Care and Cleaning
General Cleaning Guidelines
Choose chemicals, brushes and techniques for the softest, most vulnerable gem in a piece. When using chemical cleaners, be sure to purchase the appropriate solution for your specific piece. Silver polish, for example, works fine for sterling alone, but can damage porous gems (like opal, pearl, coral, lapis, turquoise, and amber) set in it. Ammonia is a particular threat to fragile gems. Always check with your jeweler about special care or repair considerations. Generally, the best way to clean most of your gem-set jewelry is to use a mild soapy solution in warm water, a soft brush, and a soft cloth to pat dry.
Vecere Jewelers offers free jewelry cleaning, so when in doubt, bring your jewelry in for a professional cleaning to keep your precious gems looking their best.
Or use the following chart as a guideline when cleaning your fine jewelry.
- Alexandrite - Use soapy water, alcohol or commercial cleaning solutions. An ultrasonic cleaner or steamer is safe.
- Amber - Use warm soapy water, no brush, pat dry. Avoid mechanical cleaners, abrasives, chemicals and heat.
- Aquamarine - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Mechanical cleaners are generally safe. Avoid chemicals, heat and excessive cleaning.
- Coral - Wipe with a soft, cool, damp cloth. Do not use a brush or mechanical cleaners. Avoid abrasives, chemicals and heat.
- Diamond - Mechanical cleaners, ammonia-based cleaners, and mild solvents are generally safe. If using warm soapy water, rinse well and pat dry to avoid residue.
- Emerald - Use a soft, damp cloth, warm water and a soft brush. Do not use mechanical cleaners. Avoid chemicals and heat that will dissolve the oils used during cutting and processing. . Have a jeweler re-oil your emerald every few years. Although emerald is harder than quartz, its crystal structure makes it brittle. Avoid impacts.
- Garnet - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. An ultrasonic cleaner is safe for most garnets. Do not use a steamer.
- Gold - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaners are safe but check gem requirements. Avoid ammonia and mercury. The higher the gold percentage the softer the metal.
- Jade - Use warm soapy water. Mechanical cleaners are safe. Avoid warm acids.
- Lapis Lazuli - Use warm soapy water. Do not scrub or soak. Wipe with a soft cloth. Do not use mechanical cleaners or chemicals.
- Opal - Use a soft dry or damp cloth. Do not soak. Do not use mechanical cleaners. Avoid impacts, heat, and chemicals.
- Pearls - Wipe after each use with a soft, dry or damp cloth. Mild soapy water is fine. Do not use mechanical cleaners, heat or chemicals.
- Peridot - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer. Avoid acids.
- Platinum - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaners are safe but check gem requirements. Avoid ammonia, iodine and mercurochrome. Platinum is the most durable of the noble metals.
- Quartz (amethyst, citrine & ametrine) - Use warm soapy water. An ultrasonic cleaner is usually safe, a steamer is not. Avoid acids, intense heat, and prolonged bright light.
- Ruby & Sapphire - Use soapy water or commercial solvent and brush. Mechanical cleaners are generally safe.
- Silver - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaners are safe but check gem requirements. Foams and liquids work but remove some silver in the process. Cleaning cloths are safer. Avoid ammonia. Silver easily dents and tarnishes.
- Tanzanite - Same care as peridot.
- Topaz - Same care as emerald. Although it is hard, it cleaves and a sudden temperature change or impact can cause a break.
- Tourmaline - Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Do not use mechanical cleaners.
- Turquoise -Wipe with a soft damp cloth and dry. Do not soak or use mechanical cleaners. Avoid chemicals.
Jewelry Wear & Care
In addition to considering how you clean your gems and jewels, also be sure to store them properly. Here are some tips to help your jewelry last a lifetime:
- Remove all jewelry before activities such as housework, gardening or sports where jewelry is susceptible to impact and/or chemicals.
- Never remove jewelry by pulling on a gem to avoid loosening the stone from its setting or exposing it to perspiration, skin oil and dirt.
- Check for loose gems and clasps often.
- Restring pearl and bead necklaces every two years, annually with frequent wear.
- Never store jewelry in piles to avoid gems and metals rubbing against each other or chains entangling.
- Avoid applying cosmetics, perfume and hairspray while wearing jewelry, particularly earrings and necklaces.