Jewelry Cleaning


There's no shortage of advice online for how to clean and store your jewelry. Some of it is valuable, some questionable, and some can lead to devastating results. Proper jewelry cleaning and storage keeps jewelry looking its best and extends its wear. So, too, does improper care lead to unsightly appearance and diminished strength.

It would be beyond burdensome to have your fine jewelry professionally cleaned twice a month. So whenever we sell a new piece of jewelry, we offer guidance on how to properly store and clean it. These straightforward steps help keep each piece sparkling and secure between cleaning visits.

We also caution against some of the mistakes we see others take with their jewelry. Many of these blunders result from inexpert advice found online and lead to entirely avoidable damages.

Before you turn to Pinterest for DIY jewelry cleaners, try these jeweler-approved care and cleaning tips.


Jewelry that you wear daily or nearly daily should be cleaned at home every few weeks. If you have an item with different needs, your jeweler will provide a jewelry care plan at the time of purchase. These at-home cleanings will help remove the buildup of dirt and environmental grime that can dull the appearance and even cause damage to gemstone and metal jewelry.Not all at-home jewelry cleaners are made equal, however, and some jewelry cleaning solutions and machines can do serious damage. For at-home jewelry cleaning, we recommend a simple solution for precious metals and red (rubies), white (diamonds), and blue (sapphire) stones

How to Make Jewelry Cleaner​

Mix a few drops of Dawn dish soap with warm (not hot) water.

Allow your jewelry to soak for 5-10 minutes.

Brush your stones gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to dislodge any stuck-on grime. Soft metals may be damaged by heavy brushing, so ensure both the bristles and the pressure you apply are soft.

Move your jewelry to a second container of clean, tepid rinse water to remove any remaining soap and residue.

Lastly, pat your jewelry dry with a lint-free cloth or towel, taking extra care around the prongs to avoid snagging.


There are some standard rules to follow for jewelry storage, as well as specific practices to follow depending on the style and materials. With each new piece of fine jewelry that you invest in, ask your jeweler about its unique needs and tolerances before cleaning and storing it at home.

1. A fabric-lined jewelry box with many multi-sized compartments can help safely store and protect jewelry from scratches.

2. You might also choose to store each piece of jewelry in individual cloth bags or fabric-padded containers.

3. Store necklaces and bracelets with their clasps closed to avoid tangling, and either hang or lay them flat where they won't rub against other jewelry.

4. Store each earring in a separate compartment so they cannot rub or rest against each other. You can also store earrings on felted stands or cards that prevent them touching.

5. Store rings in divided compartments or small microfiber envelopes available for this purpose. You may also store them in their original jewelry boxes if you prefer.

6. Store silver jewelry in a tarnish-proof cloth to protect it from exposure to air or moisture.

7. After wearing a piece of jewelry, take a moment to wipe it with a clean cloth before storing it again.

Traveling with Jewelry

When traveling with your jewelry, you’ll need to take precautions to protect it from both damage and theft. To keep your jewelry from getting tangled or scratched, you should pack each item separately in soft pouches or bags. You can purchase items specifically for this purpose, or use materials such as bubble wrap and tape to create safe, individual packets for each piece.

It’s also a best practice to keep your jewelry in your carry-on bag or personal item when traveling by plane, so it isn’t lost if your luggage is misrouted. Take extra care when packing your carry-on bag to stow your jewelry where it is out of reach of potential pickpockets. Any jewelry that will remain in your home should be locked in a safe if it isn’t already. It is also a good idea to contact your insurance company before you depart to make sure your policy covers your jewelry while you’re traveling.

Keep your jewelry looking its best with proper storage and care.


Gold jewelry that has lost its luster can typically be restored by following the cleaning regimen above. If your gold jewelry has gone uncleaned for many years, such as an inherited heirloom, it’s best to bring it to your jeweler for a professional inspection and cleaning before you begin an at-home cleaning regimen. Gold jewelry with gemstones that require special care, such as emeralds or pearls, will also require a modified cleaning approach to accommodate the needs of each of its parts.

Storing Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry, like other metals, should be stored in a soft pouch or fabric-lined box to keep it safe from scratches and tarnish. Relatively all gold jewelry is an alloy, meaning it is gold mixed with other metals.The karat level of your gold will give you an idea of your gold’s purity. 10-karat gold is the lowest rating, while 24-karat is the highest and indicates that the gold is pure. 24-karat gold is often too soft for use in jewelry, however, and most gold jewelry is either 10-, 14-, or 18-karat gold, each containing additional metals in their composition. These other metals may tarnish over time (though pure gold does not), so it’s important to store it properly in dry conditions. Should you observe tarnish on your gold jewelry, your jeweler will be able to polish or re-plate it, depending on their assessment of its needs.

