How to clean and care for your jewellery

In this guide we offer our advice on how to clean and care for your jewellery. There’s no reason why jewellery can’t stay at its best – forever keeping its ‘brand new’ sparkle. Our practical tips about what you can do at home, as well as insight into what jewellers use to clean jewellery, can help you get the longest wear out of your jewellery and reduce the risk of damaging, marking or tarnishing it. 

How to clean your jewellery

What is the best thing to clean jewellery with? When it comes to cleaning jewellery, luckily there are a good few tried and tested ‘quick fix’ options you can do at home, as well as buying professional products for your own use.

1. Pass the gin! Or vodka…

Cleaning your jewellery in gin or vodka works really well. This is best on plain metal or diamond-set jewellery rather than pearls and other gemstones. Just pour a small glass of alcohol and submerge your jewellery. Leave for 20 minutes, swirling the liquid every 5-10 minutes. Rinse in water and air dry on a towel.


2. Good old-fashioned washing-up liquid

You’ll also need an old, soft toothbrush. First, fill a bowl with hot (but not boiling) water, then mix in a few squeezes of good quality washing-up liquid and gently add your jewellery. After 5 minutes, use the toothbrush to carefully clean behind the stones or anywhere else that might have collected dirt. Then, resubmerge the jewellery for another 5 minutes. Finally, rinse with clean water and air dry on a towel.


3. Antacids

This method works surprisingly well. Just get a glass of warm water and add a couple of antacid tablets. The liquid will start to fizz, at which point you should add your jewellery and leave for 5 minutes. Remove, rinse in water and then air dry on a towel.

4. Ultra-sonic jewellery cleaner

You could purchase your own ultra-sonic cleaner for a really professional jewellery clean. These are available online, for example the VLOXO Ultrasonic Cleaner at Amazon or the Town Talk Jewellery Cleaning Kit at Argos. It’s preferable to buy an ultrasonic cleaner solution but you can also use warm water and a couple of drops of washing-up liquid. If your ultra-sonic device doesn’t heat the water, start by putting hot (not boiling) water into the cleaner. Ultrasonic cleaners can be used safely on all metals but you should avoid using them if your jewellery contains: pearls or certain gemstones.

What do jewellers use to clean jewellery?

Professional jewellers tend to use ultrasonic cleaners for cleaning diamonds and jewellery but also add in polishing the jewellery for a highly professional deep clean. 

Ultrasonic cleaners work by sending out high frequency ultrasonic waves that combine with a gentle cleaning solution to create bubbles that dislodge and remove any foreign particles from metals or gemstones. It’s particularly good at getting suncream and hand cream out of rings! This kind of cleaning can be performed as often as you like, for example every 2-weeks or monthly. 

For a deeper clean, jewellers polish the piece with a professional polisher (a spinning wheel with a mop style end) to remove any scratches. This process would start with using a more abrasive polish to clear deeper scratches followed by a less abrasive cleaner to take out the last of the scratches and polish the surface. This process should be done no more than once every 18-months to 2 years as it removes a little bit of metal. The piece can then be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner once again. 

Clients are welcome to pop into our Hertfordshire Studio for your jewellery to be cleaned. Alternatively, James can meet you in London and return your jewellery to you later that day. This service is free of charge for pieces we’ve made.

How to care for your jewellery

As we develop emotional connections to our jewellery, we often assume it can accompany us anywhere and everywhere! While getting as much enjoyment as possible from your jewellery, it’s important to take care of it. 

Store your jewellery properly

We’re all guilty of putting our jewellery loose into a drawer, bag, or even pocket! But we’re filled with regret when confronted with knotted necklaces or have those heart-stopping moments when we think our precious piece is lost. This lack of safekeeping also makes jewellery more prone to being scratched, bent or chipped.

Try to store your jewellery in a dry, clean, dark place. Ideally in the same box it came in, or your own jewellery box. Its best to buy a jewellery box with separate storage for each item to avoid knots and bumps. If your jewellery box has an open space, keep items in their own soft fabric bag. Velvet drawstring pouches can be purchased on-line

Take care to not overexpose jewellery to heat and direct sunlight which can damage gemstones over time. The most vulnerable gems are Topaz, Pearls and Amethyst which lighten, whereas Amber will darken.

Bride putting on diamond necklace

Take off your jewellery when doing DIY or exercising

If you can store it safely, it’s best to keep jewellery away from sandy beaches and DIY projects and locked up while using gym equipment. It goes without saying that the more you wear a piece, the greater the risk of damage.

Mix up which jewellery you wear

With the exception of your engagement and wedding ring, you really shouldn’t wear the same jewellery every day. To avoid over-wearing your jewellery try to utilise your full jewellery collection and think about matching your jewellery to your outfit.

Put jewellery on after skincare products

Additionally when you get ready make sure your jewellery is the last thing you put on so that skincare products, make-up and unnatural oils are kept away!

Insuring your jewellery

It is wise to ensure you have appropriate insurance for your jewellery. Most jewellery is covered by household insurance policies but some companies like jewellery over a certain value to be added as a specific item to the policy. Some even require you to have a safe in your home. Alternatively, if you do not want to add it to your existing policy, you can take out specialist jewellery insurance. We are happy to recommend specialist jewellery insurers and provide insurance certificates for all our pieces.

FAQs about cleaning your jewellery

Does toothpaste clean jewellery?

No, it is not recommended to use toothpaste to clean your jewellery. Toothpaste is one of those things that people say can clean everything! Whilst it’s good for your teeth, please avoid using it on jewellery. It can permanently damage gemstones and gold due to its abrasiveness.

Does vinegar clean jewellery?

Yes! White vinegar is great for cleaning gold, platinum and gemstones. Drop your jewellery into a glass of vinegar for 20 minutes, agitating occasionally, before rinsing with water and air drying on a towel.

Does white gold jewellery need re-rhodium plating?

Almost all white gold jewellery is rhodium plated. Rhodium is a metal with a very nice shine but it’s very brittle (which is why we don’t make jewellery with it). Conversely, white gold is good for making jewellery but its colour is not as crisp, it’s more an off-white. This is because white gold is made from yellow gold alloyed with white metals to create a lighter colour. To make white gold crisp, we plate it with rhodium.

This is the perfect solution. However rhodium plating wears over time. White gold jewellery that’s regularly worn may need re-rhodium plating every 18-months to 2 years. You’ll know when your white gold jewellery needs rhodium re-plating as it will have a darker, tarnished hue. This is usually most apparent where the jewellery has received the most friction.

If you want a white metal piece but don’t want to have to keep rhodium plating it, it’s best to purchase a platinum ring.

Choosing the perfect diamond

Throughout history, the alluring sparkle of diamonds has been an irresistible temptation for people looking to buy jewellery. But with so many different options available, how do you know which diamond to buy?


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Contact us

Contact us via the button below, give us a ring on 01462 526446 or email us to discuss your jewellery requirements.