You don't need to visit a professional if you want to keep your jewels gleaming. Take our cleaning advice and you gold, silver, gems and costume jewellery will keep shining through the years.

 

You may prefer to take special pieces to a jeweller for cleaning. When cleaning at home, make sure you do so in a bowl, not under the tap – don't risk seeing a family heirloom disappear down the plughole.

Keep precious pieces in top condition by storing separately to avoid tangles or the scratching that may occur when gemstones of different hardness touch one other.

Rocks and Gems

Unless you're sure what a piece of jewellery is made of and what it should be cleaned with, avoid using water, detergent, bicarbonate of soda, ammonia and commercial cloths and dips. Amber, bone, coral, ivory, lapis lazuli, malachite, opal, shells or turquoise should never be washed, although wiping with a damp cloth will not harm them.

A gentle brushing with white toothpaste and an old soft toothbrush will remove film and grime from a diamond. Rinse in warm water and dry with a lint-free soft cloth.

Gold and Silver

Make a cleaning solution for gold and silver jewellery set with hard stones, such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies (but not pearls), by mixing equal parts of water and cloudy ammonia in a jar. Soak jewellery for 30 minutes, scrubbing crevices with an old soft toothbrush. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Use window cleaner to spruce up jewellery that is all metal or has crystalline gemstones, such as diamonds or rubies. Spray on the cleaner, then use an old toothbrush for cleaning. Don't do this if the piece has opaque stones such as opal or turquoise or organic gems such as coral or pearl. The ammonia and detergents in the cleaner can discolour porous stones like these.

Gold needs regular cleaning to keep it shiny. Avoid immersing delicate gold jewellery in chlorinated water (as in swimming pools), which can make it deteriorate. For a really professional clean take gold to a jeweller or invest in an ultrasonic cleaning machine, available from electrical stores. These two methods, though, will have your gold looking great.

  • Mild method: Make a bowl of suds with warm water and a little washing-up liquid. Soak the gold item briefly then scrub gently with a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush. Rinse in a wire sieve under warm running water. Dry with a soft, clean cloth or chamois.
  • Stronger method: Mix equal parts of cold water and ammonia and soak the gold piece for 30 minutes. Then scrub, rinse and dry as above.

Costume Jewellery

Inexpensive costume jewellery can add sparkle and colour to an everyday outfit, but not if it gets tarnished and the tarnish rubs off the jewellery and onto your skin. To keep fake jewels and your skin sparkling clean, brush clear nail varnish onto the back of each piece and allow it to dry before wearing.

We have some stunning statement jewellery in our shop. Click here to buy.

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