Gold Jewelry Care

Except for the blue dawn soap used when cleaning your gold jewelry, you should keep it away from all other soaps, body washes, and cleansers. Gold should be removed before showering, swimming, washing dishes, applying lotions, doing laundry, or before any other activity during which you may come in contact with cosmetic or cleaning solutions. Chlorine, in particular, poses a significant threat to gold jewelry and can cause permanent discoloration of your gold items. Toothpaste should also be kept away from your gold jewelry; while toothpaste is sometimes touted as an at-home gold cleaner, it is too abrasive for gold and may lead to scratches.


Silver jewelry, contrary to what many believe, is slower to tarnish when it is frequently worn, so the best defense against tarnished silver is to wear it often. After wearing your silver jewelry, you should gently rub it with a soft polishing cloth before putting it away. For most silver, this is the only cleaning that is necessary, as any added moisture will speed up the tarnishing process.

Safely Store Silver Jewelry

Silver should be stored individually in an anti-tarnish bag or wrapped in an anti-tarnish cloth and kept in individual compartments or boxes. You can also keep a piece of chalk or a silica gel packet (such as those found in newly purchased handbags) wrapped with your silver to remove moisture. Moisture triggers the tarnishing process, so it’s vital that you keep your silver jewelry dry both when wearing and storing it to keep it looking its best.

Caring for Silver Jewelry

Looking through cleaning advice online, you’ll find no shortage of advice for how to clean tarnished jewelry. Unfortunately, much of this well-meaning advice can do real damage. Among the frequently suggested cleaning agents for silver are some that can do fast damage, such as baking soda, salt, vinegar, toothpaste, and boiling water. All of these can scratch or discolor silver jewelry, and should only be used on the advice of a jeweler who has examined your item previously. For significant tarnish or discoloration, a visit to your jeweler for a professional cleaning and polishing is the safest and most effective way to restore your silver’s sparkle.

Learn more about silver jewelry care: Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning and Caring for Silver Jewelry

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Platinum has the reputation of being among the purest and most durable of metals used in jewelry, making it an attractive option for hypoallergenic jewelry that will get everyday wear.

Palladium, titanium, and tungsten are similarly colored metals that are often used for a less expensive option than platinum, though they each come with drawbacks and advantages. Titanium and Tungsten, for example, are difficult to cut, may be difficult or impossible to resize, and can only be engraved by laser. In addition, while titanium is more durable than platinum and difficult to scratch, it is more difficult to polish if it does become scratched. If your jewelry is made from any of these four metals, however, the cleaning solution shared at the start of this article is recommended, with additional considerations taken for any gemstones.

Storing Platinum Colored Jewelry

All four of these metals require the same diligence when storing them as do softer metals such as gold and silver. While it is more difficult to scratch these metals, they are not immune to scratches, so care should be taken to prevent this by storing each item separately in a soft fabric bag or a fabric-lined box.

Caring for Platinum Colored Jewelry

All metals can experience erosion and discoloration. While these metals are often chosen over other white metals because they aren’t prone to tarnishing or fading as are gold and silver, chemicals and environmental factors can still damage them. Cleaning and outdoor activities should occur only after your jewelry has been removed and stowed in a dry, secure space.

Learn more about caring for hard metals: The Hard Facts About Hard Metal Jewelry Care

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As mentioned above, red, white, and blue (rubies, diamonds, and sapphires) jewelry can typically be cleaned using the at-home jewelry cleaning recipe shared previously. Before your first at-home cleaning with a new piece of jewelry, however, you should always confirm this with your jeweler. They may advise you differently based upon the condition of your stone or the metal.

