Jewellery cleaning is the practice of removing dirt from jewellery to improve its appearance.
Methods and risks
Maintaining a clean diamond can sometimes be difficult, as jewellery settings can obstruct cleaning efforts, and oils, grease, and other hydrophobic materials adhere well to a diamond's surface. Some jewellers provide their customers with sudsy ammonia cleaning kits. Many jewellers use steam cleaners. Some other jewellers sell small ultrasonic cleaners. Home-based cleaning methods include immersing the diamond in ammonia-based or ethyl alcohol-based solutions, or even a solution of mild grease dissolving detergent and warm water. Silver jewellery can be cleaned using aluminium foil, baking soda, and hot water. However, this practice is not recommended by most jewellers. ----
Certain types of cleaning can damage some jewellery. For example, some class rings are coated with a dark pigment, called antiquing, to darken their appearance. Some gemstones, such as white topaz, have an overlay to produce certain colours. Ultrasonic cleaning can remove this coating, if it is not a quality piece. Ultrasonic cleaning is also contraindicated for opals, pearls and amber, and any other gemstone that is porous. Gemstones that are glued in (a common practice with semiprecious stones in non-precious methods and in class rings) should not be placed into an ultrasonic cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner can cause stones that are loose in their settings to come out. Jewellery should always be examined for overlays and loose stones prior to cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner or a steam cleaner. ....
There are a number of things owners can do to prevent build up of dirt and prevent jewellery from becoming tarnished. Namely, store jewellery carefully in its original packaging or a jewellery box. Clean jewellery using warm water, mild soap and a soft bristle toothbrush. Use a non-abrasive silver cloth or soft lint free cloth to polish jewellery and remove tarnishing. Don't expose jewellery to harsh chemicals or perfumes as this could cause damage and discoloration. Don't wear jewellery when using household cleansers. Also try to avoid sweating while wearing jewellery as this will result in a grimy buildup. Try to avoid wearing jewellery while applying beauty products such as hair spray, cosmetics or lotions as this can tarnish or discolour the jewellery.
Bangles, earrings (particularly those manufactured from hollow tubing) and chains should be worn with care in order to avoid surface damage, and should be removed before going to bed. Check for signs of wear and tear regularly, especially on catches and joints. Stone settings can become loose over time, especially if they have been hit against a hard surface or snagged on clothing.
Ultrasonic jewellery cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaners are useful for jewellery cleaning and removing tarnish. They use ultrasound waves and chemicals combined to create bubbles that "cling" to the foreign particles such as dirt, oil, and unknown substances. The high frequency waves are sent out and pull the contaminants off of the object. the bubbles collapse after they attach to the contaminants and move to the surface of the chemical solution creating what appears to be a boiling solution.
You can use a variety of different cleaning products in an ultrasonic cleaner, from regular jewellery cleaner to diluted pine sol (for diamonds ONLY) please remember to rinse your jewellery to remove excess cleaning product, it will eliminate any soap build up left on your jewellery.
Beauty of gems
A clean diamond is more brilliant and fiery than the same diamond when it is "dirty". Dirt or grease on the top of a diamond reduces its lustre. Water, dirt, or grease on the bottom of a diamond interferes with the diamond's brilliance and fire. Even a thin film absorbs some light that could have been reflected to the person looking at the diamond.
Coloured dye or smudges can affect the perceived colour of a gem. Historically, some jewellers' diamonds were misgraded due to smudges on the girdle, or dye on the culet. Current practice is to thoroughly clean a gem before grading its colour as well as clarity.
Cleanliness does not affect the jewellery's market value, as jewellers routinely clean jewellery before offering it for sale. However, cleanliness might reflect the jewellery's sentimental value.
- Estate jewelry
- Gemstones discussed in this article:
- Cuellar, Fred. "Diamonds - Getting Into Shape". Diamond Cutters International. Retrieved April 10, 2005.
- Various authors (2001). "Dirty Diamonds" thread on DiamondTalk, as archived by the Wayback Machine on November 12, 2001. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Caring for your diamond Home-based methods for cleaning and preserving diamonds.
- How To Clean Silver With Common Kitchen Items article.