HOW DO JEWELLERS CLEAN DIAMOND RINGS? WE SHARE THE SECRETS
Ever wondered what goes on when jewellery is professionally cleaned?
There’s a bit more to it than you might think.
It’s a good idea to periodically have your precious pieces professionally cleaned, however there are simple methods you can use at home on a regular basis to keep your diamond rings, earrings, necklaces and other special items ‘spic & span’.
Let’s take a closer look at the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to cleaning jewellery…
We should start off with the reasons why it’s important to keep your jewellery clean. There are two main issues here:
Firstly, you want your jewellery to always look as good as possible. Your diamond engagement ring and wedding ring in particular are very important objects which you wear – for most people, everyday – with pride. These rings are symbolic of your love and commitment to your partner and family. They define who you are to an extent; they speak loudly to your personality and attitude. You want all that to be representing first class - shiny, best foot forward - ‘good as new’!
Secondly, if jewellery is allowed to get grubby with the muck building up exponentially - and it stays that way for an extended length of time - eventually it becomes quite difficult to clean and can even end up causing damage, in severe cases. Just like it can with your house.
With engagement rings and wedding rings being worn on the hands, they are actually subjected to quite a clobbering, depending on your lifestyle. They are frequently exposed to the various elements and temperatures. In turn they are bombarded with water, dust, dirt, oils, cosmetic residues and all manner of other liquids and gasses. They are regularly coming into contact with all sorts of materials – animal, vegetable and mineral – and it accumulates!
Engagement and wedding rings are built extremely tough though. It’s very difficult to break them or stain them. From time to time, you might notice that one or both have copped a little smear or grubby mark from something – and you’ll clean it off, no problem. But what happens with a build-up of unseen tiny, grimy particles is that they develop into a sort of patina which covers the whole piece of jewellery.
Now patina might sound like a good thing when it comes to furniture, but for beloved jewellery it’s a contaminate. The first thing which happens is that your beautiful rings will lose their shine and sparkle, then the dirty layer will just grow and could lead to problems as mentioned above.
This grimy build-up can be slow and can trick you. Some people who let their jewellery lose its lustre over a long period of time without really noticing are astonished at how different and amazing their rings look when they have been professionally cleaned. Just like the incredible difference you notice when carpet or a rug is professionally cleaned after a few years – is that actually the same rug?!
Dirty rings can harbour bacteria which cause skin irritation, as well. Filthy rings can wind up becoming discoloured and even the stones getting scratched by grit.
Folks, don’t let it get to that stage, keep your jewellery clean and tidy and have it cleaned by your jeweller from time to time.
So, back to the subject – what is your jeweller going to do when you take in your fabulous engagement and wedding rings for a once-over?
They are going to do a few things.
Firstly, they will give the item(s) a bit of a standard service. They will check that the diamonds and/or other gemstones are sitting securely and that everything is mounted as it should be. It might be that a prong needs a slight tightening up, or there may be another tiny issue which you would not have noticed at home. Using their specialized knowledge, expertise, skills and tools, the jeweller will tweak any little issues like that.
Secondly, they will give the items a special treatment using an ultrasonic cleaner. This involves applying high frequency sound waves in combination with specific chemicals. The process creates bubbles which capture particles of unwanted materials and bring them out of hiding. This part of the jewellery cleaning operation is obviously very specialised, using professional equipment and techniques. Not exactly a weekend DIY project, right?!
Thirdly the jeweller will give your diamond engagement ring and wedding ring a deep steam clean. This culminates in a strong blast which leaves the items squeaky clean and restores their shine and sparkle.
It is strongly recommended that rings made of white gold are brought in for professional cleaning periodically. The coating of rhodium on white gold bands is more susceptible to losing its shine than yellow gold or platinum.
HOW SHOULD I CLEAN MY JEWELLERY AT HOME?
Regular cleaning at home is not hard. The suggested method is simple; old school. We recommend using warm, soapy water and a toothbrush. The brush should be soft-bristled and probably not the same one you use to clean your teeth with! The soap should be of the ‘detergent free’ variety, which has no harsh chemicals in its composition.
Using inappropriate strong chemicals on precious metals can have an abrasive effect, which is the last thing you want, so don’t go using ammonia or chlorine-based cleaning products, these can damage jewellery. You should also take care not to wear your jewellery if you are handling such materials. Do not clean your jewellery with products such as baking-soda-based cleaners, toothpaste or acetone. If a substance like this comes into contact with your rings, wash it off as soon as you can and rub it dry.
After cleaning with toothbrush and warm soapy water, make sure to thoroughly dry the jewellery. Then give it a good polish and buff with a clean, soft cotton cloth. Paper towel is not good to use here, it can be scratchy. Giving your jewellery a regular polish is very easy and you should be doing this often. Even when you’re just sitting around on the sofa watching a movie, you can give rings a bit of TLC by rubbing slowly and softly on your jumper or shirt.
We are all currently using hand sanitizers far more frequently than ever before, and we often get asked if it can damage diamond rings. The answer is that it’s very unlikely, however, excessive exposure to hand sanitizer products could be harmful. The main ingredient in most hand sanitizers is alcohol, and theoretically pure alcohol should not harm jewellery; in fact, it is sometimes recommended as a suitable cleaner. However, the alcohols used in some hand sanitizers are less than pure, and the products may have other cheap materials in their composition which are not too ring friendly. So, if you are sanitizing your hands in these sorts of liquids quite often, it might be a good idea to remove your rings when doing so, or be sure to give them a rinse and a rub afterwards.
When you aren’t wearing your engagement and wedding rings, keep them in a nice, soft cloth bag or box to keep them snug and secure. Keeping jewellery in its original box is a good way to protect and store it when not being worn.
A smart plan is to regularly clean your precious pieces at home, and also to have them cleaned professionally on an annual basis. This will keep your significant specimens looking top notch and perpetuate the wonderful love affair you have with your gorgeous engagement rings, wedding rings and other jewellery.