We’ve heard all of the old wives’ tales when it comes to at-home remedies for cleaning jewelry--toothpaste supposedly shines your diamonds, ketchup helps polish silver, and a bit of beer will enhance gold's luster. Knowing what actually works and what doesn’t is a trial and error process we’d rather avoid, which is why we’ve asked jewelry designer and 2013 CFDA Award nominee Irene Neuwirth for her expert advice on the matter. . Continue reading for all of her tips and tricks to keep your favorite precious stones and costume bijoux looking their best!
Caring For Softer Stones (emeralds, opals, garnets, pearls, coral, turquoise, jade, onyx, malachite, and amber)
While Neuwirth likes a soft toothbrush--think of it as your best cleaning assistant--to get in between prongs and settings, she also recommends a chamois cloth to help polish and shine.
To scrub away dust, dirt, oil, and rust, use a toothbrush with mild soap--according to Neuwirth, basic hand soap will do the trick--then rinse in soapy warm tap water and pat dry with a towel.
Caring For Harder Stones (diamonds, sapphires, rubies)
“Ultrasonic cleaning devices are great, especially for jewelry that has been heavily worn over an extended period of time,” Neuwirth says. (Note: an ultrasonic system uses high-frequency pressure sound waves to agitate water and remove contamination embedded on the surfaces of jewelry.) She suggests using the ultrasonic for 5-10 minutes (depending on cleanliness) and following up with a toothbrush dipped in warm cleaning solution to get the hard-to-reach surfaces. We like Sharper Image’s Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner ($60).
Caring For Metals (gold, platinum, silver)
Dish soap and warm water works best on metals. The Lavender Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap ($8) by Mrs. Meyers is our favorite because it’s gentle and smells good too! Neuwirth also points out that metals are completely safe in an ultrasonic cleaner.