Cleaning Diamonds, Rubies, and Sapphires at Home

Unless your jeweler states otherwise, it is safe to clean your diamond, ruby, and sapphire jewelry using the diy jewelry cleaning solution of blue Dawn dish detergent and water. While you may have heard that a jewelry cleaner with ammonia will return a dull diamond to its original shine, we strongly advise against using anything harsher than diluted dish soap. Ammonia and acidic ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice can damage metals as well as stones, and such harsh cleaning agents aren’t necessary for proper cleaning. If you are bringing your diamond, ruby, and sapphire jewelry in for professional cleanings at least once per year (we recommend every six months, if possible) and you still find that they do not stay clean with consistent washing at home, you should discuss this with your jeweler before attempting to use a different cleaning compound

Cleaning Gemstone Jewelry At Home

For other gemstones, it’s vital that you follow your jeweler’s advice to prolong the beauty and longevity of the piece. Gems with a lower rating on the Mohs scale than diamonds, rubies, and sapphires can incur damage by many of the cleaning formulas and machines sold for home use. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners can cause irreparable damage to emeralds, tanzanite, amethyst, and other stones. In fact, due to the individual nature of even diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, we don’t recommend the use of steam or ultrasonic cleaners to our clients for at-home use.

Learn more about gemstone jewelry care: Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning and Caring for Diamond and Gemstone Jewelry

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From classic pearls to modern wood, there’s no shortage of unique materials used in jewelry making. Keeping these materials looking their best, however, requires special care and frequent caution. Opals, for example, can be significantly damaged by merely being worn from a warm home into the winter air. And hanging a pearl necklace could result in a saggy, dirty string of pearls before long. If your jewelry contains wooden elements, you’ll need to limit its exposure to water, extreme temperatures, and prolonged periods of direct sunlight.

Take Special Care When Storing Pearls and Opals

Opals and pearls need moisture:

Do not store opal and pearl jewelry in airtight spaces, such as safes or safe deposit boxes. Unlike most other materials, these precious gems need moisture. Store them away from your other jewelry and wrapped in clean, moist cotton.

Keep the temperature moderate and even: Opals and pearls cannot tolerate extreme temperature changes and can fracture or develop web-like surface cracks (known as crazing) if exposed to them. Store them away from sources of hot and cold air, such as

​Lay them flat: It's typically safe to hang necklaces when storing them. Not so with pearls; lay them flat to forestall stretching. furnaces and windows.

Take Special Care When Storing Pearls and Opals

Safely Clean Porous Materials

The delicate composition of opals, pearls, and other soft materials require extra care when cleaning them. Gentle cleaning with a soft cloth is suitable after wearing these items. If your delicate items are suffering from visible debris, a soft makeup brush dipped in tepid water may be used to wipe it away gently. Strung jewelry should never be submerged in water or other cleaning solutions, and should always lay flat until completely dry.

Get answers to cleaning and care conundrums for mixed material designs such as a moisture-dependent opal in a tarnishable metal, and learn to clean and care for pearls, opals, and other sensitive stones in our Special Care for Special Stones care guide.(Insert link to supporting blog post - Special Care for Opals, Pearls, Wood, & Other Unique Jewelry Needs)


When you first start to wear your wedding and engagement rings, you’ll find it hard to believe that you might ever provide them with anything but the most meticulous of care. Realistically, however, as you become used to wearing them, you may start to take them for granted.

Over time, you may find yourself thinking things such as “I’ve accidentally worn them while doing laundry before and nothing bad happened. It’s probably not a big deal to leave them on,” or “I know I shouldn’t wear them at the beach, but I really want to show them off.” Sooner or later, “I know I shouldn’t, but I’ll do it just this once,” becomes “I know I should have listened to my jeweler, but I didn’t and now look what’s happened.”

How to Clean Your Wedding and Engagement Rings

Jewelry that you wear every day, such as your engagement and wedding rings, should be inspected and cleaned by your jeweler at least once a year and ideally twice a year. If it contains any stones other than diamonds, rubies, or sapphires or any metals other than those previously discussed, you should not clean it at home until you’ve consulted with your jeweler and have received their recommendation. For the “safe” stones and metals already listed, you should be fine to clean it as often as needed using the formula detailed above.

Caring and Storing Your Engagement and Wedding RIngs

Many men and women become so accustomed to their wedding jewelry that they sleep and bathe while wearing it. This is something we strongly caution against. To keep your wedding jewelry in its best condition, you should take it off before engaging in any cleaning, bathing, gardening, swimming, or even sleeping. When you’re not wearing it, it should be stowed safely away, not merely placed upon a dresser or counter until it’s time to wear it again. Additionally, we advise that you gently wipe your rings before putting them away each night to remove any surface debris.

Keep your wedding jewelry looking as new as the day you said I Do with our free guide to Cleaning and Caring for Engagement and Wedding Rings

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When the days start to cool, and summer turns to autumn, you might think that the major threats to your jewelry are behind you along with the heat, salt water, and chlorine of summer. Fall holds its perils for your fine jewelry, however, and requires its own kind of vigilance.