How To Clean Gemstone Jewelry

How To Clean Gemstone Jewelry

Gemstone jewelry, such as diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires, are beautiful accessories that easily compliment any outfit. However, knowing the proper way to clean them can take time and effort. Read on to learn how to care for your gems. 

Why Clean Your Jewelry?

Gemstones are radiant, but without proper cleaning, they can get exposed to dirt, oil, and other impurities that can take away from the gem's shine. Sometimes, scratches or cracks can form as a result of this. You may even get skin irritations from unclean jewelry. 

Identify Your Gem

First, make sure to identify your gemstone. According to, this is important because different gemstones have different physical properties and won't react the same to the cleaning solutions and materials you use. Most gems are durable, but some materials are heat sensitive. Other gemstones have tiny fractures within the crystal that may weaken it. Especially sensitive gems, such as pearls, react badly to acid or alcohol. 

Another thing to consider is the gem's hardness or its ability to resist scratching. Those that rank high on the Mohs Hardness scale, such as diamonds, are more resistant, but this does not mean that they are indestructible. They can have cleaves or small breaks in their surface, which makes cleaning more difficult. Also, consider if the gem has had any treatments. For example, emeralds have internal fractures commonly filled with oils or other fillers. These treated emeralds can be more sensitive to heat. 

To be sure about the gems you have purchased, speak to a professional jeweler or gemologist for identification and appraisal. They can tell you what kind of gem you have, along with any unique incisions in its surface or prior treatments. 

How Often Should You Clean it?

Generally, you should clean your jewelry every few months. However, items worn regularly should be cleaned at least once a month, as they are more exposed to dirt and grime. 

The Cleaning Process

The best place to start is with mild detergent, warm water, and a brush. According to, dish soap makes for a great detergent. A toothbrush works well, but be sure to use one labeled soft or extra soft. A medium or hard brush can potentially scratch gems with a Mohs scale rating of 5 or below (e.g., gold, silver, or platinum).

  • First, let your jewelry soak for a few moments in warm water and mild detergent.
  • Then, use a soft brush to scrub your jewelry gently.
  • You can use a toothpick to gently pick out accumulations but don't be too harsh, as this can scratch your gemstone.
  • After scrubbing, put the piece back in your solution for one last soak. Rinse in warm running water at about the same temperature as your solution.
    Shake or blow on the jewelry piece to remove excess liquid before finally polishing it with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • For cleaning the prongs and pavilions, use a fine camel hair brush to eliminate accumulated dirt. 

Gems are beautiful accessories for any outfit or special occasion, but they are valuable and must be cleaned carefully. Consider its hardness, prior treatments, and any sensitivities the gem may have beforehand. Also, be sure to clean your gems regularly. With the right tools and patience, your gemstone jewelry will look good as new. 

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