Small but significant, precious jewelry is considered a prized possession by many. Jewelry made of delicate materials like gemstones, gold, and silver deserves the same kind of care that your clothes get to ensure longevity and quality. If anything, it requires even more attention to detail due to the smaller features and proximity to our skin. Be sure to get in the habit of proper jewelry care so you can transform your pieces into heirlooms that can be enjoyed for decades to come.
Even though gemstones and metals are some of the hardest materials on the planet, they still have certain sensitivities. For example, many gems don't react well to water or alcohol, so regular life can contribute to the wear and tear of jewelry. This means you should be taking preventative measures before you even get to cleaning. Get in the habit of removing rings, and possibly bracelets, while washing or sanitizing hands. Definitely remove jewelry for showers and baths. Dry your jewelry as soon as possible if it accidentally comes into contact with water.
So, how do you clean your precious gems? It depends on the stone itself, but most jewelers say it's as simple as using a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water. Hard stones like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, can be cleaned with alcohol isopropyl as a disinfectant.
Softer stones like pearls, opals, and emeralds should stick to gentler mixes without alcohol or bleach. Allow the jewelry to soak for 20-30 minutes. Before removing it, go over the jewelry with a clean toothbrush to ensure you're not missing any small surfaces or crevices where germs can get stuck. Dry your jewelry off thoroughly, and voila!
Now you know the proper technique, you're probably wondering how often your jewelry needs to be cleaned. Pieces that you usually wear can be cleaned once every few weeks. Use your judgment on unique occasion pieces, but they should definitely be cleaned for upkeep at least once or twice a year.
The type of jewelry also matters. Rings come in contact with more everyday objects and get more exposure to dirt and germs, so they would require more regular cleaning. Necklaces tend to have more breathing room, so you won't need to scrub as hard. Sparkling, beautiful jewelry never goes out of style. Make sure yours stays that way.