutes in the solution.

After the soak, use your soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the gemstones and the surrounding metal. Once you’re happy with the newfound luster of your piece, rinse it under warm running water to remove the excess solution.

While you can easily clean many gemstones yourself, others need more specific care when cleaning to avoid damaging them. For all gemstones, it’s best practice to avoid using cleaners with harsh chemicals like chlorine or bleach and to avoid using ammonia-based cleaners when working with organic gems, like pearls.

Unsure what the differences are between types of gemstones? Use our jewelry buying guide to learn about the basics to get started on identifying the different types of gems.

If you would like your gemstones and jewelry professionally cleaned, find a jewelry professional near you who offers jewelry cleaning.

Find an AGS Jeweler for All Your Questions

There’s a lot to consider when taking care of the precious jewelry pieces in your collection. If you have any questions about the upkeep of your jewelry or if there’s an issue with one of your pieces, like a loose gemstone, find an AGS jeweler for all your needs.