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How to Clean Jewelry Safely and Effectively

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No matter which method you choose to clean jewelry, it should be safe for the jewelry's least durable component. For some pieces, that means you should stick to polishing gently with a soft cloth, while other types of jewelry can be cleaned more vigorously, and many types can be placed inside of ultrasonic machines for cleaning. Let's talk about some of the methods you can use to keep your jewelry as clean as new.

How to Clean Diamonds and Diamond Rings

Diamond Ring
Jamie Grill / Getty Images
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, so they'll endure vigorous cleansing unless they've been coated with a substance that could be removed. But what about the metals that surround your diamonds? They aren't as durable, so must be treated with more care. Our step by step look at cleaning a diamond ring can help you decide how to best tackle that next cleanse.

How to Clean and Care for Pearls

Color Variations in Black Pearls
Photo © Yasuhide Fumoto / Getty Images
Find advice to help keep your pearls as clean as possible, so they'll need only gentle cleansing from time to time. We'll talk about safe cleaning methods and cover additional techniques that should not be used when caring for pearls.

Best Ways to Clean Silver Jewelry

Video: How to Polish Silver
Jonathon Stewart
Get the facts about sterling silver -- how it's created and methods that can be used to keep it looking like new. You might be surprised to hear that one of the best ways to clean silver does not remove every bit of tarnish.

Choose an Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner

Ross-Simons Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ross-Simons Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners use sound waves to clean jewelry placed in a small basket of water or other solution, generating tiny vacuum bubbles that blast your jewelry. It sounds harsh, but is actually a suitable cleansing method for many types of jewelry. Avoid using the cleaners with opal, turquoise, pearls and other gems that must be treated with extra care, including many types of costume jewelry and pieces created by placing a thin layer of a genuine gem on top of glass or another material -- kind of like a sandwich.

The units are all designed a little differently, so be sure to follow directions enclosed with your machine. Some cleaners come with a helpful instructional DVD, and most help alert buyers to the types of jewelry that isn't suitable for insertion.

Shop for an Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner

More Jewelry Cleaning Advice

blue turquoise beads
Carly Wickell
Some of our jewelry videos are linked above. You'll find a few more below.

  • How to Clean Gold
  • A second video, How to Clean and Care for Gold Jewelry
  • How to Clean and Care for Turquoise -- The gem needs to be cleaned carefully, and some types of turquoise are less durable than others. See Turquoise Variations for more information.

Even very durable gemstones might need special care if they've been treated in some non-permanent way. Keep a record of any cleaning instructions that come with your jewelry, and when in doubt, always clean using the most gentle method possible.

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