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6 Tips for Cleaning Custom Handcrafted Jewelry

6 Tips for Cleaning Custom Handcrafted Jewelry

There is a certain allure to custom handmade jewelry that mass-manufactured pieces simply cannot fulfill. Our clients can choose from a wide selection of impeccable diamonds, Montana sapphires, other gemstones, and metals to build a ring that not only looks beautiful but perfectly reflects your personal style. As each piece is truly unique, custom handcrafted jewelry requires special care to keep it looking pristine for many years.

1. Steer Clear of Damaging Chemicals

Exposure to certain chemicals can cause precious metals like silver, gold, and platinum to discolor. Porous and delicate gemstones can also suffer permanent damage from common household cleaners, such as chlorine bleach and cleaners containing ammonia.

Chemicals are not just found in cleaning products, but also the products you put directly on your body. Lotions, perfumes, hairsprays, and other cosmetics may contain ingredients that damage the surface of custom handmade jewelry. For light cleaning, a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap applied with a soft-bristled toothbrush is often sufficient for cleaning fine jewelry. Follow up with a thorough drying with a soft cloth. 

When cleaning handmade jewelry, you’ll want to use caution to prevent damaging the piece. Do not brush diamonds or gemstones too vigorously to avoid dislodging the stone from its setting. You’ll also want to avoid air-drying your custom jewelry as this can leave unsightly water spots.

2. Give Special Attention to Diamonds

Natural diamonds are made from carbon and are considered the hardest natural-occurring substance on earth. While diamonds are highly resilient, they can suffer damage if not properly cleaned and cared for. The simplest way to keep your diamond jewelry clean is with a mild de-greasing solution. 

Clean your diamond jewelry once or twice a week if you wear it regularly. Non-abrasive store-bought jewelry cleaners can be effective at removing built-on dirt and grime but do your research before using any new products. Avoid abrasive cleaners that may scratch the metal or corrosive agents that may erode the diamond setting.

Professional diamond cleaners exist that can make it easier to achieve a deep clean. Consider bringing your diamond to a professional for a steam cleaning. A professional steam cleaner can help remove the toughest dirt and grease within just a few minutes and at an affordable price.

3. Know Your Gemstone’s Characteristics

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when cleaning their custom handmade jewelry is treating all pieces the same. Different types of gemstones react differently to cleaning products and techniques. It is important to do some research to gain a better understanding of your gemstones and how to safely clean them to prevent damage.

Start by looking at the stone’s hardness, a physical quality of the gemstone that dictates where it ranks on the Mohs scale. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are popular stones found in jewelry as they rank high on the Mohs scale, meaning they are highly resistant to damage.

Most gemstones can be safely cleaned with cool water and mild dish soap. Certain types of stones, such as aquamarine, sapphire, alexandrite, ruby, and rhodonite can also benefit from steaming. Lint-free cleaning towels are recommended for nearly all types of gemstones.

4. Polish Precious Metals to Restore Shine

Precious metals can appear dull and lackluster with frequent wear. Fortunately, you can easily restore the shine of your favorite pieces with a few simple cleaning techniques. 

With precious metals like yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush and soapy water to bring the sheen of the metal back to its former glory. Allow the metal to soak in warm soapy water for just a few minutes before gently buffing the surface with the toothbrush. Rinse in warm water and dry with a soft, clean cloth.

Silver jewelry can suffer from tarnishing because of a chemical reaction between the silver and certain sulfur-containing substances present in the air. A silver dip, followed by a light polish with a silver cloth, can help restore the jewelry’s beautiful shine.

5. Use Ultrasonic Cleaners with Caution

Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners can be highly effective at getting tough dirt and grime off your favorite custom pieces. However, it is important to use caution when using this type of equipment at home.

Using an ultrasonic cleaner on certain types of gemstones can cause damage. Avoid the use of these cleaners on gemstones with surface breaks that have been previously filled with resin, oil, or a glass-like material.

Also avoid ultrasonic cleaners with stones that are susceptible to heat and temperature changes, such as opal, topaz, zircon, lapis, and others. Certain heat-treated gemstones, as well as gems coated with non-permanent substances like wax or plastic, should not be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. 

6. Take Precautions to Protect Your Jewelry

From swimming in the pool to working out at the gym, your jewelry is exposed to chemicals, dirt, and debris that can build up on the metal and stones over time. Ideally, you should avoid wearing your jewelry in these types of places whenever possible.

When not being worn, custom homemade jewelry should be stored in a clean, dry place, such as a box, bag, or drawer lined with a soft material. Avoid storing your jewelry in excessive heat or direct sunlight as some gems can be sensitive to prolonged sunlight exposure. 

You may also want to consider having your fine jewelry insured. Accidents can happen when you least expect, putting your investment at risk. From house fires to vandalisms, these tragic events can cause your jewelry to become damaged or disappear altogether. Insurance can provide you with peace of mind that your jewelry is protected.

Build Your Own Custom Handmade Jewelry

Interested in building your own custom jewelry? Chinchar Maloney is a leader in heirloom-quality, handcrafted fine jewelry. From custom engagement rings and modern rustic jewelry to Montana sapphire jewelry and art deco pieces, there are options to suit all style tastes. Contact Chinchar Maloney today to learn more about working with us to design a piece that you’ll love to wear.